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Open Access Research article

Population-based consultation patterns in patients with shoulder pain diagnoses

Eva Tekavec1*, Anna Jöud2, Ralf Rittner1, Zoli Mikoczy1, Catarina Nordander1, Ingemar F Petersson2 and Martin Englund23

Author Affiliations

1 Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Laboratory Medicine Lund, Lund University, Lund, SE-221 85, Sweden

2 Department of Orthopedics, Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Lund, SE-221 85, Sweden

3 Clinical Epidemiology Research & Training Unit, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, 02118, USA

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:238  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-238

Published: 29 November 2012



To assess the annual consultation prevalence and new onset consultation rate for doctor-diagnosed shoulder pain conditions.


We identified all residents in the southernmost county in Sweden who received a shoulder pain diagnosis during 2006 (ICD-10 code M75). In subjects who did not consult due to such disorders during 2004 and 2005, we estimated the new onset consultation rate. The distribution of specific shoulder conditions and the length of the period of repeated consultation were calculated.


Annual consultation prevalence was 103/10 000 women and 98/10 000 men. New onset consultation rate was 80/10 000 women (peak in age 50–59 at 129/10 000) and 74/10 000 men (peak in age 60–69 at 116/10 000). About one fifth of both genders continued to consult more than three months after initial presentation, but only a few percent beyond two years. Rotator cuff - and impingement syndromes were the most frequent diagnoses.


The annual consultation prevalence for shoulder pain conditions (1%) was similar in women and men, and about two thirds of patients consulted a doctor only once. Impingement and rotator cuff syndromes were the most frequent diagnoses.