Physiotherapy As Good As Surgery For Frozen Shoulder

A new study has revealed that physiotherapy is as effective as invasive surgery for fixing frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, which is one of the most common shoulder injuries, affecting one in 10 Brits.

The Daily Mail reports that the condition, which affects mostly those over 40, and is twice as likely to occur in those with type 2 diabetes, occurs when the tissue around the shoulder joint gradually stiffens.

It can be resistant to painkillers and has often needed surgery to remove the hard inflamed tissue to mitigate the pain and allow sufferers to regain the use of their arm.

The study which involved 500 frozen shoulder sufferers from 35 NHS trusts revealed that surgery might not be necessary for many patients. A programme of physiotherapy which involved exercises to increase flexibility reduced pain in the area and increased function as much as surgery.

The research compared three different treatments for the condition – physiotherapy, keyhole surgery and physiotherapy combined with steroid injections to reduce inflammation. The participants in the study reported on their pain and mobility levels during the four-year study.

The surgical procedure used to remedy the condition is known as an arthroscopic capsular release, where the stiff tissue surrounding the joint is burned away using a hot probe.

Professor Amar Rangan, orthopaedic surgeon and chief investigator of the study, said this procedure is invasive and expensive and has risks involved due to the possibility of infections and complications with anaesthesia, as well as patients still requiring physiotherapy during recovery.

“Keyhole [surgery] is a resource-heavy procedure, taking up a lot of time and money. Our study shows it isn’t always necessarily the best answer – especially for people with diabetes or other health conditions who want to avoid surgery. Now they have other options,” he added.

If you’re looking for physiotherapy in Maidenhead, book an appointment today.

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