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Managing Your Frozen Shoulder in Canada

Nope, it’s not just caused by a little winter chill—frozen shoulder in Canada is a serious condition that can have a massive impact on your mobility and quality of life. It happens when the connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint thickens and tightens. As a consequence, you may start to have difficulty with even the smallest movements, and the area may also be swelling. 

This is a common condition that’s been found to occur in people aged 55 and over, with a slightly greater chance of it developing in females.

Unfortunately, we can’t always pinpoint an exact cause for frozen shoulder. But factors like injury, sedentary living, prolonged immobility, and preexisting medical conditions ( a history of diabetes, thyroid problems, Parkinson's disease or heart disease) may play a big role in its development. 

This usually develops slowly, and in three stages:

  1. Freezing stage (2-9 months): The smallest movements cause pain and you start experiencing limited movement in the shoulder.

  2. Frozen stage (4-12 months): You may feel less pain, but the shoulder seems to have “frozen”” in place, and using it is more difficult. 

  3. Thawing stage (5-24 months): Your shoulder slowly regains its ability to move.

The symptoms of frozen shoulder include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint, particularly when trying to move the arm.

  • Difficulty performing everyday tasks, such as reaching overhead or behind the back.

  • Limited range of motion in the shoulder joint, often with a feeling of tightness or pulling.

  • Some people also report feeling like the pain worsens at night, sometimes disrupting sleep.

Managing Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

While frozen shoulder is a pain in the neck (literally!), there are several strategies you can do alone and with your therapist for relieving the pain and improving mobility:


Working with a physiotherapist can be instrumental in restoring range of motion and strength in the shoulder joint. Therapeutic exercises, stretches, and manual techniques can help break up adhesions and bring back some flexibility.

Heat and Cold Therapy

Applying heat packs or cold packs to the shoulder can help reduce pain and inflammation. Alternate between heat and cold therapy for maximum relief.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications

Over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may help reduce pain and swelling associated with frozen shoulder.

Gentle Stretching Exercises

Performing gentle stretching exercises at home can help maintain flexibility and prevent further stiffness in the shoulder joint. Be sure to follow recommendations and avoid overexertion.

Supportive Devices

Using supportive devices such as slings or braces may help immobilize the shoulder joint and reduce strain during daily activities.

Mind-Body Techniques

Mindfulness meditation, relaxation techniques, and stress management strategies can help alleviate tension and promote overall well-being while coping with frozen shoulder.

Exercises to Alleviate Frozen Shoulder in Canada

Since the symptoms of a frozen shoulder may wax and wane over several months, we strongly stress the importance of doing exercises that target this particular area. Here are a few quick ones you can do at home and with minimal assistance. Remember to start gently and focus on building consistency.

Pendulum Exercise

  1. Stand or sit comfortably, leaning forward slightly and supporting yourself with your non-affected arm on a table or chair.

  2. Let your affected arm hang straight down.

  3. Gently swing your arm in small circles, first clockwise, then counterclockwise.

  4. Start with small circles and gradually increase the size as tolerated.

Perform 10-15 repetitions in each direction, several times a day.

Towel Stretch

  1. Hold a small towel behind your back with one hand.

  2. Use your other hand to grab the bottom end of the towel.

  3. Slowly pull upward with the top hand, gently stretching the shoulder.

  4. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds.

Repeat 2-3 times, several times a day.

Finger Walk Exercise

  1. Stand or sit comfortably with good posture.

  2. Use your fingers to walk up the wall in front of you as high as you can, while keeping your arm straight.

  3. Once you reach a comfortable height, hold the position for a few seconds.

  4. Slowly walk your fingers back down the wall.

Repeat 5-10 times, several times a day.

Cross-Body Stretch

  1. Stand or sit comfortably with good posture.

  2. Use your non-affected arm to gently pull your affected arm across your body, just below shoulder height.

  3. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Focus on creating a gentle stretch in the shoulder.

  4. Repeat on the other side.

Perform 2-3 repetitions on each side, several times a day.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

  1. Sit or stand with good posture.

  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, as if you’re holding something between them.

  3. Hold the squeeze for 5-10 seconds, then relax.

  4. Repeat 10-15 times, several times a day.

These exercises can help improve flexibility, range of motion, and strength in the shoulder joint, which are essential for managing the symptoms of frozen shoulder in Canada. Remember to perform these exercises gently and without forcing any movements that cause pain. 

If you experience persistent or worsening symptoms, consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.

Recovery and Prevention

Recovery from frozen shoulder in Canada can be a gradual process, but with patience and persistence, most individuals experience significant improvement in symptoms over time. It's essential to have a healthcare specialist who can give tailored recommendations and help you adhere to your prescribed treatment plan. 

Additionally, adopting healthy lifestyle habits goes a long way in preventing the recurrence of frozen shoulder and promote long-term shoulder health.

If you're experiencing shoulder pain or stiffness, let’s nip that in the bud. Schedule a consultation with us.


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