The Effect of Anterior Versus Posterior Glide Joint Mobilization on External Rotation Range of Motion in Patients With Shoulder Adhesive Capsulitis

Grenith J. Zimmerman, Joseph J. Godges, Andrea J. Johnson, Leroy L. Ounanian

The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of an­terior versus posterior glide mobilization techniques for improving shoulder external rotation range of motion (ROM) in patients with adhesive capsulitis. Twenty consecu­tive subjects with a primary diagnosis of shoulder adhesive capsulitis and exhibiting a specific external rotation ROM deficit were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatment groups. All subjects received 6 therapy sessions consisting of application of therapeutic ultrasound, joint mobilization, and upper-body ergometer exercise. Treatment differed between groups in the direction of the mobilization technique performed. Shoulder external rotation ROM was mea­sured initially and after each treatment session. There was no significant differ­ence in shoulder external rotation ROM between groups prior to initiating the treatment program. A significant difference between groups was present by the third treatment. The individu­als in the anterior mobilization group had a mean improvement in external rotation ROM of 3.0°, whereas the individuals in the poste­rior mobilization group had a mean improvement of 31.3°. The author concludes that a posteriorly directed joint mobilization technique was more effective than an anteriorly directed mobilization technique for improving external rotation ROM in subjects with adhesive capsulitis. Both groups had a significant decrease in pain.

Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 2007, 37(7), 413

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