Physiotherapy treatment of frozen shoulder is varied, but the majority are lacking specific focus on the underlying disorder, which is the adhered shoulder capsule. Although positive effects were found after physiotherapy, the recurrence and prolonged disability of a frozen shoulder are major factors to focus on to provide the appropriate treatment. The study sought to investigate the effectiveness of a shoulder countertraction apparatus on ROM, pain, and function in patients with a frozen shoulder and compare their results with those of control subjects who received conventional physiotherapy. A total of 100 participants were placed at random into an experimental group and a control group, with each group having 50 participants. The control group received physiotherapy and the experimental group received countertraction and physiotherapy. The total treatment time was 20 minutes a day for 5 days per week for 2 weeks. The outcome measures used were goniometer measurements, VAS, and the Oxford Shoulder Score. Improvements were seen in the scores for shoulder flexion (94.1° ± 19.79° at baseline increased to 161.9° ± 13.05° following intervention), abduction ROM (90.4° ± 21.18° at baseline increased to 154.8° ± 13.21° after intervention), and pain (8.00 ± 0.78 at baseline decreased to 3.48 ± 0.71 after intervention) in the experimental group. Sixty percent of the participants (n = 30) were improved to the fourth stage of satisfactory joint function according to the Oxford Shoulder Score in the experimental group compared with 18% (n = 9) in the control group (p < 0.001).
The study found that including shoulder countertraction with physiotherapy improves shoulder function compared with physiotherapy alone for the treatment of a frozen shoulder. Additional studies are needed focusing on this concept to increase the generalizability of the counter-traction apparatus in different groups.