The Unclear Treatment for Adhesive Capsulitis

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The complete treatment for adhesive capsulitis remains unclear even though numerous interventions have been studied. Previously published prospective studies of effective treatment have demonstrated incompatible results for improving shoulder range of motion in patients with this condition (Ruiz, 2009). Non-operative interventions include patient education, modalities, stretching exercises, and joint mobilizations (Kelley et al., 2009). Levine et al. stated that 89.5% of ninety eight patients with frozen shoulder returned well to non-operative management (Kelley et al., 2009). Reviewed studies recommend that many patients have benefited from physical therapy and displayed reduced symptoms, increased mobility, and/or functional improvement (Cleland et al., 2002). However, a Cochrane Review by Green et al. says that there is, “no evidence that physiotherapy alone is of benefit for adhesive capsulitis” (Green et al., 2010).
For the treatment of adhesive capsulitis, patient education is crucial in helping to reduce frustration and encourage compliance. It is important to highlight that although full range of motion may never be improved, the condition will spontaneously resolve and stiffness will greatly diminish with time. It is also helpful to give good instructions to the patient and form an appropriate home exercise program that is easy to fulfill with because daily exercise is critical in releasing symptoms (Kelley et al., 2009).
Modalities, such as hot packs, can be
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