Massage techniques are great for frozen shoulder as it helps to relieve muscle tension and stiffness which contribute to most of the discomfort and pain that is felt during this time. Massages are also a great relaxation technique that can help you de-stress. Massage therapies and stretching techniques form an integral part of physiotherapy for shoulder pain as they aim to design a holistic pain-relief plan for frozen shoulder syndrome.

Here are some stretches and massage techniques for frozen shoulder syndrome that can go a long way in alleviating your painful symptoms:

  • Pendulum Stretch – A natural way to relieve painful symptoms of frozen shoulder syndrome is to perform the pendulum stretch. This is a great way to reduce the strain on the shoulder muscle. Start by letting the affected arm hang down and move in a circular motion. Once the pain gets more manageable in the future, you can widen the circles or add a lightweight. Holding a table or surface for support can help while you are performing this stretch. 
  • Hand Walk – This is a great stretching exercise for the shoulder muscles. Face a wall, standing about almost an arm’s length away. Starting from your hips, slowly walk your fingers up the wall till you can manage. Make sure to keep your elbows slightly bent and make sure your fingers are doing all the work and not the shoulder as this can aggravate the pain. 
  • Band Stretch – You can use a light resistance band or a towel for this exercise. Hold each end of the towel from the back and maintain a horizontal position. Using the arm that is good pull the affected arm upward giving it a good stretch. You can even go in for a deeper stretch by wrapping the towel over the good shoulder and using the affected arm to pull the band down to your lower back. 
  • Widening Chest Pulls – These chest opener exercises help loosen up the tissues and muscles surrounding the shoulder. Stand with the frozen shoulder facing the wall, and maintain a distance of about a foot away from the wall. Place your hand against the wall at chest level and keep the palm pressed flat firmly against the wall. Now slowly turn away from the wall as much as you can. When you reach that point, hold that position and repeat. 

Also Read: Chronic Shoulder Pain – Causes and Treatment

  • Cross Body Stretch – A cross-body stretch can be performed anywhere and easily. It is recommended that practice this as much as you can. It is relatively an easy stretch to perform. Just take the affected arm and reach across the front of the body. Use your good or unaffected arm to support your affected arm and lift it at the elbow maintaining gentle pressure. 
  • Armpit Stretch – An armpit stretch is a great exercise to stretch the stiff muscles in the shoulder causing pain and discomfort. You can perform this exercise anywhere, just have a hard surface like a shelf or counter ready that reaches your chest.  Place both your arms with palms facing down on the surface. Then bend your knees slowly to stretch the muscles in the armpit. 
  • Reach Above Stretch – During a frozen shoulder syndrome it becomes difficult to raise your arm or reach things or a shelf above you. This stress can help with increasing your range of motion and stretching the targeted muscles. Lift your arms up over your head as much as you can as you take a deep breath in. Then as you let go of the breath, lower your arms back down. Increase the duration of the lift as you become more comfortable with this motion. 

  • Arm Rotation – This stretch exercise is a time and tested method to improve flexibility in the rotator cuff and arm. Hold a light resistance band between your hands, form a 90-degree angle with your elbow, and then hold it for 1o seconds. In this position rotate your arm as much as you can and then release.

Self-Massage for Frozen Shoulder

As we mentioned earlier, massages work wonders for frozen shoulders. But with the pandemic or work commitments, it might not be possible to get professional treatments for your frozen shoulder regularly. Furthermore, frequent massages and treatments can also rake up the bill, making it quite unsustainable for the future. The good news is that you can practice these techniques by yourself. Before doing this, however, make sure you clear this with your doctor.

Massage for frozen shoulder can be performed at home using the following techniques:

  • A foam roller is a great tool using which you can perform a shoulder massage. Just place it underneath the armpit of the frozen arm and lean against it, placing it on a hard surface. Extend the arm out as you gently roll back and forth to help relieve the tension and loosen the muscles. You can also use this tool directly on the shoulder and the neck to help relieve painful symptoms. 
  • Massaging your affected shoulder directly is an effective method for frozen shoulder and you can do the same with your good hand. While you perform this massage, make sure that you use your hands to slowly move your affected arm in a variety of positions to help reclaim the original range of motion. Stretch the muscles in the affected area as well as the surrounding area to help relieve tension.
  • You can also use electronic tools like a TENS massager as they come in different shapes and sizes and help provide relief with their pulsating and vibrating movements. They come in different sizes and different intensities of vibrations and pulsing to fit your needs. They ease tension and help promote blood circulation in the affected area. It also helps increase the range of motion and provides short-term pain relief.

Also Read: Top Exercises for Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Conditioning

Head on to Phyt Health for more information on frozen shoulder massage techniques and therapies. Phyt Health is India’s first digital physiotherapy platform that uses 3D imaging and artificial intelligence to accurately capture incorrect movements and postures and help provide remedial measures to correct the same. On the site, you will find a wealth of exercises for any type of muscle and body pain that you can perform in your day-to-day life curated by expert physiotherapists.
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