Stress relaxation and static progressive stretch are techniques employed for non-surgical restoration of shoulder range of motion for individuals with adhesive capsulitis. The authors conducted this study with the aim of comparing a static progressive stretch device in addition to traditional therapy with traditional therapy alone for the treatment of adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder. They recruited 60 individuals with adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder whom they placed at random in to an experimental group or a control group. Both groups received three traditional therapy sessions per week for 4 weeks. In addition, the experimental group used a static progressive stretch device for 4 weeks. The primary outcome measure was shoulder range of motion (active and passive shoulder abduction, and passive shoulder external rotation). The secondary outcome measures were function [measured by the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire] and pain [measured using a visual analogue scale (VAS)]. At baseline, they found no differences between the two groups. However, after the intervention, there were significant (P < 0.05) differences between the groups for all outcome parameters: 0.3 for mean VAS scores [95% confidence interval (CI) −0.6 to −1.1], −10.1 for DASH scores (95% CI −21.0 to 0.9), 21.2° for shoulder passive external rotation (95% CI 16.8 to 25.7), 26.4° for shoulder passive abduction (95% CI 17.4 to 35.3), and 27.7° for shoulder active abduction (95% CI 20.3 to 35.0). At 12-month follow-up, the differences between the groups were maintained and even increased for mean shoulder range of motion, VAS scores and DASH scores, with significant differences (P < 0.001) between the groups: −2.0 for VAS scores (95% CI −2.9 to −1.2), −53.8 for DASH scores (95% CI −64.7 to −42.9), 47.9° for shoulder passive external rotation (95% CI 43.5 to 52.3), 44.9° for shoulder passive abduction (95% CI 36.0 to 53.8), and 94.3° for shoulder active abduction (95% CI 87.0 to 101.7).
The authors concluded that the application of a static progressive stretch device as well as traditional therapy appears to have beneficial long-term effects on shoulder range of motion, pain and functional outcomes in patients with adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder. At the 12-month follow-up, they found that the experimental group had continued improving, while the control group had relapsed.