Top 5 Frozen Shoulder Exercises for Quick Relief

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Rajeshwari Panda
Written by Shivani Arora, last updated on 16 November 2022| min read
Top 5 Frozen Shoulder Exercises for Quick Relief

Quick Summary

Frozen shoulder pain is a common issue that can cause severe pain and discomfort in the shoulder joint.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for frozen shoulders, specific exercises can help alleviate pain and improve the range of motion.

These 5 frozen shoulder exercises can provide quick relief:

  • Wall angels
  • Shoulder shrugs
  • Arm circles
  • Pendulum exercises
  • Yoga poses

Adhesive Capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder pain, is a common issue that can cause severe pain and discomfort in the shoulder joint. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for frozen shoulders, specific exercises can help alleviate pain and improve the range of motion. 

This blog will share five exercises for a frozen shoulder that can provide quick relief. If you're struggling with frozen shoulder pain, try these 5 frozen shoulder exercises for quick relief. You'll be surprised at how much they can help!

What is a Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is a medical condition of the shoulder that can cause pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. The condition is defined as difficulty in raising or rotating your arm. A frozen shoulder develops when the connective tissue around the shoulder joint becomes inflamed and stiff. The root cause of frozen shoulder is unknown, but the condition is more likely to affect women and people over the age of 40 years. It is also common in diabetic people or people with other medical conditions that cause changes in the connective tissues of the shoulders.

Frozen shoulder typically develops slowly. 

  1. The First stage, called the Freezing stage, is characterised by pain and loss of motion in the affected shoulder.
  2. The Second stage, called the Frozen stage, is characterised by stiffness in the affected shoulder. 
  3. The Third stage, called the Thawing stage, is characterised by a gradual improvement in motion and range of motion. 

Treatment for a frozen shoulder typically includes physical therapy, exercises, and stretches. Surgery is rarely needed in this condition.

get the app
get the app

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

The symptoms of a frozen shoulder are 

  1. Pain and stiffness in the shoulder
  2. Difficulty moving the shoulder
  3. Decreased motion. 

The pain may be mild initially, but it can become severe over time. The stiffness may make lifting your arm or putting on a shirt difficult. You may experience pain when you try to sleep on the affected side.

Causes of Frozen Shoulder

One of the commonly known causes of a frozen shoulder is simply ageing. With age, our tendons and ligaments begin to degenerate, and this can lead to a loss of flexibility in the shoulder joint. Additionally, a frozen shoulder is often found in people with a previous shoulder injury or surgery. It is because the scar tissue that forms around the injured area can cause the shoulder to become stiff and immobile.

Several medical conditions can contribute to the development of a frozen shoulder. These include diabetes, thyroid problems, arthritis, and even certain types of cancer. In addition, women are more likely to experience frozen shoulders than men, as do people who smoke cigarettes or have a sedentary lifestyle.

Frozen Shoulders Exercises

Pendulum Stretch

One exercise often recommended for a frozen shoulder is the pendulum stretch. This simple exercise involves hanging your arm by your side and moving it in small circles. You can start with small circles and then gradually increase the size of the circles. 

The pendulum stretch has several benefits, which are as follows:

  1. This exercise helps loosen up the connective tissue around the shoulder joint.
  2. Help to increase your range of motion gradually.
  3. Help alleviate the pain caused due to frozen shoulder.
  4. They can be easily done at home as you don't require special equipment or a gym membership to do pendulum stretches.
  5. It is safe and relatively easy, even if you need to be more flexible.
  6. Pendulum stretches help speed up the healing process. 

Towel Stretch

One of the effective passive stretching exercises for frozen shoulders that you can try is towel stretching. This stretch is done by first draping a towel over the affected arm. Then grasp the ends of the towel with the opposite hand and pull gently on the towel while keeping the elbow close to the body. The stretch position should be held for 30 seconds and repeated three times.

The benefits of towel stretch for frozen shoulders include: 

  1. The stretches are easy and don't require any special equipment.
  2. Regular towel stretches can help keep your shoulder mobile
  3. Improving range of motion and flexibility in the shoulder joint.
  4. Reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area.
  5. Prevent further stiffness and immobility in the shoulder joint.
  6. Help to speed up the healing process following a frozen shoulder diagnosis.

Arm Circles

You can try different physical exercises for frozen shoulder, like doing arm circles - a simple exercise that can help improve motion and reduce pain.

To do arm circles:

  1. Start by standing up in a straight position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Raise your arms out to the sides so they are parallel to the ground.
  3. Slowly start making small circles with your arms.
  4. As you get comfortable, increase the size of the circles.
  5. Do 10 to 15 circles in each direction.

Some benefits of arm circles are:

  1. Improve the range of motion in the shoulder. 
  2. Increase blood flow and circulation in the shoulder joint. 
  3. Reduce pain and inflammation in the shoulder joint. 
  4. Strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint. 
  5. Improve overall balance and coordination of the shoulder joint.

Cross-Body Reach

It is one of the physiotherapy exercises for frozen shoulder that helps stretch the tendons and muscles around the shoulder joint.

To do the cross-body reach:

  1. Start by sitting on a chair or standing and place your back straight and your shoulders down.
  2. Reach your right arm across the body and touch your left shoulder.
  3. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat on the other side.

The benefits of performing a cross-body reach for a frozen shoulder include:

  1. A simple and easy exercise that can be easily done at home without special equipment, making it an accessible option for many people.
  2. Stretch out the muscles and tissues around the shoulder.
  3. Help to reduce pain and inflammation.
  4. Improve the range of motion and flexibility.
  5. An excellent way to warm up the shoulder before doing other exercises.
  6. Strengthens the shoulder muscles, which can help to support the joint and prevent further injury.
  7. Increases blood flow and circulation to the area, speeding up healing time.

Armpit Stretch

Armpits are often tight and constricting, especially if you hunch your shoulders or have bad posture. An armpit stretch is ideal for loosening muscles and relieving tension.

To do armpit stretch:

  1. Stand straight and keep your arms on your sides and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Raise one arm above your head and bend at the elbow, and bring your hand behind the head towards your upper back.
  3. Use your other hand to grab the raised elbow and gently pull it towards you. You should feel a stretch in your armpit and upper back.
  4. Hold the position for at least 25-30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.

The ideal benefits of doing armpit stretches are:

  1. Improve your shoulder motion and flexibility in your shoulder.
  2. Help reduce pain and stiffness in your shoulder.
  3. Improve blood circulation in your shoulder.
  4. Reduce inflammation in your shoulder.
  5. Help speed up the healing process of a frozen shoulder.

How Can You Prevent Frozen Shoulders?

There are several ways you can prevent a frozen shoulder or at least minimise the risk of developing the condition:

  1. Keep your shoulder Mobile: If you have a sedentary lifestyle, keep your shoulder mobile by doing simple daily exercises. Range of motion exercises is particularly helpful in preventing frozen shoulders.
  2. Avoid injuring your Shoulder: Be careful not to overuse or injure your shoulder. If you participate in activities that stress your shoulders, such as weightlifting, be sure to use proper form and technique to avoid injury.
  3. Manage Medical Conditions that may contribute to a Frozen Shoulder: If you have diabetes, thyroid disease, or another condition that may contribute to a frozen shoulder, be sure to manage your condition carefully and follow your doctor's instructions. It reduces your risk of developing the condition.

Lifestyle Changes for Frozen Shoulder

The lifestyle changes necessary for treating frozen shoulder will vary depending on the individual's age, health status, and other factors. However, some general recommendations for lifestyle changes that may help treat frozen shoulder include:

  1. Sleeping with a pillow between the arms will help prevent the shoulder from becoming frozen in one position during sleep.
  2. Wearing loose-fitting clothing: Clothing that fits too tightly around the shoulders can worsen symptoms of frozen shoulders. Choose clothing that allows your shoulders to move freely without constriction.
  3. Practicing good posture: Maintaining good posture alignment while sleeping or walking  helps to take pressure off of the shoulders and can help prevent further injury.
  4. Engaging in regular exercise: Exercise is an essential part of treating frozen shoulders, as it helps to maintain the range of motion and prevent further stiffness. Avoid exercises that put stress on the shoulder joint. Instead, focus on low-impact exercises that do not require arm movements, such as walking, swimming, or biking.
  5. Avoiding activities that require overhead arm movement: This includes reaching for items on high shelves or overhead cabinets, hanging pictures or curtains, and painting ceilings.


Frozen shoulders may not seem like a severe issue, but if left untreated, it can lead to shoulder injuries. So, don’t take any shortcuts or neglect the condition. Try out these five physical therapy exercises for frozen shoulder for quick and effective pain relief. With regular practice, you'll soon see an improvement in your range of motion and pain levels. So don't wait any longer, give these exercises a try today!

Whether you need to consult an expert or seek guidance regarding frozen shoulder pain relief, HexaHealth is here to cater to all your medical needs. Get in touch with a HexaHealth expert today!

Frequently Asked Questions

You can do plenty of things to help ease the pain of a frozen shoulder, including:

  1. Taking OTC pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs after doctor’s consultation
  2. Applying heat or ice to the affected shoulder
  3. Doing range-of-motion exercises for the shoulder several times a day
  4. Undergoing physical therapy

The best exercises for a frozen shoulder are those that stretch and strengthen the muscles and joints in the shoulder. Swimming, yoga, and Pilates are all excellent options.

Yes, walking is a great exercise for people with frozen shoulders. It helps to keep the joints and muscles warm and flexible.

There are some effective things you can do to work through a frozen shoulder yourself. First, you can try doing some gentle stretching exercises. You can try massaging the affected area with a heating pad or ice pack. Finally, ensure you keep your shoulder moving as much as possible throughout the day.

A frozen shoulder is aggravated by any abrupt movement like jerking, jarring, and pulling. It is important to keep your joint mobile to avoid worsening the situation.

There is no single root cause of frozen shoulder. Several factors can contribute to the development of the condition, including age-related changes in the shoulder joint, injury to the shoulder, and certain medical conditions.

To give yourself a shoulder massage:

  1. Reach your arm up over the head and place your hand on the opposite shoulder.
  2. Use your fingers, knead the muscle in a circular motion. 
  3. Apply pressure with your fingers as you massage the muscle downward to the centre of your back. Use your fingers to knead the muscle in a circular motion.

There is no definitive answer, as the research on the matter is inconclusive. Some studies suggest that turmeric may help reduce inflammation and pain in people with frozen shoulders, while other studies cannot confirm these benefits. If you are considering using turmeric for frozen shoulder, it is best to speak with a healthcare professional first.

Everyone experiences frozen shoulder differently and respond to physiotherapy differently. Some people may find that physiotherapy worsens their frozen shoulders, while others may find it helpful in managing their condition. If you are considering starting physiotherapy for your frozen shoulder, it is essential to speak with your doctor or physiotherapist first to get their professional opinion on whether or not it is right for you.

It is not recommended to force a frozen shoulder to move as this could further damage the joint and surrounding muscles. If you are experiencing a frozen shoulder, it is best to consult a doctor or physical therapist who can develop a tailored treatment plan for your specific case.

There are three stages of a frozen shoulder:

  1. The freezing stage, when shoulder movement becomes increasingly painful and limited.
  2. The frozen stage, when shoulder movement is severely limited and extremely painful.
  3. The thawing stage, when shoulder movement gradually improves and the pain decreases.

A frozen shoulder does not necessarily hurt all the time. However, it may cause pain when trying to move the affected arm.

A few different options can be tried if a cortisone shot does not work for a frozen shoulder. Physical therapy, oral steroids, and intra-articular steroid injections are all possible next steps. If those fail, then surgery may be an option.

The length of time a steroid injection lasts for a frozen shoulder will vary depending on the individual. Some people may experience relief for a few weeks, while others may find that their symptoms improve for several months.

An MRI may show evidence of a frozen shoulder, but this is not always the case. A frozen shoulder is often diagnosed based on symptoms and physical examination.

A frozen shoulder can lead to severe shoulder injury if the condition is left untreated. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint held together by a network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. 

If the muscles, tendons, or ligaments around the shoulder joint are damaged or become inflamed, it can cause the shoulder joint to freeze in place. This can lead to severe pain and loss of range of motion in the affected arm.

Updated on : 16 November 2022

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.


Dr. Rajeshwari Panda

Dr. Rajeshwari Panda

MSc Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Certified National Diabetic Educator

6 Years Experience

Dr Rajeshwari Panda is a well-known Dietitian currently associated with SRV Hospital, Chembur. She has 6 years of experience in nutrition and dietetics and worked as an expert dietitian in different cities in India. She has worked i...View More


Shivani Arora

Shivani Arora

BA Journalism and Mass Communication

2 Years Experience

She is an accomplished new-age professional who has interviewed prominent personalities such as Bhaichung Bhutia, G. Sathiyan, Shashi Tharoor, etc. A content writer interested in health communication, graphic desi...View More

Expert Doctors

Dr. Lavindra Tomar

Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement

33+ Years




Dr. Manmohan Agarwal

Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement, Arthroscopy and Spo...

38+ Years




NABH Accredited Hospitals

BH Salvas Hospital

BH Salvas Hospital

4.89/5( Ratings)
Chandan Palace
CDAS Super Speciality Hospital

CDAS Super Speciality Hospital

4.55/5( Ratings)
Malibu Town
get the app
get the app

Latest Health Articles