Does adding mobilization to stretching improve outcomes for people with frozen shoulder? A randomized controlled clinical trial.

The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of joint mobilization combined with stretching exercises in patients with frozen shoulder. Thirty participants were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups: joint mobilization and stretching versus stretching exercises alone. Both groups performed a home exercise program and were treated for six weeks (18 sessions).  The primary outcome measures for functional assessment were the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand score and the Constant score. The secondary outcome measures were pain level, as evaluated with a visual analog scale, and range of motion, as measured using a conventional goniometer. Patients were assessed before treatment, at the end of the treatment, and after one year as follow-up.  Two-by-two repeated-measures ANOVA with Bonferroni corrections revealed significant increases in abduction, external rotation  and Constant score at the one-year follow-up in the joint mobilization combined with stretching exercise group, whereas the group performing stretching exercise alone did not show such changes.

The authors conclude that in the treatment of patients with frozen shoulder, joint mobilization combined with stretching exercises is better than stretching exercise alone in terms of external rotation, abduction range of motion and function score.