A group of 113 women and 73 men with periarthritis of the shoulder have been studied in detail. Electromyography showed 4 patients with neuralgic amyotrophy who had been referred for the shoulder study but were excluded on this basis. Nerve conduction studies showed little difference between the periarthritic group and a control group, apart from some reduction in amplitude and potential, and in women a suggestion of an increased latency. Duration of the action potential was equal. 6 patients had an undoubtedly long latency compatible with median nerve compression. Degenerative changes were found in the glenohumeral joints in 6-9%. Degenerative changes were found at the acromioclavicular joints in 31% of the men and 44% of the women. Calcification was found around 11 of the shoulder joints. There was frequently a previous history of 'rheumatism' before the episode of periarthritis. In one-third of the women 'nonspecific rheumatism' had occurred. Cervicobrachial pain and a previous episode of shoulder pain had occurred more often in the women. Arthrography was performed in 7 patients and there was a reduction in volume of material that could be injected in only one patient. There was obliteration of the axillary fold in that patient, and a torn capsule in a patient who had previously been manipulated. Lateral cervical spine x-rays were compared with films from an epidemiological survey. The disc space/vertebral body height ratio was taken, overcoming the magnification effects shown by technical alterations in the method of taking films. Good intra- and interobserver correlation was found for this ratio, but not for the width of the canal. There was no difference in the disc/body ratio between the periarthritic and control group in the upper cervical region. In the C5/6 and C6/7 intervertebral discs there was evidence of more disc degeneration in the periarthritic group. The differences from the control group were not great because of the high incidence of disc space narrowing and osteophytosis after the age of 45 years in the general population.
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