The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of radial extracorporeal shockwave treatment with that of supervised exercises in patients with shoulder pain. 104 patients with subacromial shoulder pain lasting at least three months underwent radial extracorporeal shockwave treatment: one session weekly for four to six weeks or supervised exercises: two 45 minute sessions weekly for up to 12 weeks. The results showed a treatment effect in favour of supervised exercises at 6, 12, and 18 weeks was found. The adjusted treatment effect was -8.4 points. A significantly higher proportion of patients in the group treated with supervised exercises improved-odds ratio 3.2. More patients in the shockwave treatment group had additional treatment between 12 and 18 weeks-odds ratio 5.5.
The results showed that supervised exercises were more effective than radial extracorporeal shockwave treatment for short term improvement in patients with subacromial shoulder pain.
Engebretsen K, Grotle M, Bautz-Holter E, Sandvik L, Juel NG, Ekeberg OM, Brox JI. Radial extracorporeal shockwave treatment compared with supervised exercises in patients with subacromial pain syndrome: single blind randomised study. BMJ. 2009;339:b3360