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Frozen Shoulder: Four Exercises to Improve Stiffness and Relieve Pain

Hey guys it’s Hina from Rebalance Physical Therapy. I want to talk to you any of you guys who are experiencing a stiff or frozen shoulders. Here are four exercises you can start immediately to boost your range, improve stiffness, shoulder pain and function.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

The Shoulder is a ball and socket joint. The socket is the shoulder blade and the ball is your arm bone. They fit together and the ball spins in the socket. Around that on the outside you have a lot of tissue – muscles, ligaments and tendons. What can happen is you can develop excess tissue and scarring that doesn’t allow that ball and socket joint to move very well and it becomes stiff. That can limit the mobility and the movement of your shoulder. Stiff and painful.

Four exercises you can start NOW

The main thing I want you to remember is that if it’s painful, I don’t want you to be doing these stretches. If you are going through these stretches and it seems like the pain is getting worse, stop.

For all of these exercises you will need a dowel. You can use an umbrella, cane, broom or any kind of stick.

Arms Overhead

  • *Lie on your back with your knees bent. Bring your arms straight, hold on to the dowel, bring your arms back and over your head.
  • *Hold it overhead for 10 seconds, then back down.

Arm Rotation

  • *Lie on your back. Hold the dowel in one hand and take your other arm out to the side and bend your elbow to 90 degrees so your forearm is straight up in the air.
  • *Take the dowel and push it into your palm.
  • *Keep your elbow at 90 and use the dowel to push the arm out like you’re rotating your arm out.
  • *You’ll feel a stretch in the front of your shoulder
  • *Hold that for 10 seconds and then bring it back.
  • *Repeat 5-10 times
  • *If it’s uncomfortable, place a towel under your elbow
  • *As it gets better, move your elbow up toward more in line with your shoulder
  • *Keep your arm bent so the angle stays at 90 degrees

Behind-the-Back Straight Arm

  • *Place the dowel behind your back
  • *Reach behind and lift your arms back away from your body
  • *Lower your arms down
  • *Repeat 5-10 times

Behind-the-Back Bent Arm

  • *Take the dowel behind your back
  • *Hold it with your right hand at the top with your arm overhead
  • *Grab toe dowel with your left hand wherever it is with your range of motion.
  • *Use your right shoulder to pull up on the dowel as your left arm goes along for the ride
  • *Pull up, hold 10 seconds and let go. Repeat 5-10 times. Switch sides.

Those are the four things you can do to start getting your shoulder less stiff, less painful and functioning better. For more detail, check out the video below:

If you find that you’re doing these things but it’s not helping, you might need additional hands on therapy. There might also be other things going on in your head, neck, or shoulder blade that could be affecting the shoulder joint.

If you’re having shoulder pain and exercises at home aren’t helping, you can schedule a complimentary phone consultation to discuss your symptoms here.

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