Clinical Effectiveness of Non-Surgical Interventions for Primary Frozen Shoulder: A Systematic Review

Review written by Dr Teddy Willsey info

Key Points

  1. With symptoms lasting upwards of 3-4 years for some patients, frozen shoulder can be an extremely challenging pathology to treat.
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Frozen shoulder (FS) is a unique and mysterious pathology. Characterized by severe stiffness, pain, and loss of range of motion, patients oftentimes report limitations that can persist for up to 3-5 years (1). It is estimated that up to 5% of the population may experience FS throughout their lifetime, with the incidence increasing significantly in women, people who are overweight, and those who have been diagnosed with diabetes (2). The objective of this paper was to update existing systematic reviews on FS and evaluate the clinical effectiveness of various non-surgical management interventions.

Frozen shoulder is characterized by severe stiffness, pain, and loss of range of motion.
The majority of therapeutic and medical interventions for frozen shoulder have only been shown to have clinical efficacy when used concurrently with other treatments.


The systematic review focused on including randomized controlled trials while excluding secondary causes and comorbidities associated with FS. Exclusion criteria included recently diagnosed shoulder injury, trauma or surgery, paralysis or other neurovascular involvement, and diabetes. Inclusion criteria included physiotherapy and

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