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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 Don’t forget to like us. And remember, be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

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