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Comparing the effect of physiotherapy and physiotherapy plus corticosteroid injection on pain intensity, disability, quality of life, and treatment effectiveness in patients with Subacromial Pain Syndrome: a randomized controlled trial

Disabil Rehabil. 2022 Nov 18:1-9. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2022.2146215. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: To compare the short and medium-term effects of physiotherapy plus corticosteroid injection (combined) with physiotherapy alone on pain intensity, disability, Quality of Life (QoL), and treatment effectiveness in patients with Subacromial Pain Syndrome (SAPS).

METHODS: In this double-blind, parallel Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT), 50 patients with SAPS were randomly assigned into combined (N = 25, a single injection 3-6 days before physiotherapy) and physiotherapy alone group (N = 25). Pain, disability, QoL, and treatment-effectiveness were measured at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and 3 and 6-month follow-up with Visual Analog Scale (VAS), Shortened Disability of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (Quick-DASH), Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) (primary outcome measure), Western Ontario Rotator Cuff (WORC), and Global Rating of Change (GRC) respectively. A 2 × 4 (group × time) mixed model analysis of variance (ANOVA) was applied for analysis.

RESULTS: The ANOVA revealed statistically significant group-in-time interaction for all outcome measures (p-value < 0.05). The independent t-test showed more effectiveness in the combined group at medium-term, as the mean scores of almost all outcome measures were substantially lesser (p < 0.01). Moreover, in short-time, despite a greater number of patients stating “completely recovered” in the combined group, there was no statistically significant difference between groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Effects of physiotherapy plus corticosteroid injection could be more long-lasting than physiotherapy alone in improving pain intensity, disability, QoL, and treatment effectiveness in patients with SAPS.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: IRCT20201010048980N1.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONShoulder pain is common, persistent, and predominantly results from subacromial pain syndrome (SAPS).Physiotherapy and corticosteroid injections are effective interventions for this condition.Comprehensive physiotherapy alone can be as effective as corticosteroid injection combined with physiotherapy in the short term.A combined approach versus physiotherapy alone may have more medium-term effects on SAPS patients’ pain, disability, quality of life, and treatment effectiveness.

PMID:36398695 | DOI:10.1080/09638288.2022.2146215

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