Exercise therapy is effective for improvement in range of motion, function, and pain in patients with frozen shoulder: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Review written by Todd Hargrove info

Key Points

  1. Research suggests that exercise is effective for improving range of motion, function, and pain in patients with frozen shoulder.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Frozen shoulder is characterized by spontaneous, progressive inflammation and fibrosis of the shoulder joint, resulting in pain and loss of active and passive range of motion (1). It usually develops between the ages of 40-60 and is more common in women than men (2). The non-dominant shoulder is more likely to be affected (2). Frozen shoulder may be more common in people who perform sedentary jobs, and the risk is about 6 times higher in people with diabetes (3, 4).

This systematic review and meta-analysis collectively analyzed studies looking at the effect of exercise on frozen shoulder. There were two specific goals:

  1. Compare the effect of exercise alone versus exercise with other interventions.
  2. Compare the different methods of exercise to determine which were most effective.

The non-dominant shoulder is more likely to be affected by frozen shoulder.
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The authors concluded that exercise for frozen shoulder is an effective treatment in the short-term, and that adding in passive modalities offers little or no additional benefit.

METHODS

  • 33 studies were included in the systematic review, and 19 studies were included in the meta-analysis.
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