Background: Frozen shoulder is a kind of spontaneous, progressive peri-arthritis over the shoulder joint. The etiology is not yet clear. Traditional treatments for frozen shoulder included conservative medical therapy, physical therapy, nerve block and acupuncture and so on. The purpose of our study is to determine the pain relief effect of electroacupuncture (EAP), regional nerve block (RNB) and the combination of EAP + RNB for frozen shoulder.
Materials & methods: One hundred and fifty patients with fresh frozen shoulder were, randomly divided into 3 groups. Group I patients (n = 50) had RNB with stellate ganglion block and suprascapular nerve block by 1% xylocaine 10 ml. Group II patients (n = 50) had EAP with local acupoint--Chien-Yu, Chien-Ching, Chien-Nei-Ling, Ah-Shih Hsueh treatment and Group III (n = 50) patients had RNB+EAP performed with acupuncture first, then followed by the regional nerve block. Six vectors of movements were checked in all methods. Four graded Bromage score was used for pain assessment, Grade 1 means complete painless; Grade 2 means slight pain (i.e. pain on motion); Grade 3 means moderate pain (i.e. pain on silence); Grade 4 means severe pain (i.e. need analgesics). The range of shoulder joint was also recorded. Patients were requested for second treatment if pain recurred. The onset (time from injection to maximal pain relief), duration (time from injection to grade 3) Bromage score and side effects were recorded.
Results: The results showed that the combined EAP and RNB method had significant high pain control quality, longer duration, and better range of movement of the shoulder joint than that of EAP or RNB performed alone.