The purpose of this study was to critically summarize the effectiveness of physiotherapy in patients presenting clinical signs of shoulder impingement syndrome. Sixteen studies were included, with a mean quality score of 6.8 points out of 10. Many different diagnostic criteria for shoulder impingement syndrome were applied. Physiotherapist-led exercises and surgery were equally effective treatments for shoulder impingement syndrome in the long term. Also, home-based exercises were as effective as combined physiotherapy interventions. Adding manual therapy to exercise programmes may have an additional benefit on pain at 3 weeks follow-up. Moderate evidence exists that passive treatments are not effective and cannot be justified.
This review shows an equal effectiveness of physiotherapist-led exercises compared with surgery in the long term and of home-based exercises compared with combined physiotherapy interventions in patients with shoulder impingement syndrome in the short and long term; passive treatments cannot be recommended for shoulder impingement syndrome.
Kromer TO, Tautenhahn UG, de Bie RA, Staal JB, Bastiaenen CH. Effects of physiotherapy in patients with shoulder impingement syndrome: a systematic review of the literature. J Rehabil Med. 2009 Nov;41(11):870-80