Frozen Shoulder: Exercises

Skip to the navigation

Your Care Instructions

Here are some examples of typical rehabilitation exercises for your condition. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physiotherapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Neck stretches

Picture of neck stretches
slide 1 of 6
slide 1 of 6, Neck stretches,
  1. Look straight ahead, and tip your right ear to your right shoulder. Do not let your left shoulder rise up as you tip your head to the right.
  2. Hold 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Tilt your head to the left. Do not let your right shoulder rise up as you tip your head to the left.
  4. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times to each side.

Shoulder rolls

Photo of shoulder rolls exercise
slide 2 of 6
slide 2 of 6, Shoulder rolls,
  1. Sit comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart. You can also do this exercise while standing.
  2. Roll your shoulders up, then back, and then down in a smooth, circular motion.
  3. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Shoulder flexion (lying down)

Picture of shoulder flexion (lying down)
slide 3 of 6
slide 3 of 6, Shoulder flexion (lying down),
  1. Note: For this exercise, you will need a wand. To make a wand, use a piece of PVC pipe or a broom handle with the broom removed. Make the wand about 30 centimetres wider than your shoulders.
  2. Lie on your back, holding a wand with your hands. Your palms should face down as you hold the wand. Place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  3. Keeping your elbows straight, slowly raise your arms over your head until you feel a stretch in your shoulders, upper back, and chest.
  4. Hold 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Shoulder rotation (lying down)

Picture of shoulder rotation (lying down)
slide 4 of 6
slide 4 of 6, Shoulder rotation (lying down),
  1. Note: To make a wand, use a piece of PVC pipe or a broom handle with the broom removed. Make the wand about 30 centimetres wider than your shoulders.
  2. Lie on your back and hold a wand in both hands with your elbows bent and your palms up.
  3. Keeping your elbows close to your body, move the wand across your body toward the arm that has pain.
  4. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Shoulder internal rotation with towel

Picture of shoulder internal rotation with towel
slide 5 of 6
slide 5 of 6, Shoulder internal rotation with towel,
  1. Roll up a towel lengthwise. Hold the towel above and behind your head with the arm that is not sore.
  2. With your sore arm, reach behind your back and grasp the towel.
  3. Using the arm above your head, pull the towel upward until you feel a stretch on the front and outside of your sore shoulder.
  4. Hold 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Relax and move the towel back down to the starting position.
  6. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Shoulder blade squeeze

Picture of shoulder blade squeeze
slide 6 of 6
slide 6 of 6, Shoulder blade squeeze,
  1. While standing with your arms at your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Do not raise your shoulders up as you are squeezing.
  2. Hold for 6 seconds.
  3. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter R144 in the search box to learn more about "Frozen Shoulder: Exercises".