Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Hemiplegia -- rehabilitation; Shoulder


Hemiplegia, caused by a stroke, is one of the most common disorders in which physical therapists are extensively involved in the rehabilitation process. When a stroke occurs, there is damage to the higher centers of the central nervous system resulting in neurologic, unilateral impairment or hemiplegia. The upper extremity is frequently involved and many patients complain of pain, particularly in the shoulder. Etiology and treatment of hemiplegic shoulder pain (HSP) is a challenging symptom that interferes with progressive rehabilitation and the overall quality of life of many patients.

The purpose of this study was to discuss HSP and the subsequent loss of function that may hinder the rehabilitation process. This paper explores the literature concerning shoulder anatomy, possible causes of shoulder pain, and the interference of this disability with the rehabilitation process. This study also explored possible treatment and educational techniques that aim at regaining control in the upper extremity.

Rehabilitation of HSP presents a therapeutic challenge for the health care professional, especially the physical therapist. Clinically, a variety of signs and symptoms are possible and presentation may vary depending on the etiology of the pain. This paper hopefully will serve as a resource to physical therapists in the clinical management and rehabilitation of patients with HSP.