Sword Health Publishes the First Clinical Study that Demonstrates Superior Patient Outcomes for Patients with Chronic Shoulder Pain

Why Sword
March 30, 2022
Clinical study shoulder Pain
  • The real-world cohort study of 296 patients revealed significantly improved health-related outcomes in patients with chronic shoulder pain 

  • The digital care program (DCP) for chronic shoulder pain resulted in pain reduction of 54.8%, a 44.1% drop in medication intake, and a 55.5% reduction in surgery intent. 

NEW YORK, NY (March 31, 2022)SWORD Health, the digital musculoskeletal (MSK) solution on the market with highest clinical excellence, released clinical study results that shared significant improvement in health-related outcomes for patients with chronic shoulder pain.

The study, published in the Journal of Pain Research, focused on clinical outcomes in members going through SWORD’s care programs for chronic shoulder pain. It is the first real-world study reporting the results of multimodal digital MSK care programs for chronic shoulder conditions.

Shoulder pain (SP) has a lifetime prevalence of nearly 70% and is therefore one of the most common musculoskeletal (MSK) complaints in primary care. Importantly, after a first episode of shoulder pain, about 50% of cases become chronic, making SP one of the most prevalent causes of chronic MSK pain.

Chronic SP is a significant cause of morbidity with tremendous impact on quality of life, psychological distress, and work ability. Compared with the general population, those with a disabling shoulder disease are expected to lose from 1.8 to 8.1 years of working life, depending on their age. Substantial social burden arises therefore not only from utilization of healthcare resources but also from productivity decline, with sick leaves contributing massively for SP costs.

Shoulder pain is the third main complaint in primary care settings. Approximately 65% - 70% of these involve problems in the rotator cuff tendons (ROCTs), with incidence rising higher after the fourth decade of life. The ROCT dysfunction represents, therefore, a huge burden for healthcare systems, insurance companies, and employers alike. In the United States, the annual financial burden of ROCT management was estimated at US $3 billion.

Clinical Study insights

The clinical study included 296 participants and revealed that patients reported a 55% reduction in pain, a 52% reduction in shoulder-related disability, and a 55% reduction in intent to pursue surgery. Significant improvement in anxiety and depression was also noted, with reductions of 50% and 64%, respectively, in overall scores. Productivity losses were reduced by a staggering 67%. The high completion and engagement rates highlight a clinically significant improvement in all health- related outcomes as well as marked productivity recovery.

“This study, along with the others we have been publishing, shows that our evidence-based programs can bring about clinically meaningful improvements in pain, disability, productivity and also in mental health in all levels of acuity and different clinical conditions. It also highlights the importance of rigorous nonoperative strategies to avoid surgery. It also demonstrates, once again, our very high engagement and completion rates, which are crucial to achieving long lasting improvements. We are deeply committed to providing high-quality care to all our members, leading  them to less pain and a better quality of life.” shared Dr. Vijay Yanamadala, Chief Medical Officer of Sword Health.

Another clinical study from Sword Health, published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders in January, revealed equally impressive outcomes in patients going through Sword’s digital care programs for acute conditions involving several body areas, along with very high adherence and retention rates.

Since Sword’s inception in 2015, the digital MSK solutions company has committed to providing the best care possible to people suffering from pain and disability caused by musculoskeletal conditions. The company has built the most clinical-grade care solutions in this space, pairing Doctors of Physical Therapy with the best-in-class technology in order to provide the best outcomes for patients.


Sword Health is the world’s fastest growing digital musculoskeletal (MSK) care provider, on a mission to free two billion people from acute, chronic, and post-surgical pain. It is the first digital solution to pair its members with a licensed physical therapist and the Sword Health Digital Therapist, to deliver a clinically-proven, personalized treatment plan that is more effective, easier, and less expensive than the traditional gold standard of care. Sword Health believes in the power of people to recover at home, without resorting to imaging, surgeries or opioids. With the preventative care delivered through SWORD+, it is the industry's only end-to-end digital MSK solution. Since entering the market in 2020, SWORD Health has worked with insurers, health systems, and employers in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia to make high quality musculoskeletal care accessible to everyone.

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