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Frozen Shoulder Exercises

Frozen Shoulder: Exercises for Improvement

Frozen shoulder exercises are often the best way to “un-freeze” one’s shoulder. You may be wondering what exactly characterizes a shoulder as “frozen”. The symptoms of a frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, include pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. The pain and stiffness may start off pretty mild but usually grow in severity until the arm becomes difficult to move. Many people who experience this condition are those who have had their arm immobilized for a long period of time, such as in a sling or after surgery. Although surgery may be required to help loosen the joint, in most cases a good routine of frozen shoulder exercises and stretches will put the shoulder back to rights.

Frozen shoulder typically has a life composed of three stages. In the first stage, pain is the most noticeable symptom and the arm is only a little difficult to move. The second stage is a fair opposite of the first in that the shoulder area may be a little painful, but hindrance of movement definitely takes precedence as far as symptoms go. The final stage is often referred to as “thawing”, in which the pain recedes and the stiffness slowly begins to reside until the arm regains full range of motion.

The technical cause behind this annoying condition is that the connective tissues that coat the shoulder joint begin to grow thicker and tighter. Doctors really don’t have much clue as to why some people experience this condition while others never do. As mentioned earlier, people who restrict the movement of this joint for a period of a few weeks or longer are more likely to develop a frozen shoulder than the everyday person. Statistics do show, however, that about 70% of frozen shoulder cases occur in women.

Let’s take a look at some of frozen shoulder exercises that can help speed up recovery time. For this first exercise, stand up nice and straight while holding a stick (use a broom if you have to) straight out in front of your chest. Your palms should be facing the floor. Stretch your arms upward while holding into the broom. Raise your arms above your head without bending your elbows. After 5 counts of “Mississippi”, return your arms to their original position. Repeat for a total of 10 times.

You will also need the broom or stick for this next exercise. Grasp the broom with both hands behind your back. Your palms should be facing downward. Lift the broom upwards or away from your back and hold it there for 5 counts of “Mississippi”. Repeat for a total of 10 times. Although this exercise may feel more difficult in the beginning, it really is helpful in regaining full range of motion, so keep at it!

This next exercise may remind you of a monkey with a back itch, but it’s great for developing internal rotation. Take your trusty broom and hold it vertically against your back. Your “good” arm should be holding the broom at the top, just behind your head, while your “bad” arm grasps the broom from the bottom, above the small of the back. Use your good arm to push the broom towards the bad arm, then return the movement upwards with the bad arm. Hold each bent position for 5 counts of “Mississippi”, repeating for a total of 10 times.

The last exercise we are going to talk about reminds me of someone from the 1920’s singing and dancing with a top-hat and cane. –Don’t worry, you’ll find out soon enough. Take your broom and grasp it in both hands while your arms stretch straight towards the floor. The broom should be resting near your thighs. Use your good arm to push your bad arm out to the side as high as it can go. Hold for 5 counts of “Mississippi” and repeat 10 times.

For best results, try to repeat these exercises on a daily basis. It may seem tiring or difficult at first, but press on and you are bound to notice an improvement. It’s important that you recognize your limitations and never push yourself too far too fast. If daily repetition of these exercises doesn’t cause any improvement in your shoulder after six months, speak with your doctor about the lack of improvement.


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