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Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte

Print version ISSN 1517-8692On-line version ISSN 1806-9940


ESTEVAM, Dayane de Oliveira et al. Effects of cooling and heating on shoulder functional performance. Rev Bras Med Esporte [online]. 2015, vol.21, n.3, pp.168-172. ISSN 1517-8692.


Thermotherapy by heat subtraction or cryotherapy is one of the most used resources in the physical rehabilitation whereas thermotherapy by addition of heat is considered as the oldest procedure in physical rehabilitation. However, there are few evidences regarding the effects of these physical agents on the performance of upper limbs.


To compare the effect of joint cooling and joint heating on functional performance of the upper limb.


Thirty-four subjects (22.23 ± 2.17 years old; 22.39 ± 2.53 kg/m2) of both genders were randomly assigned to one of the following three groups: 1) subjects who were submitted to joint cooling with cold compresses - CRG (n=10); 2) subjects who were submitted to joint heating by shortwave thermotherapy - THG (n=10) and 3) subjects who were not submitted to any intervention - control group - COG (n=14). Upper limb performance was assessed pre- and post-intervention by the closed kinetic chain upper extremity stability test (CKCUEST). Balance conditions were assessed in upper limb supporting on a pressure platform. Virtual performance was evaluated by Mario Kart Wii game (Nintendo Wii(r)).


There was significant improvement in post intervention measurements in CKCUEST for both CRG (p<0.001), THG (p=0.002) and COG (p=0.01). There were no significant changes in the center of pressure area displacement with opened eyes in the three groups (p> 0.05). However, in the closed eyes condition, there was a worsened performance for THG (p=0.04) and improved performance for COG (p=0.02). No significant changes in virtual performance were observed for the three groups (p>0.05).


Joint cooling was more effective than joint heating to maintain the upper limb muscle performance, especially in upper limb balance with closed eyes although it did not favor functional performance in all real and virtual tests.

Keywords : diathermy; cooling agents; postural balance; upper extremity.

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