Background Shoulder pain is one of the most common types of musculoskeletal pain in the adult population. Subacromial impingement syndrome (SIS) has been reported to be the most frequent etiologic factor for shoulder pain (1). A conservative approach comprising non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), subacromial injections, exercise, and several physical therapy agents is recommended as the first step treatment for SIS (2). Although interferential current (IFC) is a common electrotherapeutic modality used to treat musculoskeletal pain, there isn't any randomized controlled trial investigating its clinical efficacy on SIS (3).
Objectives To investigate the effectiveness of IFC treatment in patients with SIS.
Methods In this double blind, placebo controlled study, patients with shoulder pain, who had been diagnosed SIS according to clinical evaluation and subacromial injection test were randomly assigned to the IFC or placebo groups. Exercise, cryotherapy, and NSAID were applied to the all groups. Daily 20 min per session, 5 days per week, for 2 weeks 10 sessions IFC with alternative method were applied to the IFC group while sham IFC therapy were applied to the placebo group with the same protocol. Visual analog scale (VAS), Constant Murley Scale (CMS) and Shoulder Disability Questionnaire (SDQ) were used for evaluation at baseline, post-treatment and 1 month post-treatment.
Results A total of 60 patients were completed the study; 26 (43.3%) were male and mean age was 50.02±9.10 years. There was not a significant difference in demographic and clinical data of the patients between the IFC (n=30) and placebo (n=30) groups (p>0.05). Significant improvement in all parameters was observed on post-treatment and 1 month post-treatment evaluations compared to baseline evaluations in both groups (p<0.01). Comparison of the VAS, CMS and SDQ scores between the two groups did not show significant difference either pre-treatment or post-treatment (p>0.05).
Conclusions This study showed that IFC treatment does not provide additional benefit to NSAID, cryotherapy and exercise program in the treatment of SIS. Further studies are needed to investigate the long-term effects of IFC therapy.
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Merino LP, Brians'o MCC, Alarc'on GB, et al. Evaluation of the effectiveness of three physiotherapeutic treatments for subacromial impingement syndrome: a randomised clinical trial, Physiotherapy. 2016 Mar;102(1):57–63.
Fuentes JP, Armijo Olivo S, Magee DJ, Gross DP. Effectiveness of Interferential Current Therapy in the Management of Musculoskeletal Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Phys Ther. 2010 Sep;90(9):1219–38.
Disclosure of Interest None declared
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