In performing the following frozen shoulder exercises, stretch to the point of tension but not pain. You may use a warm shower or towel prior to performing exercises to warm up the muscles. All exercises listed below should be performed within a pain free range. Contact Pittman Physical Therapy in Collierville and Germantown for any assistance or to seek a natural relief for your shoulder pain.
1. Pendulum stretch
This should be your first exercise. Stand and lean over slightly, allowing the affected arm to hang down. Shoulder should be relaxed. Swing the arm in small relaxed movements — clockwise, counter clockwise, and laterally. Perform 10 revolutions in each direction, once a day. As your symptoms improve, increase the size of your swing, but never force it. Again your shoulder should be relaxed during this exercise. Use your legs and body’s momentum to swing the arm not the shoulder.
2. Towel stretch
Hold one end of a three-foot-long towel behind your back and drape the remaining part of the towel over your good shoulder. Use your good arm to gently pull the affected arm upward to stretch it. If this position is difficult hold the towel in a horizontal position as shown in picture above to modify this exercise. Do this 10 to 20 times a day. Again exercises should be performed just to the point of discomfort not within painful range.
3. Finger walk
Face a wall and place the affected hand on the wall. With your elbow slightly bent, slowly walk your fingers up the wall (within comfortable range). Once you’ve reached as high as you can tolerate, slowly lower the arm back down to mid-waist level.
Note: Your fingers should be doing the work in this exercise NOT your shoulder muscles. Perform this exercise 10 to 20 times a day.
4. Cross-body reach
With your good arm, lift your affected arm at the elbow, and bring it up and across your body. Apply a small amount of pressure to gently stretch the shoulder. Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds. Do this 10 to 15 times per day.
5. Armpit stretch
With your good arm, lift the affected arm onto a shelf about chest-high. Gently bend your knees, opening up the armpit. To add a gentle stretch deepen your knee bend and then return to resting position. To add further stretch ( if tolerable) walk your body back from the counter pressing chest towards the floor. Don’t force it. Do this 10 to 20 times each day, holding stretch for about 5 seconds.
*If you have any difficulty or sudden pain with these frozen shoulder exercises STOP and speak with your Physical Therapist.