Background and purpose: There is no definitive evidence for the efficacy of the physical therapy interventions used for patients with impingement syndrome. The purpose of this study was to compare manual acupuncture and continuous ultrasound, both applied in addition to home exercises, for patients diagnosed with impingement syndrome.
Subjects and methods: Eighty-five patients with clinical signs of impingement syndrome were randomly assigned to either a group that received acupuncture (n=44) or a group that received ultrasound (n=41). Both interventions were given by physical therapists twice a week for 5 weeks in addition to a home exercise program. Scores from 3 shoulder disability measures, combined in the analysis, measured change during a period of 12 months.
Results: Both groups improved, but the acupuncture group had a larger improvement in the combined score.
Discussion and conclusion: The results suggest that acupuncture is more efficacious than ultrasound when applied in addition to home exercises.