Stiff Shoulder Exercises

In the following videos our physiotherapist Orla Magorrian demonstrates some basic shoulder stretches.  We use these stretches for various situations when a shoulder might be stiff, but in particular for frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). 


If you have frozen shoulder, it is common for the inflamed capsule of the shoulder to become irritated when it is pushed too aggressively, especially if someone else is trying to stretch it out for you. We have found that it is more beneficial to gently stretch the shoulder yourself at home. Try to do these stretches two or three times per day, doing each one for a set of six repetitions and holding the stretch each time for a good 20 seconds. You should not push into severe pain or you may aggravate the inflamed shoulder, but do stretch the shoulder to your end range. Up to 5/10 pain is ok, but do not go beyond that. 


You may also be given these stretches to do if your shoulder is stiff after surgery. In that case, we will usually have your physiotherapist integrate the stretches into your physiotherapy programme and we may advise pushing the range of motion more so than in other situations, so that you avoid any long term stiffness post surgery.


1.  Standing Forward Bow for Elevation


2. External Rotation Wall Stretch


3. Internal Rotation Towel Stretch


4. Internal Rotation Sleeper Stretch