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Seven Strengthening Exercises For A Frozen Shoulder

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Gaurav Tyagi 91% (146 ratings)
BPT, MPT- Ortho
Physiotherapist, Gurgaon  •  12 years experience
Seven Strengthening Exercises For A Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is one of the most common disorders of shoulders, usually observed in people aged above 35. Though there is no correlation between gender and age, this disorder seems to strike when the shoulder joint’s fluid connective tissue becomes stiff and inflamed somehow, thus restricting overall motion and causing sessions of indescribable pain. Though the scientific community has not been able to come up with any explanation for the exact causes of such disorders, it is believed to be associated with past trauma or injury to the said area, and/or may involve some auto-immune components.

Exercises which can bring relief:

  1. Finger walk: Facing a wall at a distance of three quarters of your arm's length, use your fingertips of the affected arm to reach the wall at your waist level. Use your fingers to slowly walk up the wall just as in a spider motion till the level you are comfortable.
  2. Cross body reach: Use the unaffected arm to gently lift and turn the affected arm across the body; the shoulder should be stretched by applying gentle pressure on it.
  3. Towel stretch: Use both arms to hold a towel of about 3 feet in length behind the back horizontally; using the unaffected arm, pull the affected arm upwards.
  4. Pendulum stretch: Stand upright and then gently lean forward, using the good arm to support your weight. Let your affected arm hang low, such that free movements can be observed. Rotate your affected arm in a circular motion, preferably with a diameter of about a foot. 10 revolutions a day are ideal for beginners, which can later be increased. However, make sure that you are comfortable with this exercise, and allow your arm to move freely without stretching it forcibly.
  5. Armpit stretch: Using your unaffected arm, lift the affected arm on a table/shelf placed at your chest level. Bend your knees gradually, stretch your armpit gently, and then slowly straighten it. Try to stretch a little further with each bend, without forcing it on your shoulder.
  6. Inward rotation: Hook a rubber exercise band to a fixed position such as a doorknob; hold one end of the band with your affected arm such that your elbow makes a right angle. Gently pull the band about two to five inches towards your body, keep it for five seconds and then let it go.
  7. Outward rotation: Use both your hands to hold a rubber exercise band such that your elbows make a right angle with the band. Pull your affected arm away from your body by about five inches, keep it that way for five seconds, and then gently let it go. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Physiotherapist.
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