Warm reception for frozen-shoulder guidelines

Physios at last have peer-reviewed advice for dealing with one of the commonest musculoskeletal disorders.

Physios at last have peer-reviewed advice for dealing with one of the commonest musculoskeletal disorders.

A team of physiotherapists led by Nigel Hanchard and Lorna Goodchild have produced the first-ever guidelines for physiotherapy treatment of frozen shoulder.

 Also known as contracted shoulder, this causes long-term, sometimes disabling, stiffness and pain that can prevent patients sleeping.

‘The guidelines fill a gap in our knowledge of how to treat this condition,’ says CSP research adviser Ralph Hammond, welcoming the publication. ‘They bring together the best available knowledge and clarify what works and what doesn’t.’

The CSP-endorsed guidelines were peer-reviewed by a team of independent experts. ‘We were quite discriminating about only using studies we judged to have a low risk of bias, and believable results,’ says Dr Hanchard, senior research fellow at the Health and Social Care Institute of Teesside University.

Shortwave diathermy, for example, though considered old-fashioned by some, was found to be helpful when used along with passive mobilisation in the stiffness phase.  

Steroid injections, which can now be given by physiotherapists with specialised training, were found to play a major role.

‘The evidence is that adding outpatient physiotherapy and home-based exercises to steroid injections strongly augments its affects,’ says Dr Hanchard.

Download the guidelines at ‘Completed projects’: www.csp.org.uk/skipp

Author
Janet Wright

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