Holistic Remedies for a Frozen Shoulder

| Modified on Dec 10, 2023
MSM remedy on Earth Clinic.

You can heal your frozen shoulder with a number of natural remedies like acupuncture, health supplements, and stretching. Frozen shoulder is essentially any form of shoulder pain that limits the range of motion in the shoulder. While doctors may prescribe any number of treatments for the condition, the most effective options are actually natural. If you have tightness or stiffness in your shoulder that’s keeping you from “moving and grooving” the way you want, read on for some natural remedies from our readers.

What Causes a Frozen Shoulder?

Also known as adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder is most directly linked to trigger points in the subscapularis muscle. The condition occurs as the fibers in the capsule or group of connective tissue in the shoulder tightens around the joint and restricts movement. Contributing factors are identified as prolonged immobilization of the shoulder as well as excessive muscle use, such as that associated with swimming.

Natural Remedies for a Frozen Shoulder

As the issue is directly related to the condition of the subscapularis muscle, a number of natural methods can be applied to treat the condition. The major benefit to using natural means of treatment is that these options typically eliminate the condition permanently while other methods are temporary.

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is largely considered the single most effective treatment option of any form. The treatment functions to eliminate the trigger points eradicating the condition immediately and permanently.

2. Nutritional Supplements

A number of supplements can be used to support treatment as well. Alfalfa and turmeric are two of the most often reported nutritional treatments as they relieve inflammation and restore the tissue in the shoulder.

3. Stretching

Stretching is another great way to treat frozen shoulder. You can use a number of different stretching methods, but one of the most effective is lying in bed close enough to the edge to allow the affected arm/shoulder to hang down. This position should be maintained for at least 10 minutes and repeated daily until the shoulder releases.

While frozen shoulder is often extremely painful, you don’t have to go to extreme measures to get relief. Try one of these methods and let us know how it works for you, or if you know of a treatment for frozen shoulder, please don't hesitate to share your story with us!

Continue reading below for many more wonderful tips from our readers on how to cure a frozen shoulder.

Alfalfa, DMSO

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Larry C (Il, Usa) on 10/25/2013

I know this is long winded but since there is very little on the Earth Clinic website I felt it necessary to elaborate.

My problem started while on business in India this past May. As a field service engineer I'm required to haul around a tool case weighing over 50lbs. I believe what caused the original problem was the lifting and tossing sideways that heavy case. I don't remember there being any specific blast of pain, more like a twinge. The next day the pain was there and stiffness not allowing me to raise my arm nor extend it very far. No longer a young man but still in pretty good shape I felt (as usual) it would simple heal itself with time. All the while picking up bits and pieces of the horror stories of torn rotator cuff diagnoses, surgeries and long and painful recoveries. I simply couldn't believe I had torn a muscle.

Well, as time passed from days into months (3) I finally realized it was time to get serious and sought professional medical advice. Since I don't have a regular Dr. I simply found a local one who is part of my health ins. group. She of course wanted to do X-Rays and I immediately questioned that with "what will that show" when I knew the answer was "my bones". Since I knew there was no bone injury I balked and asked what else can I do. She mentioned physical therapy so I chose that in order to get it prescribed for insurance purposes. Before I left the Dr.'s office she was trying to find more ways to raid my health coverages by requesting a cholesterol test. I replied I didn't need one since I don't consume red meat nor consume dairy. She said she wanted to do one anyway, I said thank you and goodbye.

Not knowing exactly where to look I found tidbits here and there on what I could do to avoid the knife at all costs.

I began taking alfalfa supplements which are purported to help repair muscle as well as turmeric, MSM, and DMSO, and started physical therapy. I did a total of eight 45 minute "PT" treatments two times a week which consisted stretching and muscle exercises mostly using resistance bands and about 10 minutes each of direct therapist stretching. Progress was slow and extremely painful and then my insurance co. began to question effectiveness. I didn't realize why until the bill showed that each 45min treatment cost $316 of which I paid $30. It was then I decided to simply purchase my own resistance bands and take my healing into my own hands.

It is now five mos. after the original injury and although I still have considerable pain it is lessening and I have almost complete motion in my shoulder.

This is simply my own journey of recovery but want to aim anyone suffering this malady to what I found on youtube after I was far on my way to wellness. There are very interesting videos of trigger point therapy as well as a Canadian Dr. who uses a chiropractic method who supposedly is returning full motion after one treatment. Also look for stretching exercises to return your motion.

I, as well as others believe there is a ton of misdiagnosis and unnecessary surgery associated with this injury. Do yourself a big favor, research and treat thyself unless you've been in an accident that caused physical trauma to the shoulder.

Best of luck and thank you Earth Clinic.

Replied by Burrolady

Your experience with frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, was very similar to mine. About 10 years ago I had sudden onset of excruciating pain in my shoulder with even the slightest of movements. At the time I was working in an OR and had recently assisted at a few surgical procedures designed to relieve the condition. That absolutely cemented my decision to go the physical therapy route! Ironically, even with surgery the next step is PT. Like you, insurance covers only a short period of treatment and it took fully 6 months for me to regain complete range of motion in my shoulder, though my orthopod had predicted that would be impossible. I took the opportunity of therapy at the PT office to duplicate most of the exercise materials (mostly inexpensive stuff) at home and at work, and for all those months I don't believe I went a day without going through the routine a minimum of three times a day. Yes, it was a pain in the neck (or shoulder), but today I still have full use of my shoulder - pain free. PT often works, but really requires didication, time, and a bit of pain. Real healing almost always requires patient participation and can't be acheived by third person intervention alone. Doctors most often will tell you that frozen shoulder is idiopathic, without any obvious origin, but, I was also using a sideways motion while setting heavy trays of instruments on tables and think that at least contributed to the situation. So glad you are recovering, though still having pain. You may want to consider more frequent PT to keep the capsule that envelops your shoulder stretched. All the Best.

Replied by Larry C
(Il, Usa)


Just wanted to show what looks like a very promising non surgical proceedure. Wish I had found it earlier. You'll need to do some research but I found much on YouTube.

The Oolo-Austin Trigenics Frozen shoulder treatment procedure is an unprecedentedly non-surgical operation which is rapidly becoming accepted as being the world's best and most successful treatment for the condition called "Adhesive Capsulitis" which is otherwise known as "Frozen Shoulder". No surgical dissection instruments are used and no actual cutting or incisions of tissue is performed requiring sutures. Patients undergoing the operation are not put under general anesthetic although local injections of anesthetic are sometimes administered.

The OAT procedure was invented and developed by Dr. Allan Gary Oolo-Austin in 2002. Dr. Oolo Austin, who has been in practice for over 30 years, is an Osteopathic Physician and Doctor of Chiropractic with a doctorate in Manual Medicine. He also holds specialty designations in physical rehabilitation and sports medicine.

Replied by Steve

You may want to check out low level laser therapy or cold laser therapy. Many chiropractors offer it and I have seen quite a few friends with frozen shoulder get relief with this therapy.

Replied by Erica

The Dr, in Toronto referred above charges between $7500 to $10000 US dollars for the procedures.

Replied by Iain

I have a frozen shoulder.

Looking for advice after reading the posts. What is the best Alfalfa, to buy in UK? And the best Turmeric to buy in UK?

Argan Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Irina (New York, NY) on 07/19/2023

Culinary Argan Oil for frozen shoulder and muscle spasms

A few years ago, I suffered from terrible muscle spasms for several months. I started taking 1 teaspoon of culinary argan oil coincidentally during this time and about 2 weeks after taking it, the spasms completely went away. I suggested it to 2 other people I know who also had muscle spasms and after they took argan oil, their symptoms disappeared as well - they both took the recommended 1 tablespoon a day. A few years later, I woke up randomly with a frozen shoulder, and after suffering from it for several months, I thought to take argan oil for it, and again, within 2-3 weeks, my frozen shoulder stiffness and pain dramatically decreased - I'm about 90-95% healed now and I continue to take 1 teaspoon of argan oil a day - make sure it's the culinary form, not the topical form. I've taken both argan oil from Israel and from Morocco and they've both worked, but you have to be careful to use a reputable brand that's organic.

Replied by jane

Hi Irina, I've tried everything for my frozen shoulder and just bought culinary Argan oil. But from your post I'm not sure if I should be ingesting 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon a day? also wondering where the 'suggested' 1 tablespoon comes from - is there instructions somewhere I can read? thanks

Castor Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mark (Novato, California) on 07/19/2018

Castor Oil for Rotator Cuff (infraspinatus) injury throwing Football

I'm 35 years old and about 10 years ago, I was throwing the football (launching 60 yard bombs over and over) at a Halloween party with some buddies, until my shoulder hurt. I kept doing it even after I felt the pain. Foolish mistake. I've had issues with my infraspinatus (one of the four muscles of the Rotator Cuff) since then. I couldn't even reach over to pull the seat belt over myself anymore without it hurting. So I came across these threads and noticed DMSO.

About a week ago I ordered some and it still hadn't come yet, but during this time (for the last week and a half) I've been slathering my right shoulder and rotator cuff with Castor Oil (Hexane Free). It's nothing short of a miracle (at least in regard to pain). For the last couple days, I feel no pain at all, and could probably throw 60 yard bombs again even though I never thought I could even toss a ball let alone throw one without it hurting. I'm still gonna try the DMSO as well. I don't know if the Castor Oil just masks the pain (but doesn't heal the injury), but I'm gonna throw the kitchen sink at it to see if I can completely heal it!

Replied by P. Raghavan
(Virudhunagar, Tn, India)


Glad to hear that castor oil worked for your Rotator Cuff Injury. Castor oil has very high antioxidant level (ORP level) of about - 200 milliVolt (mV). Antioxidants are needed to repair damaged cells in our body. Antioxidants in castor oil can penetrate our skin and reach nearby damaged cells in the body.

A similar treatment can be tried for eye vision problem due to damaged cells in the eye. One can apply castor oil lightly near eyes at night. One can expect gradual improvement in vision.

Best wishes.

P. Raghavan.

Replied by JJ

Interesting about the castor oil. DMSO worked great for me, applied topically and orally. Combined with MgCl oil. Needs to be a pure dmso as the only ingredient or something like 99.8%, preferably in glass bottle (I wouldn't buy 90% of the dmso products out there). Dmso takes anything with it direct into the bloodstream/ through your body, so clean dry hands also. Start with several times per day. I apply the dmso first with hands or organic cotton ball, then spray the mgcl and rub in. Leave 30 mins to dry. There is a youtube video with Dr Jacobs on 60 Minutes about dmso. Can't believe it's not used more, but then pain pills might not be needed. Cheers.

(Minneapolis MN)

Great YouTube on Dr Jacob for DMSO. 60 Minutes was true journalism and great exposing the FDA prohibition of it. If this was done today it would be censored. Thank you.

Chin Up Bar

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Charles (Australia) on 09/21/2014

I tried the Kirsch protocol for frozen shoulder, which involves hanging off a chin up bar for 30 seconds at a time with a minute or two rest for 10 minutes a day.

Within 4 days my frozen shoulder felt tremendously better, I could move my shoulder above my head and behind my body pain free. Ido Portal loves this method, and it works incredibly.

I love it, so simple! Any gym or playground will have chin up bars, otherwise find a tree.

I hope this helps someone with the same poor shoulder flexibility!

Replied by Flora

My mom has frozen shoulder on both shoulders for a long time. I hope this works for her! Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

Replied by Caroline

How did you manage this as my husband cannot lift his arm above his head?

Chinese Stretching Method

5 User Reviews
5 star (5) 

Posted by Jeremy (Portsmouth. Uk) on 10/25/2017

I was in constant pain for at least six months until I read these Chinese stretching method posts below written by fellow sufferers. The positive effects of using these stretches was almost instant. I stopped taking painkillers and expensive visits to the physiotherapist.

If someone was to ask me how to fix a frozen shoulder I would now suggest a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement, acupuncture and these very simple Chinese gravity stretches. Thank you very much earthclinic for ending this miserable period in my life

Replied by Ellie

I tried to understand this Chinese stretching method for frozen shoulder and did it 2 different ways. Both were wrong! LOL Face down and hung arm. Face up and suspended arm overhead. Then I did a wall stretch with arms extended and knees bent. All in all, any kind of stretch helps a tiny bit. Here is a Youtuber demonstrating the correct stretch. I need a breather and will give that a try as well! Good luck everyone!!


Chinese Stretching Method
Posted by Pathompy (Delray Beach) on 11/01/2016

I was experiencing frozen shoulder about 7-8 out of 10 in the pain department for about 2 weeks. Sleeping at night extremely difficult for only for a few hours at night. Last night I hung my frozen shoulder arm over the bed for 10 min with excellent results. Sleep last night was pleasant without constant pain of the shoulder all locked up. I'm thankful for the advice and the significant increased mobility.

Replied by Carla

How do you get your shoulder like that? I can't even move mine.

Replied by Christine Waguthi

I have a frozen right shoulder and I really want to do the '10 min hung the shoulder over the bed ' do you mean that the shoulder should be below my body like trying to touch the floor or how?

Chinese Stretching Method
Posted by Rodilyn (California) on 08/12/2016

Omg THANK YOU. I stumbled across your post and I have INSTANT relief. I did both stretches, hanging off the side of the bed, and the side - and my range of motion improved at least 50% in FIVE MINUTES. I can't tell you how happy I am. Thank you thank you. Every other stretch /exercise I've tried to do was painful and tedious. Wow, how does everyone not know about these simple stretches. Xoxo

Chinese Stretching Method
Posted by Beth (London, England) on 08/02/2016

Frozen shoulder - stretching

I damaged some tendons in one arm doing heavy overhead lopping. I thought rest would be the best cure but the problem developed into frozen shoulder. I realised after 3 months rest was achieving worse than nothing so finally saw the doctor who recommended 400 mg ibuprofen 3 times daily on a full stomach for 2 weeks to reduce the inflammation. Not something I would normally consider.

After a week the pain and presumably the inflammation did reduce and I tried to hang my arm down over the edge of a bed/sofa, as suggested by Teh's post below.

Very painful at first and I could only manage to dip the elbow down, not the whole arm. But persevere. Day 3 and I can now almost hang the arm down, but some support, resting hand on floor, is still required. Nevertheless this is real progress. Inch by inch I'm getting further. The arm can now get above the horizontal in forward motion but sideways and backward motion is still very limited.

It is absolutely not possible yet to hang the head and arm over the head as also suggested here, but it's a good start.

If you want to take alfalfa or another herbal anti inflammatory in addition to ibuprofen, please research possible interactions, especially if you have any bleeding issues.

Chinese Stretching Method
Posted by Teh (Australia) on 01/04/2014

In regards to the frozen shoulder remedies, I came across a Chinese Treatment which I tried and has cured this issue I had with the frozen shoulder.

The method is as follows:

Lie on your back with your head @ arms hanging over the edge of the bed for at least 10 minutes.

The longer you stay in this position, the better. Initially, you will feel pain but the more you do it, this pain will eventually disappear, as mine did after 3 days. I have not had an issue since, but it is still a good idea now @ again to through this stretching routine to maintain this condition.

Cheers, Teh

Replied by Starsa
(Londonderry, Nh)

Was wondering if you could clarify this. Laying in bed as normal but just closer to the edge, with arm hanging down and hear bent so that it falls off the side of the bed, or laying sideways on bed with head hanging down and arm extended up over head?...lol where is a whiteboard when you need it :)

Replied by Teh

Hi Starsa,

Lay with your head at the foot of the bed (feet pointing toward pillows). Your head should be on the edge and arms above your head, hanging over the edge of the bed.

A couple of points to keep in mind, there will be some pain in the area of the shoulder with this issue, but it is a matter of persevering with it.

Another point is when you retract your arms to your sides, you will probably need to assist the affected arm with the opposite arm or have someone to assist you. It certainly does bite!!

Bottom line is: NO PAIN NO GAIN.

Cheers, Teh.

Replied by Mmsg
(Somewhere, Europe)

Teh, one should never go "into" the pain. This exercise is good if taken VERY slowly and patiently and only to the point of feeling a slight stretch, each time or two, that point will get farther.

Replied by Rajesh
(Chennai, India)

hi, could anyone, show us any photo/drawing about the position please?

Replied by Teh

La-Jin Self Healing Slides by Master Xiao Hong Chi (2012) 1 of 2

These slides will give you a better idea of the exercise. Hope you enjoy.

Replied by Erica

I would like to make a general comment. After seeing 6 different doctors, X rays, MRI, Ultrasounds, etc etc etc. If any of these options give you fast results the chances are you could be misdiagnosed. It may be I was, I was within minutes of paying $7500.00USD for a procedure. And then, I went for another opinion. My range of motion does not fit the "text book definition of Frozen Shoulder". My shoulder actually moves. So I am taking some of the advise given here and doing some shock therapy. I will be more than happy to give this great forum an update. I am doing MSN, DMSO, Shock and non traditional physio which involves stretching and some standard physio exercises (which includes the stretching listed here) I am so happy I found this site.

Cold Showers

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Teresa (Bentonville, Ar ) on 09/05/2010

15 days ago I came down with all the symptoms of a frozen shoulder. This is an extremely painful condition in the shoulder that makes it feel sort of like its falling off. Every movement hurts, and no movement hurts. Sleep is all but impossible, because its so hard to find a place to rest your arm that does not hurt. This condition can last for 8 months to 3 years, and may not go away at all. My sister had frozen shoulder several years ago, so I'd seen the condition first hand with her.

After 4 days of frantic searching, I found the cold shower remedy. I started taking them 3-4 times a day when I realized it was helping with the pain. It's been 15 days, I'm down to 2 cold showers a day.

My mobility is getting close to normal. I missed my second shower yesterday, and the nighttime pain was back so at 4 in the morning I'm cold showering again. I will not miss again for a while. I told a nephew who is overweight about it, he has severe hip pain, and he said it's really helping him as well. Just water... Go figure!


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Marilyn (Lakewood) on 04/24/2018

A friend of mine said she cured her shoulder joint problem with colostrum. After a year of pain and trying many remedies, she tried colostrum and in 2 weeks she was better. She fell while on a run and may have done something to the rotator cuff because she couldn't move her arm and mobility was restricted.

Dietary Changes

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Tess (U.k) on 06/05/2017

Frozen shoulder is said to be a metabolic problem, related to Dupytren's Contracture and Parkinson's. I noticed when struck with it for the second time that when I ate sugars or carbohydrates with fats the pain would go off the scale. So I cut sugars and carbs out of my diet all together. The pain reduced considerably and I'm recovering at a much faster rate than before.

As well as having a genetic predisposition to it I think for me it's a stress/stomach bacteria related problem. Stress alters the stomach bacteria. Stress also lowers your magnesium levels as you use up your magnesium to produce adrenaline. This has knock on effects in the stomach as you need magnesium to digest your food properly. Badly digested food encourages bacteria to thrive that causes stomach upsets and causes inflammation in the body and these alter the ph to encourage Candida Alicans to thrive. I have suffered with CA after being given iron tablets that allowed the small amount of CA to form a biofilm around itself that protects it from the stomach acids and other bacteria, allowing it to get out of control and cause massive problems.

I don't think that as a species we were meant to eat lots of grains and sugars yet that is what the western diet mostly consists of these days - count how many aisles of a supermarket DON'T contain sugar and grains!

I also took Pau d'arco to kill off bad bacteria and upped my intake of green tea, kimchi, kefir and anything else that supported my good stomach bacteria. Even I am surprised at how quickly the spin reduced. Still quite stiff but beginning to loosen up. But I know if I go back to eating carbs and sugars it will bite me again!

Replied by Mimi
(Central Ohio)

I agree very much with this post. For me, if I eat too much gluten I get so much pain in the shoulders and upper arms that I can barely sleep. Dr. William Davis who wrote "Wheat Belly" says there is more sugar in two slices of bread than in a candy bar! Who knew! If I stay off gluten I have absolutely no pain!


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Rich (Michigan, US) on 05/23/2014

DMSO cured my brother's frozen shoulder. I don't know if he had calcium buildup in his shoulder or not, but he later did have an artery clogged up with calcium, and had a stent put in for that, so it seems like calcium buildup could have been a factor.

He told me that his shoulder had been bothering him for 3 or 4 years, and that his doctor told him it was frozen, and there wasn't much they could do for it. I offered some DMSO to him, and jokingly told him to go rub some on, and his shoulder would likely be healed, by the time he left.

He rubbed some liquid 99% DMSO that I had bought at Tractor Supply, on his shoulder, morning and evening, for a couple of days, and he told me that his shoulder felt like new, after only a couple of days of the DMSO treatment.

Later, he told me that he had to put some on, for a couple of days, a few weeks after the initial treatment, but he told me that his shoulder felt like it did, when he was 18. He was in his mid-50's, when this happened.

I do believe his doctors had told him that he had some nerve damage, which was causing his frozen shoulder, but whatever the cause, DMSO healed it, and, last I heard, it is still fine, today.

I told this story to a 70-something gentleman, who also had frozen shoulder and also told me that he had nerve damage, so he tried DMSO, and it worked for him, too.

I don't know the details, as to how long it took, but several months later, I talked to someone who talked to the man in question, and he told that person that his shoulder was now fine. So, DMSO might do the trick.

DMSO, Castor Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Linda (Ireland ) on 02/10/2022

Bought dmso for my sore shoulder, I dont know why it was sore but I couldn't lift my arm above my head and it was starting to hurt even without movement, so earth clinic suggested dmso and castor oil.

1 application and after a rash, itch and a little discomfort the pain went from 9 out of 10 to like a 2.....i love herbs and old remedies and would definitely recommend this

Epsom Salt, Ice

1 User Review
3 star (1) 

Posted by Samantha (B'ham, Al) on 11/16/2017

I have pain in my upper arm. If I raise my arm straight out to the side, I hear crunching in the shoulder joint and have pain-not so much in the joint but definitely in the upper arm. If I raise it to the front there is no pain. I have iced it and soaked in epsom salts bath now for several weeks. Is there anything else I can do? At what point do I go to the dr? I can recall no injury to it, but I do tend to outside chores and who really knows? dr google indicates rotator cuff :( but I don't want that to be it.

Replied by Timh
2064 posts

Try a Heat Pad. Also likely need Bone mineral supplementation like:


Boron (plus Ted's Borax remedy here on E.C.)



plus Vit-D & K

SalonPas are worth a try.

Replied by Charity
(Faithville, Us)

Three weeks. I would use castor oil hexane free and get a glove on my hand, put oil 1/2-1 tsp. on there and then wear old long sleeve t shirt and make a rice pack from a tube sock ...put a bit of rice in it, half full or less, heat in microwave and put over the castor oil area to make it penetrate into the muscle . Or use heating pad or hot water bottle.You could also add some activated charcoal 1/2 capsule in the castor oil but put saran over that before the shirt and then add heat...sleep with this overnight .... stains everything so take precautions with the works.

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