9 Yoga Exercises For Frozen Shoulder Pain

Is neck pain and discomfort from your frozen shoulder affecting your daily life? Why not try yoga exercises for relief from frozen shoulder pain? Here are some asanas from yoga guru Suneel Singh.

By Monali Bordoloi  • 9 min read

9 Yoga Exercises For Frozen Shoulder Pain

Rakhsha Mudgale, in her early 40’s, has been suffering from stiffness in her left shoulder over a year now. The stiffness has turned into a niggling pain that is affecting her day-to-day activities. Now, it has reached a point that Raksha finds it very painful to even lift her shoulder.

Like Raksha, many women in their forties and fifties bear the pain of a frozen shoulder. Known as adhesive capsulitis in medical terms, this condition affects the shoulder joint. Just like in Raksha’s case, frozen shoulder starts with little stiffness and discomfort in the shoulder and develops into a full-blown debilitating shoulder pain. The pain generally stays from a year to three years.

If you are someone affected with these symptoms, focused yoga for frozen shoulder pain can help, a lot. There are a number of yoga asanasand exercises that can provide relief from neck and shoulder pain.

What causes a frozen shoulder?

There are tissues surrounding our upper arm, shoulder blade and collarbone. These tissues known as shoulder capsule holds everything together. When frozen shoulder develops, the capsule becomes thick because of scar tissues developing around it. It also becomes tight as synovial fluid, the liquid which lubricates the joints, is less in supply. That makes the movement of the shoulder more painful. Sometimes, people suffering from it also notice that the affected arm become a tiny bit shorter than the other.

What are the symptoms of frozen shoulder pain?

If you feel a dull and achy pain in one of your shoulders, it can be the first stage of frozen shoulder. Pain and stiffness in one shoulder are the main symptoms of it. The pain can spread over your shoulder muscles near your arm. You might also feel a tingling sensation in your upper arm. Over time, the stiffness leads to pain and difficulty moving your shoulder.

The pain in the frozen shoulder is said to be more during the night which can affect your sleep pattern. Over time, you will not be able to move your shoulder within your normal range of movements. It will affect your day-to-day life as you will struggle to do regular chores like wearing clothes, eating, bathing, etc.

Who gets frozen shoulder?

Women are more likely to suffer from frozen shoulder than men. Generally, women in the age group of 40 to 60 develop this condition, however, even younger women are getting it these days. If you are diabetic, your chances of getting frozen shoulder increase manifold. It is said that around 10 to 20 per cent of people with diabetes develop it at some point. Apart from diabetes, people with heart diseases, thyroid disease and Parkinson’s disease are more likely to get the pain.

How yoga asanas can help relieve shoulder pain?

Exercise and yoga are one of the best methods to treat frozen shoulder. ParentCircle talks to Yoga Guru Suneel Singh who suggests 9 effective yoga asanas to treat the condition. 

Suneel Singh says, “Sedentary lifestyle, working and sitting at the desk all day coupled with stress and anxiety result in more cases of the shoulder pain. So, we need movements to help ‘defrost’ these tight shoulders. Resting the affected arm will lead to more complications.”
Yoga Guru adds, “Yoga should be used as a preventive measure, rather than a curative one. Yoga asanas can help strengthen or stretch your muscles in the shoulder, neck and upper back region. It is best to expect results for frozen shoulder pain over a period. Ideally, these asanas should be done under the guidance of a trained Yoga teacher.

Tightness in the upper chest causes the shoulders to hunch and weakens these muscles. Yoga can help prevent the slumping of the spine. It is good for better posture too.

Yoga exercises for frozen shoulder pain

Here are 9 effective yoga asanas for frozen shoulder pain.

9 Yoga Exercises For Frozen Shoulder Pain

1. Shavasana (Corpse Pose): Lie down on the floor on your back. Keep the legs straight on the floor, with feet apart by about your shoulder width. Keep the arms straight by your sides with hands placed about six inches away from the body. The head and spine should be in a straight line. Slowly, close your eyes. Make the whole body lose and stop all physical movement, mentally watch your breathing and allow it to become rhythmic and relaxed.

2. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation): If you are already having neck pain, and shoulder pain, practice your Surya Namaskar very carefully. If you perform it regularly and systematically, you will have a strong and flexible spine. It is a good protection against neck pain, shoulder pain and cervical spondylosis.

9 Yoga Exercises For Frozen Shoulder Pain

3. Matsyasana (Fish Pose): Matsyasana provides strength and flexibility to the entire vertebral column. It is extremely beneficial for shoulder pains and helps in overcoming stress and strain caused due to prolong sitting before the computer.

9 Yoga Exercises For Frozen Shoulder Pain

4. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): Our spine carries all nerve impulses from the brain to the body. Bhujangasana removes the stiffness of the neck and shoulder and protects the Spine from damage.

5. Makarasana (Crocodile Pose): Makarasana is good for the spine. It helps the spine to resume its normal shape and releases compression of the spinal nerves. It is effective in treating cervical spondylosis and pain in neck and shoulders.

6. Bal-Shayanasana (Infant’s Pose): Balshayanasana is extremely beneficial for those patients who suffer from lower back pain or cervical spondylitis because of stress, tension and excessive workload.

9 Yoga Exercises For Frozen Shoulder Pain

7. Naukasana (Boat Pose): Ardha naukasana is effective for the patients with back problems. Besides, it is helpful in managing chronic indigestion and constipation. Even patients with diabetes find it quite beneficial.

9 Yoga Exercises For Frozen Shoulder Pain

8. Salbhaasana (Locust Pose): This gentle back extension yoga is highly beneficial in treating cervical pain, lumbago and sciatica. Performing this asana regularly can give you a great relief from cervical spondylosis and neck pain.

9. Shanshank-Bhujangasana (Striking Cobra Pose): Shanshank-Bhujangasana improves flexibility and strength of the spine so that it can counter all the adverse effects of sedentary life. The combination of two asanas, Shanshank and Bhujangasana together are known as Shanshank-Bhujangasana. It is beneficial in treating backache and cervical pain.

About the expert:

Reviewed by Yoga Guru Suneel Singh on 25 May 2019

Yoga Guru Suneel Singh has done Yoga teacher training course from Mantalai (J&K) and was awarded a gold medal for the same. Follow him on his website - yogagurusuneelsingh.com

About the author:

Written by Monali Bordoloi on 23 May 2019; updated on 8 May 2020

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