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Stretching & Strengthening Exercises For A Frozen Shoulder

Exercises tailored for frozen shoulders can improve the strength and mobility of your shoulder.

Frozen shoulder (often called adhesive capsulitis) is when your shoulder becomes stiff, painful and limits motion in every direction. Frozen shoulder exercises play an instrumental role in treating frozen shoulders.

Before performing frozen shoulder exercises, you should always warm up your shoulder. The most effective way to accomplish this is by taking a warm shower or bathing for ten to fifteen minutes. Alternatively, you can heat a damp towel in the microwave, or a moist heating pad can be used to warm up. However, they won’t be as effective as a warm bath.

Remember that when you do the following frozen shoulder exercises, don’t stretch beyond the point of tension.

1. Pendulum stretch
This is the first exercise to start with. Take a deep breath and make sure your shoulders are relaxed. Lean slightly forward, taking support with the other hand, and let the sore arm hang down. 

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Now swing your arm in small, circular movements. Make 10 revolutions each way and do it once a day. You can increase the diameter of your swing as your symptoms improve, but remember not to force it. Hold three to five-pound lightweight objects in your swinging arm as you become more comfortable with the stretch.

2.Towel stretch
Take a three-foot-long towel, hold it behind your back by grabbing both ends of the towel with your hands. The towel should be held horizontally. Stretch your affected arm by pulling it upward with your good arm. The towel can also be draped over your good shoulder for a more advanced version of the exercise. 

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With the unaffected arm, pull the bottom of the towel toward the lower back, holding the bottom with the affected arm. You can repeat doing this 10 to 20 times throughout the day.
3.Finger walk
Stand in front of a wall with a distance of three-quarters of your arm’s length. Reach out to the wall and place the fingers of your affected arm on it at your waist level. Make your fingers walk up the wall like a spider, and make sure your elbow is bent slightly while doing. Raise your arm as high as possible until you are comfortable. Let the fingers do the work, don’t involve your shoulder muscles. Slowly lower the arm and repeat. You can repeat doing this 10 to 20 times throughout the day.

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4.Cross-body reach

This stretching exercise can be done in a sitting or standing position. Lift the affected arm with your good arm, catching at the elbow, lift it across your body and exert pressure gently to stretch your shoulder. Hold this stretching position for 15 to 20 seconds. You can repeat doing this 10 to 20 times a day.

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5.Armpit stretch

Place your affected on the table or a shelf about the height of your breast. If you feel it is difficult to lift, use your good arm to raise your affected arm. Now bend down your knees gently, allowing your armpits to open. Slightly bend your knees more deeply by stretching your armpit gently, and then come back to normal position. Stretch a little further with each knee bending, but don’t push yourself hard on it. You can do stretching every day for 10 to 20 times.

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Starting to strengthen

Once your range of motion has improved, incorporate exercises that strengthen your rotator cuff. Be sure to warm up your shoulder and do your stretching exercises before you perform strengthening exercises. Before performing strengthening exercises, it is important to do shoulder warm-up and stretching exercises.

6.Outward rotation

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Take a rubber exercise band and hold it with both hands, and your elbows should be at 90° close to your sides. Now extend the lower part of your damaged arm two or three inches outward and hold the position for five seconds. Repeat the same 10 to 15 times, once a day.
7.Inward rotation

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Take a rubber exercise band and stand next to a closed door so that your affected arm should be next to the door. Hook one end of the band to the doorknob. Hold the other end of the band with your affected hand and pull it two or three inches inwards towards your body and hold the position for at least five seconds. Make sure your holding elbow is at a 90° angle. Repeat the same 10 to 15 times, once a day.

To know more about frozen shoulder treatment, consult Dr Chandra Sekhar, one of the best shoulder surgeons in Hyderabad. He has more than 15 years of experience treating various types of shoulder problems, including frozen shoulder problems.

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