Physical Therapy Reduces Chronic Shoulder Pain in Study

Physiotherapy may be the answer for many who suffer from chronic shoulder pain.

Physiotherapy may be the answer for many who suffer from chronic shoulder pain.

In a randomized controlled trial, 72 patients experiencing chronic shoulder pain were divided and assigned to a treatment group, which received help once week, or to a control group, where participants received no treatment. What researchers found was that the patients with chronic shoulder pain in the treatment group experienced reduced symptoms and improved functioning due to the treatment offered.

Lead researcher Dr Carel Bron from the Radboud University Medical Centre in Holland stated “The results show that 12-week comprehensive treatment reduces the number of muscles with actives myofascial trigger points.”

The effective treatment was a combination of comprehensive physiotherapy, or physical therapy, and stretching exercises which target myofascial trigger points. The treatment was administered once per week and consisted of manual compression of the trigger points, stretching of the muscles, and intermittent cold application accompanied with the stretching.

Participants were also directed to continue muscle-stretching and relaxation exercises at home. They were given guidance concerning ergonomics and advice to assume and maintain good posture. The pain levels of the patients were assessed by a questionnaire at intervals during the study.

After 12 weeks, the patients in the treatment group showed a significantly larger percentage of improvement than the control group; 55% of the treatment group reported improvement, their degrees of recovery ranging from slightly improved to completely recovered, compared to the 14% in the control group. Further, the average number of muscles with active trigger points declined by 2.7 in the treatment group compared to the control group.