Frozen Shoulder Relief Stretches

Frozen Shoulder Relief Stretches

If you have a diagnosis of frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) experiencing pain and mobility relief can be a lifesaver. Frozen shoulder relief is possible and may even alleviate symptoms enough to get back your full range of motion. Below are some tips and simple suggestions that just may get you back in action or at least reach stuff on high shelves.

Although it is recommended to do frozen shoulder relief on the affected arm, it is also recommended to do the same exercises on the non-affected arm as a preventative measure.Try these frozen shoulder relief stretches to see if you can get your mobility back before it is too late.

Fire It Up, Reach for the Sky

Heating anything gets the molecules moving and for frozen shoulder you can use all the movement you can get. Once those molecules are bouncing around, taking advantage with a gentle stretch is a good way to get things started.

  • Heat Source – Use a heating pad, microwaveable gel pack or a wet washcloth in the microwave for one minute safely applied to the shoulder for ten to fifteen minutes. It is essential to create what is known as vasodilation (vay-zoh-die-lay-shun). This is the opening of blood vessels bringing oxygen and nutrition-rich blood to the area.
  • Stretch it – After firing up the circulation in the shoulder, gently begin slow shoulder circles frontward and backward for twenty each time doing both ways five times. Then, depending on your severity of frozen shoulder and balance capability you can:
  • Slowly reach your arms toward the ceiling.
  • Hold on to a brace and reach each arm separately
  • Lie on your back and raise the arms in front then above your head

Be sure to have someone in the room or at least the area you are stretching in as well as a safe space in case you lose your balance.

Make Like a Pendulum and Swing

Holding on to something stationary, lean slightly forward and hang one arm from the shoulder. Slowly make small circles with your arm concentrating on letting the arm hang and circle from the shoulder capsule. Do ten circles one way and ten the other, five times each for each arm.

Reach Across the Aisle

This is a good way to open up the side and back shoulder muscles. Reach one arm across the chest while standing or sitting and gently hook under the elbow with the other hand. Slowly and gently pull the elbow of the crossed arm until you feel a stretch. Hold and breathe. Repeat five times trying to get more range of motion (ROM) each time but be careful not to strain the muscles.

Itsy-Bitsy Spider

This is easy to do anywhere and should be repeated ten to twenty-times per day. Simply stand about three quarters of an arms length away from any wall. Place your fingers on the wall and slowly “crawl” those fingers up the wall mimicking a spider. Go as high as you can go without forcing through pain. Be sure and make the fingers do all the work trying not to engage the shoulder at all.

Stretch the Pit

Place an arm on a shelf about chest high and slowly bend at the knees until you feel a stretch in the armpit area. The deeper you can bend the deeper the stretch. Do not overdo it and make sure to breathe in your nose handout your mouth during all exercises. Do this between ten and twenty times per day.

Towel Pull 

Using about a three-foot long hand towel, hold behind your back with both hands. Then, slowly, pull one side up letting the other arm be stretched upward. You can also use a longer towel draped over your shoulder where the other arm can grasp it and be pulled up as well. This exercise should also be done ten to twenty times per day. 

By utilizing these stretches you can open up the shoulder capsule and, in due time, reverse frozen shoulder before it becomes too impacted. If this happens you could need medical intervention where the shoulder is manually manipulated while under anesthesia to break up deep scar tissue. Many of these exercises are guided through physical therapy so if you can get to a physical therapist it is a good way to become acquainted with these stretches to be able to do them at home. Eventually band therapy can be implemented which uses stretchy bands to enhance stretches even more. Hopefully these frozen shoulder relief stretches can get you back on track to avoid surgery and further pain.