The efficacy of continuous cryotherapy on the postoperative shoulder: a prospective, randomized investigation.

Authors: Singh H, Osbahr DC, Holovacs TF, Cawley PW, Speer KP.

References: J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2001 Nov-Dec;10(6):522-5.

This prospective, randomized investigation evaluated the efficacy of cryotherapy on subjective responses after both open and arthroscopic procedures on the shoulder. Seventy patients were randomly assigned to one of two study groups: (1) continuous cryotherapy group and (2) age-matched control group. Visual analog scales were used to assess subjective responses on postoperative days 1, 7, 14, and 21. On day 1, patients receiving cryotherapy reported significantly less pain during sleep and significantly more comfort in bed and rated their sleep as more restful than the control subjects. During days 7 through 21, cryotherapy subjects reported a significant reduction in frequency and intensity of pain, as well as less pain during shoulder rehabilitation, than the control subjects. These results indicate that cryotherapy is an effective method for postoperative pain control because it decreases the severity and frequency of pain and allows a return to normal sleep patterns while increasing overall postoperative comfort and satisfaction.


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