Frozen Shoulder Articles
Rehabilitating Frozen Shoulder: Essential Exercises for Recovery

Rehabilitating Frozen Shoulder: Essential Exercises for Recovery

Frozen Shoulder Body parts: Shoulder,

Simple activities become difficult when done with a stiff shoulder. When left untreated, the tightness and pain it puts in the shoulder joint can be unbearable and even lead to serious disability. Fortunately, there are exercises to help relieve frozen shoulder pain, facilitating restoration of the shoulder's range of motion.

Also known as adhesive capsulitis, a frozen shoulder occurs when the flexible capsule containing synovial fluid protecting the glenohumeral joint contracts and stiffens. Scar tissue (adhesions) may also form between the joint capsule and the head of the humerus. It is a prevalent condition among 2% to 5% of the general Singaporean population, often progressing in three stages:

  • Freezing (painful; increased difficulty when moving)
  • Frozen (adhesive; pain improves with limited movement)
  • Thawing phase (improved motion and relief)


With the right treatment and frozen shoulder exercises, you can rehabilitate your frozen shoulder and regain your mobility. In this article, we'll discuss 10 essential exercises for recovering from a frozen shoulder.

10 Frozen Shoulder Exercises

Before delving into stretching and strengthening exercises, it's essential to address the root cause of a frozen shoulder. Treating frozen shoulder directly can be the most efficient way to restore health to the affected area.

One commonly sought treatment in Singapore is physical therapy aimed at regaining shoulder flexibility and reducing discomfort. Frozen shoulder physiotherapy involves personalized exercises and techniques tailored to the individual's needs. Through guided sessions with a trained therapist, you can gradually increase your range of motion and build strength in the shoulder muscles.

This personalized approach to frozen shoulder treatment ensures that exercises are performed correctly and safely, allowing you to feel more comfort and confidence in performing them independently.

For the leading shoulder physical therapy provider in Singapore, Phoenix Rehab serves as a hub of shoulder pain experts. They provide a specialized frozen shoulder physiotherapy program and other treatments aimed at realizing a pain-free life.

One of their services included making sure you know the right strengthening and stretching exercises to treat frozen shoulders and promote a healthy arm.

Below are the top 10 exercises for frozen shoulders. When doing these exercises, stretch until you feel tension, not pain.

Pendulum Stretch

This exercise utilizes gentle, pendulum-like motions to loosen the muscles and improve flexibility in the shoulder joints. It promotes circulation and reduces stiffness in the injured arm.

To do this, start by standing next to a table or countertop, with your good arm resting on it. Let your affected arm hang straight down, then slowly swing it in a small circle, first forward, then outward rotation.

As your symptoms get better, expand the range of your swing slowly without pushing too hard. When you're ready for more, boost the stretch by gripping a light weight (three to five pounds) in your swinging arm.

Towel Stretch

The towel is meant to assist in stretching the shoulder muscles and increasing the range of motion. Hold it with both hands, one end in each hand. Raise your arms overhead, then lower them behind your back, keeping the towel taut. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly return to the starting position. This stretch helps to increase the flexibility of the shoulder joint. You can advance this exercise by draping the towel over your good opposite shoulder.

Finger Walk

Imagine walking the fingers up the wall, gradually increasing the shoulder's range of motion. This is how you perform this exercise.

Stand with your affected arm at your side and your elbow slightly bent. Extend your affected arm and touch the wall with your fingertips at waist level, then slowly walk them up, as if you're trying to touch the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly walk your fingers back down the wall. Use your good arm as support when needed.

Cross-Body Stretch

A cross-body exercise involves reaching across the body to stretch the shoulder muscles gently, targeting different muscle groups.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your affected arm across your chest, with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle. Use your uninjured arm to softly draw your affected arm across your body, maintaining the position briefly before release. This exercise helps to improve the mobility of the rotator cuff.

Armpit Stretch

With a focus on stretching the muscles around the armpit area, this helps relieve the tightness and loosen up the soft tissues around the shoulder joint.

To perform this, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your affected arm raised to shoulder level. Use your other arm to gently pull your affected arm across your chest, holding for a few seconds before releasing.

Football Supporter Shoulder Exercise

This involves lying on the back and mimicking the motion of putting on a football supporter, which helps to stretch and strengthen the shoulder muscles.

Lie on your back with a small pillow or cushion under your affected shoulder. Bend your affected elbow and rest it on the pillow. Use your unaffected arm to gently push your affected arm down, then slowly raise it back up.

Rock-the-Baby Shoulder Exercise

Meanwhile, this exercise mimics the motion of rocking a baby, gently moving the arm in a circular motion to stretch the shoulder muscles.

Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your affected arm at your side, with your elbow bent slightly. Gently rock your affected arm forward and backward, as if you're trying to "rock a baby" with your arm. This exercise helps to improve the flexibility of the shoulder joint.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

This exercise helps rehabilitate a frozen shoulder by promoting proper shoulder alignment and strengthening the muscles surrounding the shoulder blades.

To perform this correctly, sit or stand with your arms relaxed at your sides. Then, gently squeeze your shoulder blades together by pulling them towards each other without shrugging. Hold this position for a few seconds while keeping your chest lifted. Repeat the movement for several repetitions, gradually increasing the intensity as needed.

Towel Shoulder Rotation

Shoulder internal rotation with a towel involves using a rolled-up towel lengthwise to stretch the muscles of the sore shoulder. Start by holding the towel above and behind your head with the unaffected arm. Then, reach behind your back with the sore arm and grasp the towel.

Using the unaffected arm, gently pull the towel upward until you feel a stretch in the front and outside of the sore shoulder. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, then relax and return to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 2 to 4 times for optimal benefit.

Pec Stretch

This involves movement stretching the pectoral muscles, which can help reduce tightness and improve mobility in the shoulder joints.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your affected arm at the elbow across your chest, with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle. Gently pull your injured arm across your body, holding for a few seconds before letting go. This stretch helps to loosen up the chest muscles, which can contribute to shoulder pain.

If symptoms of frozen shoulder pain persist to the point of disrupting your daily activities, consult a physical therapist or healthcare provider to know the next steps in your recovery journey.

Phoenix Rehab: Where you regain the life you love

Singapore's most experienced and trustworthy physio and hand therapy specialists who are dedicated experts in diagnosing and treating pain and injuries in bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints.

65 8800 1830 |
10 Sinaran Drive, Novena Medical Centre #10-09, Singapore 307506
88924121 |
265 Serangoon Central Drive #04-269 Singapore 550265
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