The effectiveness of manual therapy in the management of musculoskeletal disorders of the shoulder: A systematic review

Chung-Yee Cecilia Ho, Gisela Sole and Joanne Munn

A systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted to determine the effectiveness of manual therapy (MT) techniques for the management of musculoskeletal disorders of the shoulder. Seven electronic databases were searched up to January 2007, and reference lists of retrieved articles and relevant MT journals were screened. Fourteen RCTs met the inclusion criteria and their methodological qualities were assessed using the PEDro scale. Results were analyzed within diagnostic subgroups (adhesive capsulitis (AC), shoulder impingement syndrome [SIS], non-specific shoulder pain/dysfunction) and a qualitative analysis using levels of evidence to define treatment effectiveness was applied. For SIS, there was no clear evidence to suggest additional benefits of MT to other interventions. MT was not shown to be more effective than other conservative interventions for AC, however, massage and Mobilizations-with-Movement may be useful in comparison to no treatment for short-term outcomes for shoulder dysfunction.

Manual Therapy, 21 May 2009, online ahead of print

Link to Abstract

Therapeutic Interventions for the Shoulder

Explore evidence-based interventions for shoulder pain including the Shoulder Symptom Modification Procedure and prescription considerations. Covers clinical approaches to management of specific conditions including instability, rotator cuff and subacromial pain.