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Frozen Shoulder: Exploring The Effectiveness of Common Treatments


Adhesive capsulitis, often referred to as “frozen shoulder,” is characterized by severe pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint causing a negative impact on daily activities, and severe disability. The exact cause remains a mystery, although we do know that after trauma or following shoulder surgery, and because of the prolonged immobility that follows, frozen shoulder is always a risk. Various conservative treatments have been explored, but a systematic review conducted in 202 by Cosimo Costantino and his team sought to shed light on the most effective treatment approaches. This blog will take a closer look into their findings.

What Is the Most Effective Treatment for Frozen Shoulder?

To determine the most effective treatments, the researchers scoured multiple medical databases for studies published between 2010 and 2020. They selected 20 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that met their criteria. These trials involved 1089 participants and compared various conservative treatments noted below.

What Did they Find?

The research team found that multimodal therapies, which combine different approaches, were the most studied. Some trials assessed manual and mechanical stretching techniques, while others explored supervised group, and others home therapeutic programs. Ultrasound therapy was not effective for treating adhesive capsulitis and in contrast radial shockwave and cryotherapy treatment proved to be beneficial. Manual joint mobilizations and high-end mobilizations, particularly those targeting the posterior capsule of the shoulder. Additionally, stretching exercises were found to be essential components of all successful rehabilitation programs.

What Should You Do If You Suffer from Frozen Shoulder?

While the author’s research offered valuable insights into the management of adhesive capsulitis, it’s clear that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The data suggests that individual or group exercises, tailored to improving daily activities, that included targeted stretching activities, for those grappling with adhesive capsulitis, provides hope, helped them regain shoulder mobility and alleviate pain.

First things first, if you feel like you are having trouble reaching your arm overhead, and it is combined with stiffness when it comes to reaching behind you, as in scratching your back, see your physical therapist right away. ProMet Physical Therapy, located in Glendale, Briarwood, and Manhasset can help you feel better right away, understand the cause of your pain, and even refer you to a specialist, should you need one. Call us today! When it comes to frozen shoulder, time is of the essence!

Works Cited:

Cosimo Costantino 1Christian Nuresi 2Antonio Ammendolia 3Lorenzo Ape 4Antonio Frizziero 2
Rehabilitative treatments in adhesive capsulitis: a systematic review J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2022 Nov;62(11):1505-1511

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