Looking for Clues to Results of Shoulder TreatmentStudying patients over a long period of time helps researchers find out what treatment works and why. This is the second part of a study done on shoulder patients. Patients with shoulder pain were treated with exercise, mobilization, injections, and electrical therapy. The results of treatment were measured and reported.
Now the same group of patients agreed to continue in the study. The purpose of the study was to see what happens six months after treatment stopped. At the same time, the researchers looked for any factors that might predict the results.
Everyone in the study had pain in one shoulder that was made worse with movement. Some had pain that went into the upper arm on the same side. Some patients still had stiffness and loss of motion after treatment during the first study, but before this study began.
Possible factors linked to outcome included hand dominance, how long the patient had the symptoms, and previous shoulder pain. Age and muscle force were also factors the researchers looked at. Researchers looked at results including pain level, function, and strength. Each patient also rated how hard it was to perform nine tasks using the shoulder and arm.
Results from measurements taken before treatment began were compared to the same tests six months after treatment ended. All measures improved in the long run. Patients with shoulder pain and stiffness or shoulder pain without stiffness all showed good improvement.
The authors did not find any factors to predict who would get better. In general, age might be a factor. The older patients were less likely to have a good result. But this doesn't apply to everyone, since more than half of the older subjects had a good result in this study. It may be that the treatment can be credited for the success of these shoulder patients. More study is needed to answer this question.
Karen A. Ginn, PhD, and Milton L. Cohen, MD. Conservative Treatment for Shoulder Pain: Prognostic Indicators of Outcome. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. August 2004. Vol. 85. No. 8. Pp. 1231-1235.
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