Background: There is limited literature investigating preoperative physical therapy (pre-op PT) treatment on pain intensity and disability after musculoskeletal surgery. The purposes of the present cohort study were to describe patient characteristics for those who had and did not have pre-op PT treatment and determine whether pre-op PT influenced the length of postoperative physical therapy (post-op PT) treatment (number of sessions) and 3-month and 6-month postsurgical outcomes, such as pain intensity and disability. Patients and methods: A total of 124 patients (mean age =43 years, 81 males) with shoulder pain were observed before and after shoulder arthroscopic surgery. Demographic data, medical history, and validated self-report questionnaires were collected preoperatively and at 3 months and 6 months after surgery. Analysis of variance models were performed to identify differences across measures for patients who had pre-op PT treatment and those who did not and to examine outcome differences at 3 months and 6 months. Alpha was set at the 0.05 level for statistical significance. Results: Males had less participation in pre-op PT than females (P=0.01). In contrast, age, pain intensity, disability, and pain-associated psychological factors did not differ between pre-op PT treatment groups (P>0.05). Subacromial bursectomies were more commonly performed in patients having pre-op PT treatment (P<0.05). Pre-op PT treatment did not influence length of post-op PT treatment and did not affect 3-month and 6-month pain intensity and disability outcomes. Differences in distribution of pre-op PT for males and females and subacromial bursectomy did not influence 3-month or 6-month postsurgical outcomes. Conclusion: Receiving pre-op PT treatment did not influence post-op PT treatment or pain and disability outcomes at 3 months and 6 months. This prospective cohort study provides no evidence of benefit for pre-op PT on post-op PT treatment or postsurgical outcomes. Females or patients receiving certain surgical procedures are more likely to undergo pre-op PT treatment. However, these differences did not influence postoperative outcomes in this cohort.
- Postoperative disability
- Postoperative pain
- Preoperative physical therapy
- Shoulder arthroscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine