Publication Date



Background: Passive mobilization of shoulder region joints, often in conjunction with other treatment modalities, is used for the treatment of people with shoulder pain and minimal movement restriction. However, there is only limited evidence supporting the efficacy of this treatment modality. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether passive mobilization of shoulder region joints adds treatment benefit over exercise and advice alone for people with shoulder pain and minimal movement restriction. Design: This was a randomized controlled clinical trial with short-, medium- and longer-term follow-up. Setting: The study was conducted in a metropolitan teaching hospital. Patients: Ninety-eight patients with shoulder pain of local mechanical origin and minimal shoulder movement restriction were randomly allocated to either a control group (n=51) or an experimental group (n=47). Intervention: Participants in both groups received advice and exercises designed to restore neuromuscular control at the shoulder. In addition, participants in the experimental group received passive mobilization specifically applied to shoulder region joints. Measurements: Outcome measurements of shoulder pain and functional impairment, self-rated change in symptoms, and painful shoulder range of motion were obtained at 1, 3, and 6 months after entry into the trial. All data were analyzed using the intention-to-treat principle by repeated-measures analyses of covariance. Results: No statistically significant differences were detected in any of the outcome measurements between the control and experimental groups at short-, medium-, or longer-term follow-up. Limitations: Therapists and participants were not blinded to the treatment allocation. Conclusion: This randomized controlled clinical trial does not provide evidence that the addition of passive mobilization, applied to shoulder region joints, to exercise and advice is more effective than exercise and advice alone in the treatment of people with shoulder pain and minimal movement restriction.

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access

Included in

Physiotherapy Commons