8 Best Frozen Shoulder Exercises & Stretches

Last Updated on August 13, 2019 | by

In medical parlance, a frozen shoulder is known as adhesive capsulitis. In this condition, a person’s shoulder feels stiff and unable to move properly. This results in limited motion of the shoulder in any direction.

In order to improve the movement of your shoulder, there are range of motion (ROM) exercises as well as therapeutic modalities and procedures that curbs the pain to a considerable extent.

More importantly, it is prudent to warm up the shoulder prior to performing any frozen shoulder exercises. One method for doing that is to take a shower with lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. A damp towel heated in a microwave or moist heating pad can also be used.

8 Best Frozen Shoulder Exercises & Stretches

Listed below are some of the exercises for a frozen shoulder. To be on the safe side, be sure to check these exercises with a physical therapist to get a green signal. Nevertheless, these movements and exercises are highly viable for treating the frozen shoulder.

1. Shoulder Stretches Using Towel

Much to your surprise, a towel has more functions than just wiping yourself dry. Use a towel at your home to stretch the shoulder when it is unable to move properly.

The internal rotation stretch done with your towel is popularly known as ‘hand behind back’ stretch. It is quite viable to stretch the contracted joint capsule along with stiff rotator cuff muscles.

The pectoralis stretch or towel chest stretch is done to stretch your shoulder’s front effectively. Proceed with caution, however. Before doing this exercise, you should consult with your physical therapist on how to perform this exercise without hurting the shoulder.

2. Exercise for Scapular Stabilization

When your shoulder is stiff, you can use smart strategies to increase its motion to a certain extent. What it will do is improve the motion of the shoulder joint slightly. One way of doing so is by moving the shoulder blade excessively when you lift the arm.

The scapular stabilization exercise can normalize the movement of the shoulder blade when you lift the arm. This exercise requires you to lie down. So, you can do this on your sofa or bed, whichever you prefer. For doing this exercise, you will have to perform prone ‘I, T and Y’ exercise along with prone row exercise.

Once again, be sure have the approval of a physical therapist before doing this exercise.

3. The Pendulum Stretch

Let us start with one of the easiest exercises. First, relax your shoulder. Then stand straight and lean over a bit. Now hang your affected arm in a downwards position. Move your arm in a circular movement, just a foot in diameter.

Do this exercise only once a day and perform 10 revolutions in every direction. As your condition gradually improves, you may increase the diameter of the circle, little by little. You can even hold a light-ish weight, but only if you can manage it. In the meantime, you can increase your diameter of movement bit by bit.

4. Finger Walk

For this exercise, face the wall and step away for just three-quarters. Now touch this wall at your waist height using only the finger of the shoulder that is frozen. With the elbow bent a bit slightly, move the fingers up on the wall (just like a spider crawl) until the shoulder can touch the maximum height.

Do remember that all the force needs to be placed on the fingers only. Now lower slowly the arm (use the other arm, if required) and repeat the exercise.

You should perform this exercise 10-20 times a day.

5. Inward Rotation

For this exercise, stand closely to any door which is closed. Now take one corner of the resistance band and place it on the doorknob.

Find a closed-door and stand next to it. Take one corner of the resistance band and hang it over the doorknob. Take the other end of the resistance band using the affected shoulder and position your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Pull this band for about 2-3 inches towards yourself and hold for only 5 seconds. Repeat this procedure 10-15 times a day.

Stand next to a closed door, and hook one end of a rubber exercise band around the doorknob. Hold the other end with the hand of the affected arm, and place your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Pull the band toward your body two or three inches and hold for five seconds. Repeat 10 to 15 times, once a day.

6. Outward Rotation

For this exercise, take any resistance band and then hold it between the hands. Position the elbows at a 90-degree angle, facing hands. Now spin the lower portion of the affected shoulder outward by only 2 to 3 inches and hold in this position for about 5 seconds.

Do this procedure at least 10 to 15 times per day, but only once.

7. Rotator Cuff Strengthening Using a Resistance Band

Your movements are highly limited when the shoulder is frozen. But this is a window of opportunity to improve your shoulder strength and improve the wellbeing of rotator cuff muscles.

By improving the strength of the rotator cuff, you can normalize the mobility of the shoulder and return to normal activity. With a resistance band, it is quite easy to work the rotator cuff muscles. It helps the shoulder in external, internal, abduction, extension and flexion rotation.

Each exercise should be performed with 10 to 15 repetition, once a day. Resistance bands are available from any local therapist or medical equipment stores.

8. Isometric Shoulder Exercise

Another way to improve the shoulder muscle is isometric shoulder exercise, which boosts the strength of the rotator cuff muscles. This exercise goes hand in hand with ROM and stretching exercise, which allows you to facilitate a fluid movement of the arm. These exercises can be performed at home and require no particular equipment. Rest assured, they have a visible effect on the neuromuscular recruitment of the rotator cuff muscles.

In order to perform this exercise, just press yourself into a wall in any direction you like. Release yourself after holding the pressure for 5 seconds at the most. This exercise should be performed twice or thrice a day with 10 to 15 repetitions.

Conclusion

In essence, frozen shoulder is quite a painful condition, which hinders your ability to move the arm with ease. For those who have a frozen shoulder, it is vital to use these motion techniques and exercises to get your shoulder back in moving condition.

Reminder: Be sure to check with your physical therapist about the viability of these exercises first. When approved, they will bring your shoulder back in moving condition.

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