How to release a frozen shoulder?

Are you suffering from a frozen shoulder? Consult Dr. Rajesh Thunuguntla, one of the best orthopedic doctor in Telangana. He provides effective frozen shoulder treatment in Telangana. Contact us at 098665 97577

Rajesh Thunuguntla Created on 2nd Feb, 22

When you have a frozen shoulder, simple tasks like tying a bra or removing a book from an overhead shelf become impossible. But what exactly is a frozen shoulder?



Frozen shoulder, medically termed adhesive capsulitis, is a common shoulder problem. It causes discomfort, stiffness, and a normal range of motion loss. The resulting disabilities can be severe, and if the condition is left untreated, it will only worsen with time. Adults between the ages of 40 and 60 are the most commonly impacted, with women being affected more frequently than men.


If you or a loved one suffers from a frozen shoulder, make an appointment with Dr. Rajesh Thunuguntla right away. He is a highly qualified and experienced orthopedic doctor in Telangana, Hyderabad.

Dr. Rajesh Thunuguntla is well-known for his advanced and effective frozen shoulder treatment in Telangana. Moreover, patients with cartilage injuriesmeniscal tearspatellar dislocationsACL injuries, and other related conditions can benefit from his result-oriented and specialized orthopedic treatment.


The exact reason for a frozen shoulder is unknown, but it's most likely due to an inflammatory response. Because the shoulder has been immobilized for a long time due to injury, surgery, or illness, freezing can occur. Fortunately, the shoulder can typically be unfrozen, although it takes time and a lot of self-help to fully recover. The shoulder's range of motion is greater and more diversified than any other body part. 

It is primarily supported by the glenohumeral joint, which connects the top of the humerus (upper arm bone) to the glenoid cavity, a scooped-out section of the scapula (shoulder blade).

Now, let's know,

What causes a frozen shoulder?

The process usually starts with a soft tissue injury (such as a fracture) or inflammation, commonly caused by overuse injuries like bursitis or rotator cuff tendonitis. Inflammation makes mobility worse and reduces the range of motion in the shoulder.


When the shoulder is immobilized in this fashion, the joint capsule — the connective tissue that surrounds the glenohumeral joint — tightens and compresses, losing its ability to stretch. Attempting to prevent the pain induced by shoulder movement causes more capsule contraction. Bands of scar tissue (adhesions) occur between the joint capsule and the head of the humerus in advanced cases. The humerus has less room to move, and the joint's lubricating synovial fluid may be lost.

The onset of a frozen shoulder might take anywhere from two to nine months. Although the shoulder pain may gradually heal, stiffness and limited range of motion persist.


Who suffers from a frozen shoulder?

  • When you don't get exercise therapy after tendinitis or an injury, or when you wear a sling for more than a few days without stretching, you are more likely to get a frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder affects about 10% of individuals with rotator cuff problems.
  • Commonly seen in patients having Diabetes and Hypothyroidism
  • A frozen shoulder can also occur due to forced immobility caused by a stroke, cardiac problem, or surgery.
  • Thyroid diseases and Parkinson's disease are two more factors that increase the likelihood of a frozen shoulder.

Treatment for Frozen Shoulder

If you suspect you have or are developing a frozen shoulder, schedule a physical examination with Dr. Rajesh Thunuguntla, a seasoned orthopedic doctor in Telangana, Hyderabad. He may suggest an X-ray to ensure there isn't anything else wrong, including arthritic changes or a dislocation. The doctor will ask you to do different arm movements to check your shoulder's range of motion, such as reaching across your chest to touch the opposite shoulder or down your back to touch the other shoulder blade (the Apley scratch test). 


Also, Dr. Thunuguntla may recommend an MRI scan to rule out a rotator cuff tear. Frozen shoulder treatment aims to alleviate pain and restore range of motion to the shoulder. The doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. The pain can also be relieved by applying an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables to the shoulder for 10 to 15 minutes several times a day. The doctor may administer corticosteroid into the soft tissues or the shoulder joint. 

On the other hand, physiotherapy is required, focusing on joint capsule stretching and strengthening exercises. A physiotherapist can teach you the proper exercises and show you how far you can push yourself. You can practice most of your activities on your own at home once you have learned your restrictions.

In  patients who are not responding with conservative management, require Arthroscopic capsular release procedure and shoulder exercises should be continued after surgery


You should be able to resume your average level of activity if you stick to your frozen shoulder workout routine. However, complete healing from a frozen shoulder can take a few months. Revisit your doctor if your condition does not improve steadily or reach a plateau. Recalcitrant instances only require surgery in a small percentage of cases.


Now, let's learn,

Simple Stretching Exercises for Frozen Shoulder

Before commencing your activities, always warm up your shoulder. The easiest approach is to take a 10- to 15-minute warm shower or bath. A moist heating pad or a damp cloth heated in the microwave may also work, but it may not be effective.

Stretch to the point of tension but not discomfort when executing the following exercises.


1. Pendulum stretch 

First, do this exercise. Allow your shoulders to relax. Allow your affected arm to dangle down while you stand and bend over slightly.

Make a little circle with your arm, about a foot in diameter. Once a day, make ten revolutions in each direction.

Increase the diameter of your swing as your symptoms improve, but never force it. Increasing the stretch by holding a lightweight (three to five pounds) in your swinging arm when you are ready.

2. Towel stretch 

With both hands behind your back, grab a three-foot-long towel and hold it horizontally. Pull the injured arm upward with your healthy arm to stretch it.

Towel stretch

With the towel draped over your good shoulder, you can do an advanced variation of this exercise. With the affected arm, grab the bottom of the towel and pull it toward the lower back with the unaffected arm. Do these ten to twenty times every day.

3. Finger walk 

Face a wall at a distance of three-quarters of an arm's length. With the fingertips of the affected arm, reach out and touch the wall at waist level.

 Finger walk

Slowly walk your fingers up the wall, spider-like, until you have elevated your arm to shoulder level or as far as you comfortably can, with your elbow slightly bent.

Lower the arm slowly (with the assistance of the good arm if required) and repeat. Your fingers, not your shoulder muscles, should be performing the heavy lifting. This exercise should be done 10 to 20 times per day.

4. Cross-body reach 

Cross-body reach

You can either sit or stand. Lift your affected arm at the elbow and bring it up and across your body with your good arm, using slight pressure to extend the shoulder. For 15 to 20 seconds, hold the stretch. Do these ten to twenty times a day.

5. Stretch your armpits 

Stretch your armpits


Lift the injured arm onto a shelf about breast-high with your good arm. Bend your knees gently to open up the armpit. Deepen your knee, bend slightly, stretch your armpit softly, and then straighten your leg. Stretch a bit deeper with each knee bend, but don't overdo it. Do these ten to twenty times every day.


6. Start to strengthen

You can add rotator cuff–strengthening activities after your range of motion improves. Before you begin strengthening activities, make sure you warm up your shoulder and do your stretching exercises.


7. Outward rotation

Hold a rubber workout band between your hands with your elbows at a 90-degree angle and close to your sides. Rotate the bottom half of the affected arm outward two or three inches for five seconds. Once a day, repeat 10 to 15 times.


Outward rotation

8. Inward rotation 

Hook one end of a rubber exercise band around the doorknob as you stand next to a closed door.

Grasp the other end with the injured arm's hand, keeping the elbow at a 90-degree angle. Pull the band two or three inches closer to your body and hold for five seconds. Once a day, repeat 10 to 15 times.

Note, do not perform these exercises without your doctor's permission; consult before proceeding.

If physiotherapy is started soon after any shoulder injury in which shoulder movement is uncomfortable or difficult, the risk of a frozen shoulder can be avoided or at least reduced. Dr. Rajesh Thunuguntla, a proficient orthopedic surgeon in Telangana, might design an exercise regimen tailored to your unique needs.


Relevant Questions

Q. I have been feeling very stiff lately due to lack of movement & exercise, what should i do?

Joints are commonly seen in inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis ,reactive arthritis,SLE.Typically Stiffness is seen in these cases after taking rest. These conditions have to be evaluated and treated properly.Please check with an orthopaedician near to you.

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Q. Is shoulder pain treatable with home remedies? at what point should one consider showing themselves to the doctors?

There is a variety of shoulder problems that could cause shoulder pain. Shoulder pain for a shorter duration can wait for spontaneous resolution of pain. Shoulder pain which is of longer duration can't be waited and should be seen by the specialist doctor at the earliest for evaluation and treatment.

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Total knee replacement is usually indicated in stage 4 arthritis where the patient is not able to do her daily activities by herself. Usually, the progression of knee arthritis increases in patients who are doing squatting position, sitting crossed leg position, climbing stairs frequently

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Q. What kind of diagnostic tests do you have available for someone who's facing immense pain in his shoulders?

There are various causes of shoulder pain. A good clinical examination is very much required before going for  radiological evaluation

Fractures can be diagnosed with a simple X-ray

Soft tissue injuries like rotator cuff tear, biceps tendon injury, labral tears can be diagnosed with an MRI scan

Conditions like calcific tendinopathy of  shoulder can be diagnosed with ultrasound

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Knee ACL injuries can be diagnosed by clinical examination and will be confirmed by MRI scan

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