Frozen Shoulder Exercises

Frozen Shoulder Exercises
July 1, 2013 No Comments » Managing Common Conditions, Neck and Shoulders, Rehabilitation Brian Fulton


Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) is a stubborn condition that creates pain and limits movement of the shoulder joint. To understand this condition click on the following link: Frozen Shoulder.

The following exercises are effective for self-treatment of Adhesive Capsulitis, also known as Frozen Shoulder. Before beginning an exercise/stretching regime be sure to consult a health professional. I typically suggest specific exercises from the list below in conjunction with manual therapeutic intervention (massage therapy), joint mobilization and ultrasound therapy.


Codman’s Exercise

1.  Assume the position as shown, letting the injured arm hang relaxed.
2.  Sway your body back and forth to start a pendulum action of the arm. Do not let your arm tense up.
3.  Repeat, with the arm moving side to side.
4.  Repeat, with the arm moving counterclockwise and clockwise.
5.  Repeat each motion for one minute.


Wall Walking

Put your hand flat on a wall in front of you. Use your fingers to “climb” up the wall (like a “spider”). As you move your fingers up little by little, stop and hold your hand in place for 15 seconds every few inches. Move your fingers up the wall as high as you can reach. Keep trying to go higher.
If this is too painful or difficult, try the following exercise instead.
Stand in open doorway.  Place hands on door frame about head height.  Lean forward through doorway.  Keep elbows down.


Towel Stretch

Place a towel behind your back with your affected arm holding the towel at the bottom behind your back at about waist level and your unaffected arm behind your head holding the top of the towel.  Keep your affected arm relaxed, while your unaffected arm pulls up on the towel stretching your affected arm up behind your back.
Suggestion: Put things you use every day (shoes, coffee cup, toothbrush) on a high shelf. This way you have to reach up for things more often. Regular reaching is a good for your shoulder.


External Rotation with a Pole


1.     Begin standing tall with your back and neck straight, your shoulders should be back slightly.
2.     Keeping your elbow at your side and bent to 90 degrees, use a broom handle to push your hand to the side until you feel a mild to moderate pain-free stretch.
3.     Repeat 10 times.


Horizontal Adduction Stretch

1.  Bring the injured shoulder across the front of the body.
2.  Use the opposite hand to grab the elbow and pull injured arm across the body until you feel a stretch in shoulder.
3.  Hold stretch for 10 second.
4.  Repeat five times.


Pole Reach

1.     Lie on your back, arms near your waist gripping a pole.
2.     Using your good shoulder to lead the stretch, raise the pole off of your waist.
3.     Try to raise your arms up a high as possible.
4.     Hold stretch for 10 seconds.
5.     Repeat five times.  


About The Author
Brian Fulton Brian Fulton has been a Massage Therapist in Ontario Canada since 1999. His approach toward health and the human body is broad and holistic in nature. Brian is also the author of The Placebo Effect in Manual Therapy: Improving Clinical Outcomes (available on Amazon)