Steroid injection may be the best medicine for frozen shoulder

Research we're watching

Published: March, 2021

There are a number of different approaches to treating a condition called adhesive capsulitis, better known as frozen shoulder. This common condition causes significant shoulder pain and reduced mobility. While it generally goes away on its own over time, it can take up to a year or longer to heal. But there hasn't been consensus on whether any particular therapy leads to more rapid pain relief and full range of motion.

A study published online Dec. 16, 2020, by JAMA Network Open looked at various treatment options for frozen shoulder to determine which was the most effective. Researchers analyzed 65 different studies with more than 4,000 total participants and found that the first line of therapy should be to inject a steroid directly into the joint to reduce inflammation. This treatment helped to reduce pain and led to the fastest recovery. The study authors said the steroid injection should be accompanied by a home exercise program that includes stretches and exercises to improve range of movement in the shoulder.

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