Physical Stress
June 20, 2023

The Best Frozen Shoulder Exercises with Chiropractic Care

A Woman in Black Tank Top Touching Her Shoulder

Are you feeling the pain and discomfort of a frozen shoulder? Chiropractic care can provide a non-invasive and effective way to relieve you of frozen shoulder pain. Through a combination of manual adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and exercise recommendations, chiropractic care can help improve the range of motion and reduce pain associated with a frozen shoulder. 

This blog post discusses the stages of a frozen shoulder, the differences between a frozen shoulder and shoulder impingement, and how chiropractic care can help you get relief.

What is a Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder (also called adhesive capsulitis) is pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the shoulder. It typically develops gradually and can cause the shoulder to become stiff, making it difficult to move the arm and perform everyday activities. The exact cause of a frozen shoulder is unknown, but it is thought to occur due to inflammation in the shoulder joint capsule. 

The 3 Stages of a Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder stages come on over time. The consensus in the research community is that there are 3 stages but some practitioners include a 4th “pre-freeze” stage to describe the initial onset of the pain and restriction.

1. Freezing Stage - Movement is painful and range of motion decreases over the course of 2 to 9 months

2. Frozen Stage - Pain may not be as intense but movement is further limited. This can last 4 to 12 months.

3. Thawing Stage - Range of motion increases and can take 5 to 24 months.

Frozen Shoulder vs Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement is when a ligament in the shoulder catches and snaps over the bone with movement. There is generally not the same loss of range of motion with an impingement as with a frozen shoulder. The pain is generally in the top and side of the shoulder with an impingement.

How Does a Chiropractor Relieve Pain From a Frozen Shoulder?

With Manual Adjustments

The nerves that control the muscles of the shoulder come from the neck. Chiropractors check the area around those nerves for interference ( a vertebral subluxation). The cause of a frozen shoulder can stem from an issue in the neck. If the head is in a forward head posture or if the neck is tight, it can stress the nervous system, resulting in poor shoulder function. Adjusting the neck can help the body heal.

With Soft Tissue Therapy

‍If the soft tissues around the shoulder have been tight for a long time, inflammation and scar tissue may have built up. Massage and myofascial release can also help relax the soft tissues around the neck and shoulder.

Effective Exercise Recommendations for Frozen Shoulder 

The most common frozen shoulder exercise is called circumduction:

  • Gently lean the body forward with the unaffected side’s hand on a table for support
  • Allow the affected arm to dangle toward the ground
  • Slowly start to move the hand in a circle, bringing the motion gently into the shoulder joint
  • Start making the circle larger over time
  • Switch direct to get motion evenly clockwise and counterclockwise

Get Relief From Frozen Shoulder With Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is a safe and effective way to relieve the pain and discomfort of a frozen shoulder. Through manual adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and exercise recommendations, chiropractic care can help improve the range of motion, reduce pain, and even prevent or reverse certain structural changes that may cause a frozen shoulder. If you are dealing with a frozen shoulder, consider consulting a chiropractor to discuss the best treatment options.


1. Borg-Stein, J. (2019). Frozen Shoulder. [online] WebMD. Available at: [Accessed 23 Jan. 2021].

2. O’Neill, T. (2021). What Is Frozen Shoulder?. [online] Mayo Clinic. Available at: [Accessed 23 Jan. 2021].

3. Lo, K. and Sim, J. (2020). Frozen Shoulder Exercises. [online] WebMD. Available at: [Accessed 23 Jan. 2021].

4. Smith, H. (2020). Frozen Shoulder Treatment: How Can Chiropractic Help?. [online] Spine-health. Available at:

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