Frozen Shoulder Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo


Hey everybody, it’s Doctor Jo. Today I’m gonna
show you some stretches and exercises for a frozen shoulder. Let’s get started. So a frozen shoulder, or technically it’s called adhesive capsulitis, is when you can’t really
move your shoulder because there’s so many adhesions in there. And usually it’s underneath
so it’s really hard to bring your arm up. And so it’s frozen and that’s why people call
it frozen shoulder. It’s a lot easier to say. So to start off with, we’re just gonna do
some pendulum exercises. I like to do the pendulums with a frozen shoulder with a weight
in your hand cause it helps open up that joint just a little bit. So it’s gonna be slightly
different than the normal ones. So just, I have a soup can, if you have a regular weight,
you can use that, but you just need a pound or two, you don’t need anything super heavy,
but just enough to pull it to the ground a little bit more and open up that joint space.
So it’s just starting off with circles. And remember, with the pendulums, you want to
move your whole body, you don’t just want to be moving your arm even if you can. You
really want to move that whole body and I think the weight helps you easily do that.
So start off with circles, do 10 one way and then kind of reverse it. Stop hitting stuff,
though. Reverse it back around and then do 10 that way. Then just do a side-to-side motion
swinging back and forth this way. So really getting that motion if you can, swinging back
and forth, that weight really feels good cause it’s just opening up that space, getting some
circulation in there, hopefully breaking up some of those adhesions so you can get some
more movement in there. And for the front to back, just rocking forwards and backwards.
So again moving that whole body and really hold on tight to the soup can so you don’t
throw it anywhere. And just start off with 10 and then work your way up to a minute of
each of these. Now we’re gonna go down on the ground. So the next set of exercises are
gonna be with my pretty pink PVC pipe. It’s gonna be a range of motion exercises that
are active assistive, passive kind of in between. But your arm that you’re working, if it’s
my left one that’s frozen, is kind of just going along for the ride. It can move a little
bit, but the right side is pretty much doing all the movement and this one is just going
along for the stretch. If you have a little hook like this, like using a cane, that’s
great, but if you don’t have that or a PVC pipe, you can use a broom, any kind of stick.
But I like having it this way so you can have your thumb facing upwards. That’s the best
way to do the motion. But if you can’t, that’s ok, you can just place it up on top. And remember,
it’s just going along for the ride and you’re doing the movement. SO you just take it up
as high as you comfortably can, you’re probably gonna feel that stretch right in there, and
then hold it just for a second, and then come back down. You can also do these lying down
if this is a little bit harder to start off with, you can do it lying down and have gravity
kind of assist you to push it all the way over. So just start off with about 10 of these,
work your way up to 20 – 25. The next one with the PVC pipe is gonna be an external
rotation. So keep your elbow by your side. A lot of times when people are really trying
to stretch, they end up pulling that elbow off of their side. If you feel like it keeps
coming off, roll up a towel and squeeze in to it so you know that your elbow’s staying
by your side and if the towel drops, you’re coming off of the side. So just, again with
your thumb up, so you can just put it on the edge of whatever you’re using, push outwards,
this way. So you’re not really moving it a whole lot, you’re just letting the pipe do
all of the pushing. So again, it’s not this, the elbow’s not coming off the side, you’re
rotating, externally rotating, that shoulder in there. You want to go just to where you
feel a really big tension. You don’t want to feel pain with this. So a little push,
hold it, and then come back. The next one is gonna be abduction, going out to the side.
So same kind of thing, if you can hold onto the side, that’s great. If not, hold your
hand this way so you’re thumb will be coming up in that motion. So again, using that pipe
just to kind of push it up to the side. And then bring it back down. So really it’s just
assisting you in that big stretch at the end, and then coming back down. So again just starting
off with 10 -15 of all those and then work your way up to 20 – 25. So the next exercises
area gonna be some shoulder shrugs. With the shoulder shrugs, you just wanna kind of, I
don’t know, shrug your shoulders. So just coming up really squeeze at the top and come
back down. Not taking your neck and hunching it down, but brining those shoulders up this
way. And just nice stretch at the end and then come back down. So again just start off
with 10 of them, see how they feel, and then you can work your way up from there. Then
you’re gonna move in to shoulder circles. So this time really kind of rolling the whole
shoulder around. Getting that shoulder joint moving. Make sure you do both directions.
I like starting off going backwards cause for some reason that’s easier for me. Do 10
of those and then reverse it and go forward. But really try and make those circles nice
and big. You might feel a little bit of popping going on in your shoulder. As long as it’s
just slightly painful and it stops, that’s those adhesions breaking up in there. So that’s
usually a good sign. If it goes “pop” and you go “ohh,” but then it feels better, that’s
those adhesions and that’s what you want to do, you want to break those up so you get
more movement in there. So again starting off with 10 of each of those and then working
your way up. The last one is just gonna be a big shoulder flexion stretch, but you’re
gonna use the ground to help you out. Kind of get yourself into a child’s pose position.
Sitting back on your feet if you can, if your knees aren’t super painful. If you can’t do
it in this position, you can actually slide it on a table or counter top, so don’t feel
like you have to be on the ground. I just feel like you can get a little bit more using
your body weight to give you extra pressure with this one. So I like it. But again, keep
your thumb up, put it on the ground, and just slide forward. And you should feel that stretch
right through there. Hold it for about 3 – 5 seconds, come back up. Slide back down. And
then start off with about 10 of those and work your way up to 20 – 25, or holding it
longer for 10 seconds, 15 seconds and so forth. So there you have it. Those are your stretches
and exercises for a frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis. If you have any questions, leave
them in the comments section. If you’d like to check out some other videos, go to AskDoctorJo.com
Don’t forget to like us. And remember, be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better
soon.

100 thoughts on “Frozen Shoulder Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

  1. These help tremendously. And they are different from the typical same exercises I see everyone else teaching. I am making progress now and my shoulder is starting to thaw out (except when it rains). You're awesome Doctor Jo!

  2. the pain is on outside of bicep when i try lift arm, should i stretch if i feel pain? is a little pain ok or not

  3. I have a question about the last stretch sliding the arm out on the floor. You said it stretches underneath the arm, but when I do it all I feel is pain on the top of the shoulder. Am I doing something wrong?

  4. Just curious why you would recommend shoulder shrugs when often frozen shoulders have compensatory shoulder hiking. Doesn't that just strengthen a muscle that's already somewhat tight? Thanks for your help.

  5. Am Bhromor from Delhi and suffering from frozen shoulder from past 7 to 8 months. Am doing physiotherapy since a month but not such improvements. Can you suggest how can I get relief from pain. I am doing all those exercises regularly which you showed in your you tube .

  6. Great video! The pedulum swing is so hard for some patients to get correctly. They seem to have trouble relaxing the muscles to get that free swinging motion going.

  7. I developed frozen shoulder after my arm was immobilized for 5 months following surgery. The physical therapist was directed by the surgeon to work on my elbow, wrist and hand. So I did Doctor Jo's shoulder exercises on my own. After performing these exercises every day for 3 months, I have complete range of motion again and no more pain. They really work!

  8. Yay, or nay on doing yoga with frozen shoulder? I feel it would help a lot, but there's part of me that thinks some of the poses might exacerbate the condition.

  9. helo Dr…
    my every movement of the shoulder is fine but when I have to throw the ball or while playing badminton ( like smashing during the game). my shoulder become very painful and I feel like switching of muscle but after 5 or 10 minutes pain is gone. I have done the physiotherapy . , result is same. pls give some suggestions 😊

  10. I feel the pain on top of my shoulder toward the front. I also have pain in the back of my arm along the triceps that pull down to my elbow which is very painful. Some of these excercises help but I need exercises to treat the pain along the tricep as well

  11. Simple but precise. It's been four months after a collarbone fracture. Really frustrated. Thanks for this. Making some progress.

  12. These work well for my rotator cuff surgery rehab. Thank you, Dr. Jo. BTW, this was published on my birthday, June 15

  13. Thank you so much for your videos. They have helped me a lot and recently My shoulder started to get very stiff and a lot of pain. But I feel the pain Increases when I'm under stressful situations. Could this be do to stress?

  14. You are such a sweet soul♡ Thank you so much for your videos! When I had breast cancer surgery the lymph nodes under my arm were removed & that's when I got a frozen shoulder. I was so happy to see that you had a video for this! I'm forever grateful♡xoxo

  15. Hi, your video is really helpful. Am a health aide/caregiver,I take care of one patient who needs my assistance to stand up. Could this have caused the frozen shoulder? It was on my left hand n after going through all the pain the hand has improved n I take painkillers sometimes. The problem now is that my right hand is now having the same problem though not as bad as the left. Is the lifting of the patient causing this problems on me?

  16. Since I have bilateral frozen shoulders. With these exercises I would just alternate? I don't want to have surgery and the cortisone shot did not work. What is the percentage of me having to have surgery? This pain is unbearable! Since I cant sleep due not finding a comfortable position this is taking a toll on me!

  17. Doctor Jo,Thank you for taking the time to do this video. It's very helpful. I know come do the Exercises in my home with out people at the PT center . God Bless,Paul Woolwine

  18. i am physical therapist your video as very informative i have a research on frozen shoulder can you help me with that ?

  19. Thank you so much Doctor Jo. I already feel a little better just after doing all these for one set. Thank you.

  20. — You know what I find amazing about your videos? You have people from other countries who watch your videos and they don't have modern health care or people right here in the US who don't have medical insurance. I see people from all over the world commenting on your videos about how much you help them. I think that is amazing! You are a very kind person to use your education and experience to help others in this way.

  21. Thank you so much for making this video. As the term says "adhesive capsulitis", does it mean my joint is actually stuck (glued on) inside or is there something wrong with my serratus anterior and trapezius? I learned that these two muscles have to work together to move the scapular and it enables the humerus to move up (when we try to raise our arm).

  22. Is Frozen shoulder the same as Poly Myalgia Rheumatic-a? I was diagnosed with this a few years ago. Dr. put me on prednisone for six month which cured me but not without gross side effects. I am feeling like it may be coming back and I am very fearful because I had this in both shoulders and it was the worse experience ever! Before it gets any worse i will try your exercises. Thanks so much!

  23. Dr. Jo you are great! Thought I had a rotor cuff tear and was preparing for the worst. Came across this video and starting doing these and things are feeling much better now. I'm making this part of my pre workout routine. Thanks again!!

  24. Thank you Doctor Jo! I noticed you are the only one using a weight to help stretch the shoulder area out and brake up the adhesion. Really made a difference for me! *Note to others (in pain), try using a weight as Doctor Jo mentions.

  25. Thanks for sharing. I’m struggling with a shoulder issue…no fun. Your sock game is on point and like your presentation. Kevin

  26. I’ve been to PT a few times. (Oh I’m a golf professional) PT guy said bicep tendinitis and possibly the beginning of adhesive capsulits (frozen shoulder) tomorrow I meet with an orthopedic doctor (Team doctor for Florida State 🏈who I know really well & trust) see what he recommends. I appreciate your knowledge and videos. Thanks for listening. Kevin

  27. Ok. Doc said 100% frozen shoulder today. Gave me 4 exercises to do twice a day. I had same thing on my other arm 11 years ago after torn labrum surgery. No fun. Thanks again for your knowledge. Kevin

  28. Just recovering from a humerus fracture after a fall (2 months since the accident). I am using these exercises together with my physio's prescribed ones and I have found them extremely useful. I am finding the last one really tricky but I will persevere gently with it every day. Thank you for sharing them.

  29. I haven't been technically diagnosed with "frozen shoulder"…but the MRI findings are: Supraspinatus tendon small partial thickness tears and tendinosis changes + mild subscapularis tendon tendinosis + subacromial/subdeltoid bursitis + SLAP tear + laterally downscoping acromion and mild acromioclavicular joint degenerative changes. Orthopedic surgeon says PT can help. Can these exercises you've detailed for Frozen Shoulder alleviate the ridiculous pain and limited mobility? I am currently doing acupuncture 2x/week and my chiro is doing some massage with adjustment. Just trying to figure out if the standard Frozen Shoulder exercises are OK with the issues I have going on. Thanks !

  30. Mam I am suffering from Brachial NEURITIS show some exercise my soldiers have 30percent work and all hand 100 percent working

  31. Thanks for the video Dr. Jo .. I was diagnosed with frozen shoulder 10 months ago but my pain is not under my armpit area it's actually in my shoulder .. I have no pain at all in the area you speak of in the video .. is there maybe more going on if the pain is in the shoulder only? .. and I do feel a popping or snap from time to time so is that the scar tissue breaking up? .. thank-you for any answers to these questions and thank-you for your video.

  32. May I ask how many repeats of each exercise and how often I need to do them please? I have been struggling for over a year now and have only regained about 60% mobility of the shoulder, with the lifting of my arm into the T position still quite painful. I have just discovered your video. Thanks.

  33. Hello Doc! How can you know you have a frozen shoulder? I have 2 herniated disc in my neck C6,C7 from a accident almost 3 years ago. Suddenly 2 months ago I couldn’t lift my whole left arm it was like so heavy no strength whatsoever, and after pain killers and muscle relaxers i was able to lift it but now can’t like close my brassiere on my back is like is stuck unless a stretch a little i have to really struggle to do this everyday activity. What you think it is?

  34. I have rotator cuff led to frozen shoulder
    I wanted to be able to sleep and be healthy again without building muscle
    Which video I should follow

  35. hello, doc. Jo my frozen shoulder is coming almost 1month paining and now my shoulder bloated already i do ur excersice but still paining.. please help me..

  36. I have frozen shoulder again. The first time it took six months of physical therapy to resolve. I waited too long to be diagnosed. I’m not so far gone this time, so I’m going to try these exercises on my own.

  37. Can we do this exercises in acute or subacute stage? N another question is can we do muscles strengthen exercises in same stages ?

  38. Thanks for explaining what the "pops" coming from my shoulder are. I'm recovering from GBS and my doctor thinks I might be developing frozen shoulder. I can't raise my hands past my head. I don't think it is frozen shoulder. I think it's just going to take time for me to heal from the GBS I had. But I'm using the stretches and exercises that you have here and they seem to be helping. I'm able to raise my hands up a little higher but it's a slow progress. Just have that popping from my shoulder sometimes that concerned me. Thanks for the helpful video!

  39. I was diagnosed with Frozen shoulder couple month ago. Saw acupuncturist and PT. But PT got relocated. So I'm on my own for now. These exercises are great.

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