Acupuncture or Ultrasound: Which Works Better for Shoulder Impingement?Impingement is a common cause of shoulder pain in adults. The most common symptom is pain in the upper arm when raising the arm up. Either the bursa or the tendon gets pinched during this movement. The problem develops from wear and tear, degenerative changes with aging, or both.
Physical therapy (PT) is often the recommended treatment. What kind of PT works best remains unknown. In this study a group of therapists from Sweden compared the use of acupuncture with ultrasound for shoulder impingement.
Patients in two groups were treated by PTs twice a week for five weeks. Each patient carried out a home exercise program. Group one also received ultrasound. Group two got acupuncture. Each treatment was done twice a week for five weeks.
The results favored exercise with acupuncture over exercise with ultrasound. Patients in the acupuncture group had less pain, more function, and less disability after 10 sessions. The authors conclude that acupuncture should be considered before ultrasound in the treatment of shoulder impingement.
Kajsa M. Johansson, PT, PhD, et al. Effects of Acupuncture versus Ultrasound in Patients with Impingement Syndrome: Randomized Clinical Trial. In Physical Therapy. June 2005. Vol. 85. No. 6. Pp. 490-501.
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