The influence of a cognitive behavioural approach on changing patient expectations for conservative care in shoulder pain treatment: a protocol for a pragmatic randomized controlled trial.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Pragmatic Clinical Trial)

BACKGROUND: Despite similar outcomes for surgery and conservative care, the number of surgeries to treat rotator cuff related shoulder pain has increased. Interventions designed to enhance treatment expectations for conservative care have been shown to improve patient expectations, but no studies have yet explored whether such interventions influence patient decisions to pursue surgery. The purpose of this randomized clinical trial is to examine the effect of an intervention designed to improve expectations of conservative care on the decision to have surgery. METHODS: We will test the effectiveness of the Patient Engagement, Education, and Restructuring of Cognitions (PEERC) intervention which is intended to change expectations regarding conservative care. The PEERC intervention will be evaluated in a randomized, pragmatic "add-on" trial, to better understand the effect the intervention has on outcomes. Ninety-four (94) participants with rotator cuff related shoulder pain referred for physical therapy will be randomized to receive either impairment-based care or impairment-based care plus PEERC. Both groups will receive impairment-based conservative treatment created by compiling the evidence associated with established, effective interventions. Participants assigned to the impairment-based care plus PEERC condition will also receive the PEERC intervention. This intervention, informed by principles of cognitive behavioral therapy, involves three components: (1) strategies to enhance engagement, (2) education and (3) cognitive restructuring and behavioral activation. Outcomes will be assessed at multiple points between enrolment and six months after discharge. The primary outcome is patient reported decision to have surgery and the secondary outcomes are pain, function, expectations and satisfaction with conservative care. DISCUSSION: Rotator cuff related shoulder pain is highly prevalent, and because conservative and surgical treatments have similar outcomes, an intervention that changes expectations about conservative care could alter patient reports of their decision to have surgery and ultimately could lead to lower healthcare costs and decreased risk of surgical complications. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This study is registered as NCT03353272 at

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Myers, H; Keefe, F; George, SZ; Kennedy, J; Lake, AD; Martinez, C; Cook, C

Published Date

  • August 24, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 727 -

PubMed ID

  • 34429074

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8386126

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-2474

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/s12891-021-04588-9


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England