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Chronic Shoulder Pain and Digital Therapy: Same Results as In-Person Treatment?

In the world of physiotherapy and rehabilitation, shoulder pain is a common challenge that can affect the daily lives of many people. From pharmacological treatments to physical therapy, there are many options available, but when pain persists for months, it becomes chronic and raises questions about the best ways to address it. In this article, we will explore whether digital therapy can offer comparable results to traditional in-person treatments.

Pillar of Treatment: Therapeutic Exercise Physical therapy is essential in managing chronic shoulder pain, and within this approach, therapeutic exercise has gained recognition for its benefits. However, its accessibility may be limited by various barriers. This is where telerehabilitation emerges as a promising alternative, offering greater accessibility, encouraging patient adherence, and reducing associated costs.

Analysis of a Study: In-Person vs. Digital A recent study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) sought to compare clinical outcomes between digital physical therapy and in-person therapy in patients with chronic shoulder pain. Here we summarize the key findings.

→ The study included 82 patients with chronic shoulder pain, randomly assigned to two groups receiving treatment for 8 weeks:

Digital therapy group: They performed exercises prescribed by a physiotherapist from their homes through a digital platform. They used a specialized device that provided biofeedback and allowed asynchronous monitoring by the physiotherapist through a cloud-based portal.

In-person therapy group: They attended in-person therapy sessions at a medical center, which included exercises supervised by a physiotherapist and manual therapy.

Both groups also received education about their condition and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Results: Equivalence between Digital and Conventional Therapy

Both groups showed significant improvements in function, as assessed by the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) questionnaire. Notably, no discernible differences were observed between digital and conventional cohorts. Secondary outcomes, including intention for surgery, analgesic consumption, mental health, and worst pain, also showed no significant differences. Adherence and satisfaction rates were high in both groups, with no adverse events recorded.

Study Conclusion

These findings support the potential of digital therapy as an effective and scalable alternative for managing chronic shoulder pain. Integrating digital solutions into conventional physical therapy practices can offer greater accessibility and convenience for patients without compromising treatment effectiveness.

How Does This Impact Our Treatments?

These findings indicate that telerehabilitation could be as effective as in-person sessions for treating chronic shoulder pain. This drives us to adopt new clinical practices, where digital therapy expands our reach, allowing us to treat more patients efficiently and effectively.

The flexibility of remote monitoring gives us the ability to tailor treatments to each individual, thus optimizing outcomes. By empowering patients to actively participate in their rehabilitation from home, we foster their autonomy and responsibility in the recovery process.

ReHub: Your Tool

Innovative platforms like ReHub offer a wide range of exercises and clinical questionnaires, facilitating personalized treatment and efficient monitoring. In less than 15 minutes, you can design a treatment plan and enable your patient to start their rehabilitation immediately.

At DyCare, we strive to provide the best treatment to our patients and equip professionals with the best tools available. Additionally, we stay updated with the latest research to continue advancing our clinical practice.

Let’s continue advancing towards more accessible, effective, and patient-centered therapy!

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