A frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a painful condition which limits your ability to lift your shoulder and arm. It develops gradually, and will continue to get worse over time if not treated properly with PT or home exercises like these to stretch your frozen shoulder.
Stretching Exercises Are Best
The best remedy for a frozen shoulder is stretching out the muscles in your shoulder and rotator cuff. Gently getting the shoulder moving again is the safest way to treat this condition, and utilizing the opposite “good” arm as the “therapist” arm, you can gently stretch in any direction.
Prior to doing this exercise it is important to warm up. You can take a warm shower or bath, use a heating pad, or warm up a towel in the microwave.
Bend over slightly resting your therapist arm on a table. Swing your damaged arm in a small circle approximately a foot in diameter. Perform 10 revolutions in each direction once a day. As improvement continues, increase the diameter of the swing and perhaps eventually add 3 – 5 lb. weights.
Stand near a wall about ¾ arms length away. Touch the wall at waist height with the fingers of the affected arm. With your elbow bent, walk your fingers up the wall until you feel uncomfortable pressure. Stop and repeat 10 – 20 times a day.
Use a three foot towel behind your back and hold horizontally. Use your therapist arm to pull the affected arm upward. Repeat 10 – 20 times a day.
Across The Body Stretch
Using your therapist arm, hold the wrist and pull the affected arm across your chest in short stretches.
Arm Stretch Up
Lie flat on your back and use your therapist arm to hold the wrist of the affected arm up and over your head gently and hold it for a count of ten. Repeat five times.
Arm Stretch Down
Sit and place the hand of your affected arm on a counter, then gently and slowly begin bending forward to stretch out the arm. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.
As the shoulder begins to become stronger and more mobile you can add elastic exercise bands to increase motion and strengthen the rotator cuff. It’s important to warm up and do some stretching exercises first.
Using a rubber exercise band, attach one side to the knob of a closed door and hold the other end with the affected arm. Keeping your elbow at a 90 degree angle, pull the band 2 or 3 inches toward your body and hold for 5 seconds, then repeat 10 – 15 times.
Due to the high intensity of this exercise on a frozen shoulder, it is advised to only do this exercise one time a day.
If you have developed a frozen shoulder, speak to Palm Beach Pain Institute before beginning any stretching exercise program. They will be your best resource in knowing how much stretching will be beneficial to your shoulder, and when it could do more harm than good.