Frozen Shoulder and Exercises To Treat It

The condition of frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, is a very painful condition in which the mobility of the shoulder becomes limited. This condition usually occurs when the connective tissue which encapsulates the shoulder joint (called the shoulder joint capsule) becomes somewhat acutely inflamed. This joint capsule contains the ligaments that are attached to the top of the bone of the upper arm, to the shoulder socket, firmly and holds the joint in place. This is more commonly known as the “ball and socket” joint. The disease is called “frozen” shoulder because patients that suffer this condition usually resort to not moving their shoulder to avoid feeling the acute pain. Lack of use causes the shoulder capsule to thicken and inevitably becomes tight, thus the usage of the term ‚Äúfrozen shoulder.‚ÄĚ

There are usually three phases in the development of frozen shoulder:

  • The “freezing” stage:

    This is the stage where the shoulder starts becoming stiff and pain starts to occur. The pain slowly increases, mostly worsening during sleep. The start of not moving the shoulder as usual starts. This stage usually lasts 6 weeks to 9 months.
  • The “frozen” stage:

    In this stage, the pain felt may actually reduce, but the stiffness felt in the shoulder remains, thus the day to day routine starts to get affected. This stage lasts 2 to 6 months.
  • The “thawing” (recovery) stage:

    In this stage, pain lessens, and the ability to move the shoulder starts to gradually improve. The full motion will start to come back. The stage lasts 6 months to 2 years.

Here are three proven exercises for a frozen shoulder that will help you with the rehabilitation of your frozen shoulder condition.

        The first exercise is called the pendulum stretch. Relax your shoulders and stand upright and lean over, but allow the affected arm which is stiff to hang down. Swing the arm in a small circle. Perform this for around 10 revolutions of the arm in each direction, every day consistently. As you notice the improvement in stiffness and pain, increases the diameter of your swing, but still; gently. Slowly increase the vigor in which you swing and perhaps increase the stretch by holding something with weight whilst swinging.

Next, this exercise is known as the Towel Stretch. Hold on to one end of a towel behind your back and then grab the end with your other hand. Hold the towel and make sure it is horizontally stretched. You should use the unaffected arm to pull on the affected arm upward to stretch it. Hold it like this in this position, and pull on the bottom of the towel with the affected arm; pull it toward the lower back with the unaffected arm. Do this about 15 times a day.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†Lastly, this exercise is called the finger walk. You can do this by first facing a wall with half of an arm’s length away from the wall. Reach out and touch the wall at waist level the tips of the finger of the arm that hurts. Bend your elbow slightly, and slowly walk your fingers, spider-like, until the arm has been raised to its limit. Perform this exercise 10 to 20 times a day.


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.