There are ligaments that hold together your shoulder blade to your collar bone at the tip of your shoulder. When that gets stretched from a traumatic injury, you’ll have pain and inflammation. Exercises that teach your shoulder to stay in good position, and that stabilize the joint, will get you on your way to a full recovery.


A “frozen shoulder” needs to be stretched. But, depending on the current stage of the progression that you are in, the treatment intensity varies. Initially, a frozen shoulder will be painful, and exercises are gentle. As the condition progresses, pain decreases, but the stiffness and loss of function of your shoulder increases. This is when those gentle stretches become much more aggressive. Your shoulder will eventually loosen up again, and here’s how to speed along that process!


Video Transcript: Frozen Shoulder
A frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, means that your arm feels like it’s stuck, that you just can’t move it very far. A physical therapist can differentiate this condition from other shoulder problems because of the percentage of loss of movements. Lifting your arm up to the front is hard, but not as hard as lifting your arm up to the side, and neither of those motions are as restricted as this motion when you try to rotate your arm outward. A frozen shoulder can happen if you are dealing with another injury that has caused inflammation and pain in your shoulder, if you’ve been in a sling for an extended period of time, if you’ve been babying your arm and avoiding using it, and sometimes adhesive capsulitis appears to occur for no reason at all. There are different phases of this condition, ranging along a continuum of painful, painful and stiff, and just plain stiff. *No matter where you are in this range you need to stretch your shoulder, and the more aggressively the better*. Hi, my name is Josie, and I’m a physical therapist and founder of insight into injury. And today I want to teach you the most important exercise you can do if you are dealing with a frozen shoulder AT ANY stage of recovery. 2 variations of the wall stretch will be your mainstay of treatment. And it looks like this. Stand facing a wall. (I’d suggest using a real wall, it’ll work better than this imaginary wall I’m using) and place your palm on the wall at the highest point you can tolerate to do so. Then scoot your feet in closer to the wall. use your other hand to push your elbow up, and up, and up some more. You will need to deal with some pain if you want to get over this frozen shoulder problem, and the sooner you start, the sooner it will start to loosen up. You can do it. When it is as high as you can tolerate, make sure your neck muscles are relaxed, and hold it 10 seconds. Then, without lowering your arm, twist your shoulders so that your chest is pointing away from the wall and away from the arm that is on the wall. twist as far as you can stand – this really ramps up the stretching intensity, and hold it 10 more seconds. Make sure you’re breathing. Then let it down and take a little break before repeating it at least another 2 times.

I’ve got some other little tricks and pointers that I’ll teach you in my full length PT session that will get your shoulder to loosen up at the fastest rate possible. This can be a long lasting injury – you’ll find research that says it could take up to 12 months to fully get your motion back. Please, let me help you learn what to expect and when it is safe to push harder so that you can get to your goals Faster. You can get a head start and learn the right exercises for the right phase of recovery in my full length PT session. Please check it out! And start loosening up that frozen shoulder today!