Current Issue - May/June 2020 - Vol 23 Issue 3


  1. 2020;23;245-252Effectiveness of Suprascapular Nerve Pulsed Radiofrequency Treatment for Hemiplegic Shoulder Pain: A Randomized-Controlled Trial
    Randomized Trial
    Ebru Alanbay, MD, Berke Aras, MD, Serdar Kesikburun, MD, Selvinaz Kizilirmak, MD, Evren Yasar, MD, and Arif Kenan Tan, MD.

BACKGROUND: Hemiplegic shoulder pain is one of the most common complications after stroke. Although there are many treatment strategies for this complication, sometimes very resistant cases are also seen.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of suprascapular nerve pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) treatment for hemiplegic shoulder pain (HSP).

STUDY DESIGN: A prospective randomized-controlled trial.

SETTING: University hospital.

METHODS: This study included 30 patients with HSP following stroke. The patients were randomly assigned to receive PRF to the suprascapular nerve (PRF group, n = 15) or suprascapular nerve block (NB) with lidocaine (NB group, n = 15). The patients were randomized into 2 groups (n = 15 both). In addition, the patients received physical therapy to the shoulder, including hot pack, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and stretching and strengthening exercise (5 days per week for 3 weeks in a total of 15 sessions). Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for pain, the Goal Attainment Scale (GAS) during upper-body dressing, and shoulder range of motion (ROM) were assessed at baseline, 1 month, and 3 months after the procedure.

RESULTS: Between the groups, comparison revealed that decrease in the VAS score was statistically significantly higher at the first (3.5 1.9 vs. 1.2 1.0) and third month (4.2 1.7 vs. 1.2 0.9) in the PRF group compared with the NB group (P < 0.01). The PRF group had significantly higher increases in shoulder ROM compared with the NB group (P < 0.05).The positive changes in GAS score at month 3 in the PRF group was significantly higher than that in the NB group (P < 0.05).

LIMITATION: There is a need for further studies with a longer follow-up period.

CONCLUSIONS: In light of these findings, the combination of PRF applied to the suprascapular nerve and physical therapy was superior to the combination of suprascapular NB and physical therapy.

KEY WORDS: Hemiplegic shoulder, stroke, pain, radiofrequency, suprascapular nerve.