Effectiveness of Paraffin and Sustained Stretch in Treatment of Shoulder Contractures Following a Burn Injury

Radha K. Holavanahalli, Phala A Helm, Karen J. Kowalske, Linda S. Hynan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine if range of motion of the shoulder treated with paraffin will be better than that of the shoulder treated with sustained stretch alone. Design: Pilot randomized controlled trial. Setting: Regional burn center. Participants: Patients (N=23) who sustained a burn injury, with a shoulder active abduction and/or flexion in the +70° to +150° degree range, who were 14 years or older, were receiving follow-up physical therapy after discharge from hospital, and provided a signed consent to participate. Interventions: Group A received sustained stretch and paraffin, and group B received sustained stretch only. Both groups had 6 sessions of treatment over 2 weeks. Main Outcome Measures: Active range of motion (AROM) and active-assisted range of motion (AAROM) for shoulder flexion (SF) and shoulder abduction (SA) were measured before and after each treatment session. Results: For pretreatment measurements, only the results for SF AAROM had significant time effects. For posttreatment measurements, SF AROM and SF AAROM had significant effects for time. Session 1 was significantly lower than sessions 2, 3, 4, and 6 for both measures, and additionally, session 1 was significantly lower than session 5 for SF AAROM. For SA AROM, a group-by-time interaction effect was significant, with scores for the paraffin group relatively stable across sessions, and the nonparaffin group had peaks at sessions 3 and 6. There were no significant effects for (1) within-session changes to examine improvement during a session or (2) presession scores across the 6 sessions showing maintenance of motion. Total change from the first session presession measurement to the sixth session postsession measurement for the 2 treatment groups were nonsignificantly different. Conclusions: As shown in this study, sustained stretching with paraffin may be a valuable adjunct to range of motion intervention for the shoulder after burn injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S42-S49
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Burns
  • Contracture
  • Muscle stretching exercises
  • Paraffin
  • Rehabilitation
  • Therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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