3 Simple Exercises for a Frozen Shoulder

25 January 2017
 Categories: , Blog


Frozen shoulder is a very painful and debilitating condition that leaves the sufferer's shoulder joint feeling very stiff and with limited movement in all directions.

Regular sessions with a good physiotherapist are essential in promoting full healing of the condition, together with pain-relieving drug therapy. Your physio will teach you how to do some exercises that will improve the range of motion in your shoulder as well as carry out gentle manipulation of the affected area.

Stretching exercises are extremely effective in treating a frozen shoulder. With this in mind, here are three simple exercises that you can carry out at home between physio sessions.

Before you begin

It's very important that you warm-up your shoulder before you begin to carry out any stretching exercises. The most effective way of warming up your shoulder is to take a warm bath or shower, allowing the warm water to act on your shoulder for at least 10 minutes.

With all these exercises, you should only stretch your shoulder to a point of tension, not until you feel pain.

Exercise #1—The Armpit Stretch

  1. Use your "good" arm to raise the affected arm to rest on a shelf that is about chest height.  
  2. Slowly bend your knees so that the armpit is opened out.  
  3. Deepen the knee bend to gently stretch the armpit, and then straighten up again.  
  4. Repeat the movement, stretching a little further with each bend, between 10 and 20 times.

Exercise #2—The Pendulum Stretch

  1. In a standing position and with your shoulders completely relaxed, lean over slightly. As you do so, allow the affected arm to hang down. 
  2. Swing the arm around slowly in a small circle clockwise so that you can feel a gentle pull on the shoulder. Do this 10 times.  
  3. Repeat the action 10 times in a counter-clockwise direction.  
  4. Perform the exercise again, this time increasing the size of the circle.  
  5. When your shoulder becomes stronger, hold a 2kg weight on the affected side to increase the pull on the tension point on your shoulder.

Exercise #3—The Towel Stretch

  1. Take a long towel and hold one end of it behind your back. Take up the other end of the towel with the other hand.  
  2. Holding the towel horizontally, use your good arm to pull your affected arm in an upward direction so that you can feel the shoulder stretching. Carry out this exercise 10 to 20 times each day.