The objective of this study was to determine the subacute effects of cervicothoracic spinal thrust/non-thrust in addition to shoulder non-thrust plus exercise in patients with subacromial pathology. This was a randomized, single blinded controlled trial pilot study. Patients were randomly assigned to either shoulder treatment plus cervicothoracic spinal thrust/non-thrust or shoulder treatment-only group. Primary outcomes were average pain intensity (Numeric Pain Rating Scale) and physical function (Shoulder Pain and Disability Index) at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and patient discharge.
18 patients, mean age 43.1(15.8) years satisfied the eligibility criteria and were analyzed for follow-up data. Both groups showed statistically significant improvements in both pain and function at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and discharge. The between-group differences for changes in pain or physical function were not significant at any time point.
The addition of cervicothoracic spinal thrust/non-thrust to the shoulder treatment-only group did not significantly alter improvement in pain or function in patients with subacromial pathology. Both approaches appeared to provide an equally notable benefit. Both groups improved on all outcomes and met the criteria for clinical relevance for both pain and function.