Effectiveness of electroacupuncture and interferential eloctrotherapy in the management of frozen shoulder

J Rehabil Med. 2008 Mar;40(3):166-70. doi: 10.2340/16501977-0142.


Objective: To examine whether the addition of either electroacupuncture or interferential electrotherapy to shoulder exercises would be more effective in the management of frozen shoulder.

Design: A double-blinded, randomized, controlled trial.

Methods: A total of 70 subjects were randomly allocated to receive either: (i) electroacupuncture plus exercise; (ii) interferential electrotherapy plus exercise; or (iii) no treatment (the control group). Subjects in groups (i) and (ii) received 10 sessions of the respective treatment, while the control group received no treatment for 4 weeks. Each subject's score on the Constant Murley Assessment and visual analogue scale were recorded at baseline, post-treatment session and subsequent follow-up sessions.

Results: In both the electroacupuncture and interferential electrotherapy groups, the Constant Murley Assessment score increased and the visual analogue scale score decreased significantly (both p < 0.001). No significant change was found in any outcome of the control group, and no significant difference was found between the 2 intervention groups (all p > 0.05). The observed improvement was well maintained in both intervention groups at least until the 6-month follow-up session.

Conclusion: Either electroacupuncture or interferential electrotherapy in combination with shoulder exercises is effective in treating frozen shoulder patients. However, no significant difference was found between these types of treatment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy* / methods
  • Electroacupuncture* / methods
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Joint Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Recovery of Function
  • Shoulder Joint* / pathology
  • Shoulder Joint* / physiopathology
  • Shoulder Pain / rehabilitation
  • Shoulder Pain / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome