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Exercise better than shockwave treatment for chronic shoulder pain

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Supervised exercises are more effective than shockwave treatment in relieving chronic shoulder pain, latest study results suggest.

Norwegian researchers studied 104 adults, aged from 18 to 70, with shoulder pain lasting at least three months.

Half received a weekly shockwave treatment for four to six weeks – low to medium energy pulses delivered into the tissue – and the rest undertook a 45-minute supervised exercise class, twice a week for up to 12 weeks.

After 18 weeks, the researchers found that 64 per cent of patients in the exercise group achieved a reduction in shoulder pain and disability, compared to 36 per cent of those who underwent shockwave treatment.

The study also showed that more patients in the exercise group returned to work, while more patients in the shockwave group required additional treatment after 12 weeks.

“Supervised exercises were more effective than radial extracorporeal shockwave treatment for short term improvement in patients with subacromial shoulder pain,” the authors said.

“These results are in agreement with results from previous trials recommending exercise therapy and do not strengthen the evidence for extracorporeal shockwave treatment,” they added online on bmj.com.

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