Thursday, 28 August 2014

Study finds that manual therapy may not be effective in relieving a 'frozen shoulder'

SPHPM's Matthew Page, Prof Sally Green, Sharon Kramer, Dr Renea Johnston and Prof Rachelle Buchbinder have co authored a study which looks at the effectiveness of manual therapy and exercise, alone or in combination, for the treatment of patients with adhesive capsulitis, better known as 'frozen shoulder'.

According to the study, frozen shoulder is a common cause of shoulder pain and stiffness. The pain and stiffness can last up to two to three years before going away, and in the early stages it can be very painful.


Manual therapy comprises movement of the joints and other structures by a healthcare professional (e.g. physiotherapist). Exercise includes any purposeful movement of a joint, muscle contraction or prescribed activity. The aims of both treatments are to relieve pain, increase joint range and improve function.

The study found that a combination of manual therapy and exercise may not be as effective as glucocorticoid injection in the short-term. It is unclear whether a combination of manual therapy, exercise and electrotherapy is an effective adjunct to glucocorticoid injection or oral NSAID, however it may help prevent pain after receiving drug treatment for the condition. 

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