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End-range mobilization techniques in adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder joint: A multiple-subject case report.

Physical Therapy 2000 December
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The purpose of this case report is to describe the use of end-range mobilization techniques in the management of patients with adhesive capsulitis.

CASE DESCRIPTION: Four men and 3 women (mean age=50.2 years, SD=6.0, range=41-65) with adhesive capsulitis of the glenohumeral joint (mean disease duration=8.4 months, SD=3.3, range=3-12) were treated with end-range mobilization techniques, twice a week for 3 months. Indexes of pain, joint mobility, and function were measured by the same observer before treatment, after 3 months of treatment, and at the time of a 9-month follow-up. In addition, arthrographic assessment of joint capacity (ie, the amount of fluid the joint can contain) and measurement of range of motion of glenohumeral abduction on a plain radiograph were conducted initially and after 3 months of treatment.

OUTCOMES: After 3 months of treatment, there were increases in active range of motion. Mean abduction increased from 91 degrees (SD=16, range=70-120) to 151 degrees (SD=22, range=110-170), mean flexion in the sagittal plane increased from 113 degrees (SD=17, range=90-145) to 147 degrees (SD=18, range=115-175), and mean lateral rotation increased from 13 degrees (SD=13, range=0-40) to 31 degrees (SD=11, range=15-50). There were also increases in passive range of motion: Mean abduction increased from 96 degrees (SD=18, range=70-125) to 159 degrees (SD=24, range 110-180), mean flexion in the sagittal plane increased from 120 degrees (SD=16, range=95-145) to 154 degrees (SD=19, range=120-180), and mean lateral rotation increased from 21 degrees (SD=11, range=10-45) to 41 degrees (SD=8, range=35-55). The mean capacity of the glenohumeral joint capsule (its ability to contain fluid) increased from 10 cc (SD=3, range=6-15) to 15 cc (SD=3, range=10-20). Four patients rated their improvement in shoulder function as excellent, 2 patients rated it as good, and 1 patient rated it as moderate. All patients maintained their gain in joint mobility at the 9-month follow-up.

DISCUSSION: There seems to be a role for intensive mobilization techniques in the treatment of adhesive capsulitis. Controlled studies regarding the effectiveness of end-range mobilization techniques in the treatment of adhesive capsulitis are warranted.

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