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Abstract

Purpose: To examine the effects of a group exercise program on shoulder pain, disability, range of motion, and strength. Method: This was an observational study of twenty-six patients who had undergone breast cancer surgery and were receiving physiotherapy intervention. The intervention was a supervised 8-week exercise group program. The primary outcome measure was shoulder pain and disability index (SPADI). Secondary outcome measures were shoulder range of motion of flexion and abduction and strength of shoulder flexion and abduction. Results: The average age of patients referred to the group was 56-years (range of 29 to 71 years). The average time since surgery was 6-9 months (range of 2 to 16 months). The exercise group intervention resulted in small reductions in SPADI scores (p<0.001), small improvements in shoulder flexion ROM (3.3° degrees) (p=0.001) and shoulder abduction ROM (3.2°) (p=0.003), and small increases in shoulder flexion strength (0.37 lbs) (p<0.001) and shoulder abduction strength (0.69 lbs) (p=0.001). No adverse effects were reported during this study. Conclusion: An 8-week group exercise program can be effectively implemented in the clinic without any seen side effects. There were improvements in shoulder range of motion and strength, and a reduction in pain and disability although not clinically significant. This pilot study assists clinicians with incorporating an exercise program for patients in breast cancer rehabilitation.

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