Bergamaschi ECQA, Sakata RK, Giraldes ALA, et al. Comparative Randomized Study Between Pulsed Radiofrequency and Suprascapular Nerve Block for the Treatment of Chronic Shoulder Pain. Clin J Pain. 2024 Mar 1;40(3):182-186. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000001184. (Original study)

OBJECTIVES: The primary objective of this study was to compare pain intensity after pulsed radiofrequency (RF) or suprascapular nerve block for the treatment of chronic shoulder pain. The secondary objectives were to compare the shoulder range of motion and supplementary analgesic requirement.

METHODS: This randomized and prospective study included 40 patients, with chronic shoulder pain allocated into 2 groups. One group underwent pulsed RF, and the other group was submitted to block (B) of the suprascapular nerve, guided by ultrasound. They were assessed for 12 weeks regarding pain intensity, the need for analgesia supplementation, and shoulder range of motion. Side effects were recorded.

RESULTS: Pain intensity on movement was lower in the RF group after 2, 4, and 8 weeks. At rest, pain intensity was lower in group RF than in group B after 12 weeks. Pain intensity was lower than before the procedure at all times evaluated, in both groups. There was no difference between groups in the range of motion. There was a need for tramadol supplementation in 1 patient in group RF and 2 in group B. Adverse effects observed were local pain (RF: 1), hematoma (RF: 1; B: 1), and lipothymia (B: 2).

DISCUSSION: Pulsed RF on the suprascapular nerve promoted an analgesic effect for 12 weeks. Regarding the intensity of pain on movement and at rest, there was a trend toward a better effect with RF than with nerve blockage treatment. In both groups, there was a reduction in pain intensity without serious adverse effects.

Discipline Area Score
Physician 5 / 7
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Comments from MORE raters

Physician rater

This study is not relevant because it compares two procedures that no one performs in clinical practice. When pulsed radiofrequency of the suprascapular nerve is performed, an anesthetic and corticosteroid block is done at the same time. What would have been useful for clinical practice would have been to compare pulsed radiofrequency + block with anesthetic and corticosteroid vs only the nerve block with anesthetic and corticosteroid.
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