New York Physical Therapy Ebook Continuing Education

was treated with combined joint mobilization using proximal control and in-clinic manual stretches. She was also provided a home exercise program that emphasized daily external rotation static self- stretches. The patient adhered to the home exercise program and clinic attendance. The patient’s progress indicates an optimal, steady improvement in active ROM (Figure 7). The listed mobility changes correlate with the early emphasis on elevation (with inferior glides) and after two weeks an increased emphasis on stretches for external rotation. At year’s end, the patient was discharged due to lapse of insurance coverage. Although she had remnant external rotation deficits as cited in prior discussion, she wa s pleased with her functional capacity and minimal pain. As the bottom-line numbers indicate in Figure 7, each plane of motion improved by an average of 5° or more per week. The 5° degree rule has served as a reliable clinical measure of optimal patient progress. This is notable in several successful treatment outcomes of patients who received 3-4 months of conservative therapy regimens. Healthcare Consideration: 5° Rule - In the settled or frozen phase of stiffness, compliant patients receiving comprehensive multi-modal care can improve ROM in each treated plane by 5° per week. There is a need for more published outcome studies regarding weekly progress as this type of data constitutes an important parameter of clinical success. The study by Levine (2007) offers a rare comparative report for weekly range of motion changes. Resulting from the average 3.8-month long treatment program, the shoulder flexion mobility improved from 118-164 degrees, showing a 46° improvement. For shoulder external rotation, mobility improved from 26- 59 degrees, a 33° change overall. The approximate weekly change of flexion demonstrates 3° and 2° for external rotation. This study was effective in producing the minimal mobility needed for reported normal activities of daily living. However, these improvement rates may have fallen short of optimal, full mobility return.

Figure 6

Figure 7 Flexion Abduction External Rotation

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A 66-year-old, right-handed dominant patient presents with left frozen shoulder syndrome. The patient reported insidious onset of left shoulder pain, increased stiffness and loss of functional mobility for several months. The patient denied prior injury or no relevant medical history. She did not receive any injections or pharmacological treatment to the shoulder. This patient


relax. With the proximal control method, the therapist’s fingers will be able to detect increased muscular tension or guarding. Many patients will be apprehensive with initial mobilization efforts. During the proximal control technique, patient guarding is frequently caused by excessive tension in the therapist’s grip. When appropriate, the therapist will add increased abduction or external rotation on the shoulder while continuing the inferior glides. The direction of the forces is delivered distally, in direct alignment with the humerus. The pressure from the therapist’s hand should remain light. Figure 8: Proximal Control

There are many mobilization techniques and variation of approaches to address shoulder stiffness. A clinical technique to mobilize frozen shoulder, adhesive capsulitis and primary impingement was developed in the mid-1980s. This hybrid method consolidated primary studies that define glide duration, quality, amplitude, and direction. The term proximal control refers to applying manual contact directly on the shoulder joint. The fingertips of both hands surround the joint. This proximal placement is confirmed by a soft feel with a light squeeze of the hands. A hard feel indicates that the hands are on the humeral head and should be avoided. The goal is to apply translation to the joint and avoid applying forces on the humeral head. This contact point also prevents the risk of applying a torque moment to the shaft of the humerus through a long lever arm. The greatest bony strain on the humerus arises from rotational torque and clinicians should be cautious of such. The proximal control method was created by the late Gordon Cummings, who wrote Soft Tissue Contracture (1983). Performed by the therapist standing at the patient’s side outside the humerus, the hands are placed around the joint line. The distal humerus of the patient is clamped to the therapist’s iliac crest with therapist’s inner most arm (Figure 8). This control isolates motion to be only at the proximal segment of the shoulder. This provides a measure of trust and relaxation with the patient as the humeral head is not being gripped. The patient’s shoulder is placed in the plane of the scapula (equivalent to 40° abduction) and slight elevation. Light grade 2-3 oscillations are performed first, with therapist progressing to grade 4 when tolerated (Figure 8). With some mobilization or stretching methods, patients often need frequent verbal cuing to

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Book Code: PTNY1024 Physical-Therapy

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