Korean J Pain.  2022 Apr;35(2):152-159. 10.3344/kjp.2022.35.2.152.

Effectiveness of graded motor imagery in subjects with frozen shoulder: a pilot randomized controlled trial

  • 1Department of Orthopedic Physiotherapy, KAHER Institute of Physiotherapy, Belagavi, India


Subjects with frozen shoulder (FS) might not be comfortable with vigorous physical therapy. Clinical trials assessing the effect of graded motor imagery (GMI) in FS are lacking. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of GMI as an adjunct to conventional physiotherapy in individuals with painful FS.
Twenty subjects aged 40–65 years having stage I and II of FS were randomly divided into two study groups. The conventional physiotherapy group (n = 10) received electrotherapy and exercises while the GMI group (n = 10) received GMI along with the conventional physiotherapy thrice a week for 3 weeks. Pre- (Session 1) and post- (Session 9) intervention analysis for flexion, abduction, and external rotation range of motion (ROM) using a universal goniometer, fear of movement using the fear avoidance belief questionnaire (FABQ), pain with the visual analogue scale, and functional disability using the shoulder pain and disability index (SPADI) was done by a blinded assessor.
Statistically significant difference was seen within both the groups for all the outcomes. In terms of increasing abduction ROM as well as reducing fear of movement, pain, and functional disability, the GMI group was significantly better than control group. However, both groups were equally effective for improving flexion and external rotation ROM.
Addition of GMI to the conventional physiotherapy proved to be superior to conventional physiotherapy alone in terms of reducing pain, kinesiophobia, and improving shoulder function for stage I and II of FS.


Bursitis; Central Nervous System Sensitization; Complementary Therapies; Graded Motor Imagery; Musculoskeletal Manipulations; Pain; Physical Therapy Modalities; Range of Motion; Articular; Shoulder Pain
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