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Arm Raises

Hand Push into Wall

Hand Behind Back

Head Wash


Over-Head Raises

Over-Head Cross

Ideal Sleeping Position


In the days and weeks following their MCD procedure, patients must perform the following range of motion exercises and strengthening exercises to help their shoulder mobility recover. 

Designed by professionals with extensive experience in the treatment of frozen shoulder syndrome, the following strengthening and stretching exercises have been shown to help shoulder muscles recover after the MCD procedure and help promote long-term shoulder health. 

These simple yet effective exercises can be performed at home and do not require specialized equipment. All that is needed is a bit of commitment on the part of the patient, a wall and a small ball (such as a tennis or lacrosse ball), to speed up their recovery.

Prior to performing these frozen shoulder exercises, patients are reminded to consult with our physical therapy specialists for advice on how to properly perform each movement and stretch.

Recommended Frequency of Adhesive Capsulitis Exercises

Note: Mobility restrictions in the frozen shoulder joint of the affected arm caused by adhesive capsulitis present challenges for physical therapy activities, but by strengthening and stretching the formerly frozen shoulder, patients are investing in their long-term shoulder health. Some discomfort in the frozen shoulder is normal and should be anticipated.

In the first four weeks following the MCD treatment, frozen shoulder patients should frequently stretch and strengthen the shoulder of the affected arm to promote the recovery of their shoulder’s range of motion and strength. .

Beginning with multiple times a day before gradually reducing in volume over the course of four weeks, this intensive shoulder motion physical therapy program is essential to ending frozen shoulder symptoms, restoring range of motion, and finding lasting pain relief..

First Week

The first week will be difficult, and to properly complete this procedure will require discipline. Doing these exercises every hour on the first day (and every 2 hours on the second day) will no doubt affect the quality of your sleep.

Following Weeks


Arm Raises

Begin by standing in the corner of a room, facing the wall and raising the affected arm as high as possible. Place the raised hand on the wall beside you and slowly “walk” your hand up the wall with your fingers. 

Once you fully extend the affected arm upward over your head as much as your active range of motion will permit, flatten your palm and keep the hand firmly against the wall. Hold this stretch for six seconds before lowering. If needed, use the opposite arm to help bring the affected arm slowly back down to the starting position. Repeat two to three times.

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Hand Push into Wall

Begin by standing with your back against a wall and raising the elbow of your affected arm to shoulder height. With the assistance of your other arm, use gentle pressure to push the back of your hand into the wall behind you. 

With the help of your unaffected arm, keep this hand as close to the wall as possible and hold the stretch for six seconds. Relax and slowly bring the arm back down to your side. Repeat two to three times.

Hand Behind Back

Bring the affected hand behind your back, with the palm pointed behind you. Using your other hand to help pull, push the hand of the affected arm down and away from the shoulder. At the end of your range of motion in this cross body stretch, hold for the stretch for six seconds before slowly returning to your start point. Repeat two to three times.

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Head Wash

After lifting your affected hand over your head, move the hand in a continuous circular motion as you reach over to the opposite ear. Continue moving your hand in a circular motion for six seconds before relaxing and bringing the arm back to your side. Repeat two to three times.

Push-Up to Child's Pose

**Note: To make this exercise easier, use a plank position that starts from the knees, rather than the feet. **

Starting from a plank position (hands beneath the shoulders, legs together, with the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles in a straight line), inhale as you slowly bend your elbows. 

Lower your body until the elbow joint is at a 90 degree angle. Exhale as you push into the ground to raise your body. While keeping the elbows slightly bent, move from the plank position into the child’s pose position (knees and feet on the floor, with the weight of the hips pushing back towards the heels, while the arms remain extended in front of your body). After several deep breaths, return to the plank position. Repeat two to three times.

Remember to move through the positions in this exercise at your own pace. Completing each repetition may take 15 to 20 seconds or more, depending on your overall health. 

Regardless of your condition, it’s important to take your time to get through each phase of the movement, using your own good judgement, in conjunction with any medical advice you have received, to gradually increase your range of motion and intensity.

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Overhead Raises

Bring your hands in front of your hips and interlock your fingers, with the palms facing in. Extend both arms and raise them together overhead. Once arms are overhead, straighten the elbows as much as possible, while trying to bring the arms in line, or slightly behind, the ears. Hold the overhead stretch for 6 seconds before relaxing and slowly lowering the arms. Repeat two to three times.

Overhead Cross

Bring your hands in front of your hips and cross your arms, with the affected arm on top. Interlock your fingers and raise both arms overhead.  Once arms are overhead, try to straighten the elbows and bring the arms in line, or slightly behind, the ears. Slowly lower the arms after holding the stretch for roughly six seconds, repeat two to three times. 

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sleeping position

Ideal Sleeping Position

Less an exercise than a guideline, the ideal sleeping position to reduce shoulder pain and help recover from frozen shoulder symptoms involves keeping the arm overhead as much as possible. Many people find that lying face down with the arm extended is the most conducive body position.

Note: The aforementioned recommendations are intended solely for educational purposes. Consult your doctor for personalized, professional medical advice about your medical condition and specific directions about your course of treatment. 


As any physical therapist will tell you, sticking to a specialized course of therapy is key to ensuring the success of any treatment. Unlike some other shoulder problems (such as with a rotator-cuff related impingement that can be treated fairly quickly with anti-inflammatory medication), all medical advice suggests that for frozen shoulder, exercises and stretches are critically important to increase mobility and return the shoulder joint to a healthy condition.

Getting your body accustomed to new kinds of movement after months of stiff, frozen shoulders will pose a challenge for your body, but committing to your exercises and stretches following your treatment is the best thing you can do to invest in your long-term health.

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