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Treating Frozen Shoulder: Preparing for Your Exercises

Man doing pendulum exercise
The pendulum exercise can help you get ready for your stretches.

Woman and therapist doing arm exercise for shoulder flexibility

Doing special exercises is the first way to treat frozen shoulder. You may see a physical therapist who can help you learn to do them. If these exercises don’t help, you may need further medical treatment.

Shoulder stretches

Doing stretches is often the best way to treat frozen shoulder. Stretching each day can help lessen the pain and restore shoulder flexibility. But it often takes time before you notice results. Try to be patient.

To warm up, do the “pendulum.” While standing, let the hand on your frozen side dangle freely as you hold the back of a chair with your other hand. Slowly make circles and side-to-side motions with the frozen arm.

Physical therapy

Your doctor may refer you to physical therapy. This hands-on care helps you learn how to do stretching exercises at home. A physical therapist may also work on restoring your shoulder flexibility. To do this, he or she may gently stretch and move your frozen shoulder.

Tips for shoulder stretches

Medicine bottles

Anti-inflammatory medicines can help relieve pain. This may help you do your stretches. Your doctor can tell you more.

 

Shower head

Mild and moist heat can help loosen your shoulder. Try taking a warm shower or bath just before you stretch.

 

Ice pack

A cold or ice pack can limit pain and swelling. Try icing your shoulder for a few minutes after you do your stretches.

Online Medical Reviewer: Hanrahan, John, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 8/20/2013
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