Glenohumeral osteoarthritis: manual therapy
published in March - April 2019 - in Il Fisioterapista - issue n.2
Marco Primavera, Jennifer Baldassini

Osteoarthritis of the shoulder, although not as common as that in other joints, can cause significant functional limitations to the glenohumeral joint and its prevalence is increasing with the progressive aging of the population. The disease process is characterized by a progressive, asymmetric narrowing of the joint space and fibrillation of the articular cartilage followed by subchondral sclerosis and osteophyte formation. The patient’s shoulder pain is usually characterized by a gradual onset and a chronic evolution. The level of scientific evidence in the literature on manual therapy – whether or not combined with exercises or multimodal therapies for the specific treatment of glenohumeral arthritis - is currently insufficient. However, numerous studies show that manual therapy techniques targeting the glenohumeral joint are effective in reducing pain and increasing ROM, even though most of these studies have as their reference population people suffering from shoulder pain of a generic nature or related to the rotator cuff.