Patient Expectations of Pain Versus Experienced Expectations of Pain Following Shoulder Injection

Efi Kazum, Ehud Rath, Eran Maman, Ofir Chechik, Alon Rabin, Dani Rotman, Asaf Albagli, Eyal Amar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Corticosteroids, platelet-rich plasma, and hyaluronic acid injections to either the subacromial space (SAS) or the glenohumeral joint (GHJ) of the shoulder are commonly used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in outpatient settings. The first aim of this study was to determine whether the anticipated pain level differed significantly from the actual pain level experienced by patients who underwent shoulder injections. The second aim was to determine whether there was a significant difference in these pain levels between SAS and GHJ injections. The secondary goal was to investigate the correlation between patients’ demographic data, anxiety characteristics, and pain scores. Design: Prospective clinical study. Methods: This study involved patients who completed a three-part questionnaire prior as well as following an injections to the GHJ\SAS. Findings: Sixty-three patients (28 males; 35 females), mean age of 54.28 years (standard deviation 13.95, range 25 to 84) met the inclusion criteria. There was a significant difference between the anticipated and the experienced pain (visual analog score 6.03 vs 3.17, P < .001). Experienced pain of the GHJ injections (n = 34) was rated as being greater than that of the SAS injections (n = 29) with borderline significance (visual analog scale 3.79 vs 2.36; P = .05). Forty-five patients (71.42%) reported a decrease in at least one pain category between anticipated and experienced pain compared to an increase reported by two patients (3.17%). Conclusions: Injections to the GHJ and SAS were shown to be significantly less painful than anticipated by the patients. GHJ injections were perceived as more painful than SAS injections. Communicating this evidence-based reassuring information with patients prior to an injection may alleviate fear of the procedure, reduce the perception of pain, and ultimately improve compliance with the procedure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Perianesthesia Nursing
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • anticipated pain
  • experienced pain
  • pain
  • shoulder injection


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