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There is strong evidence (level 1a) that electrical stimulation applied early after stroke, increasing from one to six hours per day, can prevent 6.5mm of shoulder subluxation

Prepared by:

David Chircop
4th year undergraduate occupational therapy student
University of Western Sydney
Email: dave2750@hotmail.com


June 2004

Review Date:

June 2006

Clinical Question:

Does electrical stimulation prevent or reduce shoulder subluxation in people with hemiplegia following stroke, compared to no electronic stimulation?

Clinical Scenario:

Shoulder subluxation, pain and paralysis of muscles can have a negative impact on occupational and role performance. Electrical stimulation (ES) is often applied to the shoulder muscles to treat shoulder subluxation.  The muscles stimulated are typically posterior deltoid and supraspinatus because they hold the humeral head in the glenohumeral joint (GHJ). Electrical stimulation causes these muscles to contract and maintains muscle bulk, thereby helping to prevent the humerus from separating from the GHJ.  What is the effectiveness of this intervention in treating shoulder subluxation?

Clinical Bottom Line:


Electrical stimulation applied early after stroke to the posterior deltoid and supraspinatus muscles can prevent shoulder subluxation when used in conjunction with conventional upper limb therapy.


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