Do you feel shoulder pain when sleeping? Here, you will get all the possible causes and solutions of different types of shoulder pain and ache, how to sleep comfortably with shoulder pain, shoulder pain exercises, relieve rotator cuff pain, upper arm pain, sleeping position for shoulder impingement, shoulder blade pain, deltoid muscle pain, shoulder hurts after sleeping, shoulder pain at night, sleeping on side shoulder pain, etc.

If you are like most people, you must have been bothered by pain in your shoulders at least once as you are trying to fall asleep or during the sleeping process.

If you are wondering what causes it, you came to the right place because, in this article, I will tell you about possible reasons causing the pain in your shoulders and how to overcome this problem.

Why Do You Feel Pain In Shoulders When Sleeping? 4 Possible Causes

1. Sleeping Position and Your Bed

Certain sleeping positions like sleeping on your side may put additional stress on your shoulders because while sleeping on your side, one of your shoulders has to bear a lot of weight of your own torso. Although, side sleeping is the most healthy and beneficial sleeping position; but if you sleep on a bad mattress or too firm mattress, this sleep position creates extra pressure on your back, neck, spine, head, and shoulder. By using a good supportive mattress and correct pillow, this problem can be solved. You can check the list of top-rated affordable mattresses that are comfortable and reduces pressure points. Also, check the list of 10 best memory foam mattresses that do not create shoulder pain.

2. Bursitis

Bursitis is caused by the inflammation of a bursa, a fluid-filled pad that cushions joints. After bursitis develops in your shoulder, you experience a vicious cycle of pain and swelling, followed by more pain and swelling which keeps going until you treat the condition.

This condition can be a common cause of shoulder pain while sleeping since laying on your side may compress the bursa, which increases the level of pain you would normally feel with bursitis.

3. Tendonitis

This inflammation occurs when the tendons which attach muscle to bone get irritated and inflamed, followed by stiffness and pain in the area. Pain may worsen at night which makes it difficult to stay asleep or to go to sleep at night.

This can be because of the gravity effect since laying down causes your muscles and tendons in your shoulder to settle in a slightly different position, which then decreases blood flow to an area, aggravating the pain of tendon issues such as tendonitis.

4. Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff consists of the tendons as well as muscles that connect your upper arm to your shoulder blade. The rotator cuff stabilizes your shoulder, enabling smooth movement of your joint. The damage to a rotator cuff of your shoulder may result from lifting an extremely heavy object, fall, or a car accident.

It can cause swelling as well as pain in your shoulder which often worsens at night since your position in bed, especially when you sleep on your side, may further inflate and irritate your damaged tendons and muscles of the rotator cuff.

6 Solutions To Shoulder Pain From Sleeping On Side

If you experience shoulder pain whenever you sleep on your side, you can do a few things to make your sleeping more comfortably.

#Solution 1: One of these is avoiding sleeping on the side of the affected shoulder. Sleep on either your back, stomach, or even turn on the other side to ease the pressure on the affected shoulder.

#Solution 2: You can also use a pillow, not in a conventional way, but to prevent yourself from rolling onto the painful shoulder.

#Solution 3: Keeping regularly active can promote the healing of your painful shoulder. Proper blood circulation ensures the affected shoulder relaxes and heals much faster. You can also exercise the affected shoulder further by gently stretching it.

#Solution 4: Keeping off activities that cause strain to an aching shoulder is also pertinent to fast healing. You should also use painkillers to arrest the pain as you sleep. Over the counter pain, relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are good just before sleeping.

#Solution 5: To avoid the pains, you should also keep a regular sleep pattern. Stay off your screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime to allow your body to secret enough serotonin. This makes your sleep calmer and reduces restlessness and movements as you sleep.

#Solution 6: Avoid consuming stimulants such as coffee, tobacco, or alcohol. The more alert you are in bed, the more the movements and restlessness. This can further worsen your shoulder pain.

Additional Resources About Shoulder Pain

How To Sleep On Your Side Without Hurting Your Shoulder?

Sometimes you just have to sleep on your side, but you surely do not want to hurt your shoulder. You should, however, know that medical experts advise against sleeping on the left side. Sleeping on the left is associated with acid reflux due to the natural orientation of the human stomach.

An optimal mattress can help you sleep better. The best type is memory foam. The memory foam relieves pressure off your shoulder and hip regions, reducing the chances of hurting your shoulder.

A memory foam mattress does not guarantee your shoulder won’t hurt. Try reinforcing it with a good pillow. The pillow should support the head sufficiently without lifting it too much. You could also try a memory foam pillow.

Why Does Shoulder Pain Worse When Lying Down?

It is common for shoulder pain to worsen at night. There are three conditions attributed to this.

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa. If your shoulder develops this inflammation, swelling and pain become common until it is treated. When you lay on your side, the bursa on your shoulder can become compressed, increasing the pain.

Tendonitis, an inflammation caused by repetitive injury, can also cause pain when lying down. Tendonitis on the shoulder causes inflammation of the tendons that attach muscles to the bones. When you sleep, gravity causes the tendons to settle in a different position. This reduces the blood flow to the shoulder, ultimately increasing the pain.

Finally, a rotator cuff injury that occurs at the shoulder may become more painful when you sleep on that side. This is because putting more pressure on the inflammation irritates it further, increasing the pain.

How To Sleep With Shoulder Blade Pain?

If you already have an aching shoulder blade, you can try sleeping on the other side that doesn’t hurt. This is, however, temporary relief for better sleep.

Sleeping in the supine position- sleeping with arms at sides- reduces the overall pressure on your shoulder joints. This position is also good for optimal neck and spine alignment.

You could also try sleeping with your hands above or under your head. Although this position is unpopular due to discomfort, it is beneficial for anyone with shoulder pain.

The above positions require sleeping on your back, but you can also sleep on your stomach with hands under the pillow or next to it. The essential thing is to alleviate pressure from the shoulder area.

Other things you can do include utilizing a body pillow properly as well as investing in a good quality mattress and head pillow.

How To Relieve Shoulder Pain At Night?

If your shoulder pain is unbearable during the night, try to find a better sleeping position. It can be changing from side to sleeping on your back or the stomach.

If the new position isn’t yielding much, perform stretches from that particular shoulder to relax the muscles. You should be gentle enough not to cause yourself more pain.

What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder pain may come from an improper sleeping position. The best solution to this would be taking pressure off the shoulder to promote healing by sleeping in a proper position.

Sleep on the unaffected shoulder, or sleep on your back. Sleeping on your stomach wouldn’t be good, for it can cause your neck to strain. Try to keep both your back and neck as straight as possible, preferably by sleeping on your back.

Why Do You Feel Severe Shoulder Pain After Sleeping?

Whenever you experience shoulder pain after sleeping, it is mostly as a result of sleeping in a wrong position. Some positions increase pressure on the shoulder muscles. Pressure on the rotator cuff can cause it to tear. Tearing leads to tendinitis and other injuries, which manifest as pain.

How To Relieve Shoulder Pain From Sleeping Wrong?

Shoulder pain from sleeping wrong can be avoided by sleeping in the right position. Sleeping on either side or on your stomach can cause you to pain without you even realizing it. To sleep better on your side, use a proper pillow that doesn’t raise your head too much. You should also avoid sleeping on your stomach as it may cause your neck pains. You should sleep in a position that maintains your neck and back as straight as possible.

Shoulder Pain From Sleeping On Side Exercises

Shoulder exercises can greatly reduce pain in the shoulder area. There are a couple of exercises you can try at night to ease that shoulder pain from sleeping on side. These include:

Chin retractions

Extend your neck outwards slowly maintaining the chin parallel with the ground. Pull the neck back to a neutral position and repeat.

Eagle arms

Sit with your legs crossed and extend your arms in front of you, then place the left elbow in the crook of the right hand. Try bending the elbows back as if trying to make your hands touch. Ensure your palms remain touching and in front of your face, and the elbows are lifted at a right angle. Repeat with the right elbow over the right crook.

The above exercises can help your shoulder, but you could also try the cow-face pose, standing wall stretch, shoulder blade stretch, and half dragonfly stretch.

Why Does Shoulder Pain After Waking Up In The Morning?

Waking to an aching shoulder can be caused by a couple of things. One of these can be a frozen shoulder. This can be relieved by physiotherapy. Other causes include poor posture during sleeping, a bad mattress resulting in poor support, and lack of physical exercise.

Impingement syndrome, rotator cuff injuries, and shoulder arthritis can also be behind the pain in your shoulder when you wake.

Final Thoughts

As can be seen, shoulder pain when sleeping may have many causes. Some of the most common ones include rotator cuff injuries, bursitis, tendonitis, and a bad sleeping position. Also, avoid sleeping on your shoulder when it is already injured or sore as it can make the pain worse. In case you experience shoulder pain at night, make sure to adjust your sleeping position or try using pillows to avoid rolling onto your shoulder. Moreover, if you experience shoulder pain which is severe, disruptive, or persistent, see your doctor as they will help you by diagnosing your condition and recommending a treatment plan which is the right fit for you.

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