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Upper Limb

The effectiveness of interventions in the management of patients with primary frozen shoulder

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There are many types of treatment used to manage the frozen shoulder, but there is no consensus on how best to manage patients with this painful and debilitating condition. We conducted a review of the evidence of the effectiveness of interventions used to manage primary frozen shoulder using the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, the Physiotherapy Evidence Database, MEDLINE and EMBASE without language or date restrictions up to April 2009. Two authors independently applied selection criteria and assessed the quality of systematic reviews using the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) tool. Data were synthesised narratively, with emphasis placed on assessing the quality of evidence.

In total, 758 titles and abstracts were identified and screened, which resulted in the inclusion of 11 systematic reviews. Although these met most of the AMSTAR quality criteria, there was insufficient evidence to draw firm conclusions about the effectiveness of treatments commonly used to manage a frozen shoulder. This was mostly due to poor methodological quality and small sample size in primary studies included in the reviews. We found no reviews evaluating surgical interventions.

More rigorous randomised trials are needed to evaluate the treatments used for frozen shoulder.

Correspondence should be sent to Miss L. Dennis; e-mail: 1d132@york.ac.uk

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