Focused Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy in Non-Calcific, Adhesive Capsulitis: A Randomized Double-Blind Controlled Trial


  • Punika Suwalak
  • Jirapa Champaiboon
  • Natthiya Tantisiriwat
  • Jariya Boonhong Chulalongkorn university


extracorporeal shockwave therapy, bursitis, adhesive capsulitis, pain, exercise therapy


Objectives: To study the efficacy of focused extracorporeal shockwave therapy (f-ESWT) combined with an exercise program to reduce pain, improve function, and increase range of motion (ROM) in patients with non-calcific, adhesive capsulitis (NCAC) of the shoulder.

Study design: A randomized double-blind controlled trial.

Setting: An out-patient rehabilitation clinic.

Subjects: Patients with a confirmed diagnosis of NCAC

Methods: Patients were randomly allocated to either f-ESWT (experimental) or sham (control) groups. The f-ESWT group (n = 14) received f-ESWT whereas the sham group (n = 12) received a sham ESWT once a week for 6 weeks. A weekly individualized supervised home-based exercise program was provided to participants in both groups. The numeric rating scale of pain (score 0-10), the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) questionnaire and shoulder ROM were evaluated prior to and at 2, 4, 6, and 10 weeks after the initial treatment.

Results: The numerical rating scale of pain, the functioning SPADI score, and shoulder ROM were significantly improved in both groups. Improvement was significantly apparent at the 2nd and the 4th week after treatment and continued through the 10th week of follow-up. However, there was no significant difference in any of the measured outcomes between the two groups.

Conclusions: In treating non-calcific adhesive capsulitis shoulder, f-ESWT plus exercise is not superior to a home exercise program alone in reducing pain, improving function, and increasing ROM.

Keywords: extracorporeal shockwave therapy, bursitis, adhesive capsulitis, pain, exercise therapy


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