What Is The Best Way To Sleep If Your Shoulder Hurts
If youre experiencing pain when you sleep on your shoulder, some of these tips may help make sleeping more comfortable:
- Avoid sleeping on the affected shoulder. Adjusting your sleeping position to the opposite side or to your or may help take pressure off an aching shoulder.
- Utilize a pillow. Most of us change positions in our sleep. If youre concerned about rolling onto your sore shoulder, try placing a pillow in a way that will prevent you from doing so.
- Stay active. Regular exercise can boost your blood flow and circulation. This, in turn, may help the muscles and tendons in your shoulder to heal faster if you have an injury. Additionally, performing gentle shoulder or may help reduce shoulder pain.
- Know your limits. Avoid activities during the day that could lead to further irritation of your shoulder.
- Use OTC pain relievers. Try taking an OTC pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, shortly before bed.
- Practice good sleep habits. Keep a regular sleep schedule. Turn off any TVs, computers, phones, or other screens shortly before bed. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in the evening.
When In Doubt Sleep At An Incline
If youve tried everything, and if youre still facing morning discomfort, you may need to sleep at an incline. A lot of people prefer sitting in a recliner, or upon an adjustable bed, to maintain healthy spine support while easing nightly stress. Dont worry: Youll get used to the slant in time.
Overall, you should maintain a healthy schedule of at least eight hours of sleep per night. Treat your body with care, and dont give it a reason to toss and turn, needlessly, throughout the week. Additionally, it may be time to visit your physical therapist to further reduce pain. Often, a physical therapist can help relieve pain through hands-on treatment, and custom exercises to improve flexibility and strength.
Why Do My Shoulders Hurt When I Sleep
Shoulder blade pain can be most painful at night while lying still. During the day, youre distracted by running errands, taking care of family, and working. You dont have time to think about shoulder pain, perhaps now and then when you attempt to lift something heavy, youll feel a twinge of pain. At night theres nothing to distract you.
Side sleepers enjoy the most favorable sleep position for digestion problems, it eases snoring and acid reflux while aligning the spine. If youre a side sleeper who is experiencing shoulder pain from sleeping, youre probably tempted to blame your sleep position.
However, its often the mattress thats to blame for side sleeper shoulder pain. If your mattress doesnt offer adequate pressure relief, the delicate shoulder areas are put under strain. Shoulder pain at night could be the result of the mattress being too soft. If your mattress is too firm it pushes against your shoulders, aggravating the symptoms further.
Those who sleep on a memory foam mattress tend to complain about muscle stiffness in the morning. Memory foam usually offers little to no pressure relief. You may think a soft memory foam mattress is ideal for side sleeper shoulder pain but it could make it worse.
How To Avoid Shoulder Pain From Sleeping On Side
Waking up refreshed after a good nights sleep is one of the most invigorating feelings, you can do anything, youre energized and looking forward to what the day has in store. Unfortunately, many suffer shoulder pain from sleeping and that joy sparked from a good nights sleep is rarely felt.
If youre a side sleeper who experiences shoulder blade pain, then this article is for you. Lets talk about the causes of your shoulder pain and what you can do tonight to feel better. Everyone can sleep soundly, especially those suffering shoulder pain at night.
Can A Stiff Neck & Shoulders Be Prevented
If you regularly experience a sore neck and shoulders when you sleep, the best way to prevent it is to sleep in a different position or find a pillow that works to align your spine. Keep in mind, though, that your habits throughout the day can prime your neck to feel stiff before you even climb into bed.
If you work a job that causes you to sit all day, you could be developing poor posture habits. You probably slouch more than you realize. This can tighten up your neck muscles and contribute to the stiffness that will be amplified by the wrong pillow. It can even make it hard to fall asleep.
One thing you can do before bed to help prevent neck pain right away and get to sleep is to stretch. Stretching your neck helps to loosen the muscle fibers. The right kind of stretching can also help with tension in the muscle that connects your neck and shoulders. Even just tilting your neck slowly from side to side can help, or you can develop a stretching routine.
Try this safe stretching technique before you get into bed each night to help loosen your neck muscles and reduce your risk of experiencing pain:
Issues Associated With Shoulder Pain At Night
On top of the pain, most people with shoulder pain at night sleep poorly, which has a completely different set of problems associated with it. These can include:
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Low energy
- Mood disorders
Sleeplessness can become a vicious cycle of decreasing sleep and increased pain, which will only make your condition worse.
Other Causes Of Neck Pain When You Wake Up
There are certainly other causes that can also contribute to you waking up with neck pain. In some cases, you may develop a sore neck during the day, too. Some common causes of neck pain include:
- poor posture during the day
- working too long at a computer, or watching television for too long without changing positions
- in one of the upper spinal joints
- nerve compression caused by a herniated disk or bone spur in your neck
What To Consider When Purchasing A Pillow For Shoulder Pain
If you take pillow manufacturers at their word, then every pillow on the market today will reduce shoulder pain and deliver nightlong comfort regardless of your needs or preferences. However, very few pillows are designed to specifically target and alleviate shoulder pain. Furthermore, a pillow that is not soft, firm, thick, or thin enough can cause added discomfort based on your body type, head size, shoulder dimensions, and sleep position.
Before buying a pillow for shoulder pain, check the following specs and reach out to the manufacturer if you cant track down any of these details.
Getting On With Your Day Pain
You may have started out in a neck-friendly sleeping position only to wake up contorted and uncomfortable. No matter how you acquired your neck pain while snoozed out, you can turn your questionable day of pain into something desirable.
Take these tips and quick fixes with you today as you seek to leave behind your neck pain and discomfort. Write yourself a note or two to remind you which sleeping tips you would like to try tonight to help prevent neck pain from increasing or returning overnight.
Pick a few neck pain prevention techniques each evening. Find out which ones have the most impact on your personal sleeping situation. Rest well with your new regime of sleep without neck pain!
Treatment For Sleep Problems In West Jersey
If you often awaken with neck pain, see an experienced orthopedist. The doctor will evaluate your nightly habits and recommend treatment that will work to alleviate the pain for good.
Here at the Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey, our medical team has extensive experience with medical conditions related to neck pain and all other types of musculoskeletal pain. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call us today at 989-0888, or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you find relief from your neck pain and get a comfortable nights sleep every night.
Avoid The Supine Bhc Position
The supine BHC position is more symmetrical than the DHF since you have positioned both hands on the chest while lying on your back. The difference in the activity between the scalene and upper trapezius muscles is lower. Still, this position of the arms causes some level of tightness of the upper trapezius, which can cause numbness and neck pain.
Why Do I Have Shoulder Pain At Night Only
While this nighttime shoulder pain cannot always be explained, a lot of the pain comes down to:
- Being still at night
- Unrelieved tension and stress from the day
- The sleeping position you choose
- Your mattress
During the day, the shoulder is being actively used while you are in a vertical position. The tendons engage and are pulled downward by gravity, which allows space to be made in the muscle groups in the shoulder. This additional space allows for an increase in blood flow and oxygen that alleviates the stiffness and pain that would be present otherwise.
When you lay down to rest or sleep at night, you are generally in a horizontal position. This removes the effect of gravity and allows the shoulder muscles to relax. The lack of movement and the relaxation of the muscles allows the fluids in your joints to settle and decreases the flow of blood, allowing the joint to become inflamed. People also tend to lie on their shoulder while sleeping, which can compress the joint even further, and thereby worsening the inflammation.
Invest In A Contoured Pillow
What if your old pillow is the main culprit behind that cruel neck pain? Luckily, its easy to identify if your pillow is giving you neck strain during sleep:
- If the pillow is too high, it angles your neck upward which causes the imbalance between the neck and the spine.
- If the pillow is too low, it angles your neck downward which leads to the same effect.
Its time to replace your pillow with the one that keeps your neck and spine in neutral alignment. Therapeutic and orthopedic pillows are specifically designed to support your neck posture, thus, eliminating the feeling of having a stiff neck after waking up.
To choose the pillow that helps relieve neck pain, follow these points:
- While there are various types of fillings, a good option is to prefer cervical contour pillows because they work best for those who often complain about having neck pain after sleeping the wrong way. Using a contour pillow means youll be resting your head in the slightly tilted area of the pillow while your neck will rest on an elevated side .
- Besides checking its softness, make sure the pillow is hypoallergenic and is made of antimicrobial or anti-mite materials.
- Not all neck pillows come with same properties. While buying one, check if its suitable for back sleeping or side sleeping.
Can My Mattress Affect My Sleep
If youve been talking to people about your stiff neck from sleeping, youve probably heard plenty of advice about getting a different mattress. Most people automatically associate a faulty mattress with neck pain. There is some truth to that, but not as much as many people think. The safety and comfort of your neck, while you sleep, have much more to do with your pillow than your mattress.
But, if youve switched out your pillow to fit your needs and sleeping position and youre still uncomfortable, you can look into changing your mattress. Its important to make sure you have a mattress that is firm enough.
If your mattress is over ten years old, its a good rule of thumb to get a new one. Mattresses can flatten out a bit over time, and become misshapen. If you dont have the budget for a new mattress, try flipping your current one over, if possible. Some mattresses cant be flipped. If yours does, you should do it periodically, so it doesnt lose its shape on one side.
How To Sleep Comfortably With Shoulder Pain
Falling asleep with debilitating shoulder pain can be extremely difficult especially as a side or stomach sleeper. The intensity of the pain can be so high that tossing and turning all night becomes inevitable even when youre desperate to sleep.
This pain can arise from playing a physical sport such as golf or tennis as well as lying down at an awkward angle while sleeping. In some situations, old age can also cause regular shoulder pain.
What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Neck Pain
Two sleeping positions are easiest on the neck: on your side or on your back. If you sleep on your back, choose a rounded pillow to support the natural curve of your neck, with a flatter pillow cushioning your head. This can be achieved by tucking a small neck roll into the pillowcase of a flatter, softer pillow, or by using a special pillow that has a built-in neck support with an indentation for the head to rest in. Here are some additional tips for side- and back-sleepers:
Awareness Of Sleeping Positions And Proper Pillows Can Minimize Neck Pain
As with so many things, when it comes to neck pain, an ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure. It’s true that some causes of neck pain, such as age-related wear and tear, are not under your control. On the other hand, there are many things you can do to minimize your risk. One place to start is to look at how you sleep and what effect this may have on neck pain.
Home Remedies For Neck Pain
If you wake up with a sore neck, there are several remedies you can try to help ease the pain. You likely dont need to see a doctor, especially if you dont have any other symptoms, and you havent had a sore neck for long. Here are some self-care options you can try:
- Apply ice or a cold pack to the sore part of your neck for 20 minutes at a time. This can help reduce inflammation in your neck muscles.
- If youve had pain for a day or more, apply a heat pack to the sore area for 20 minutes at a time. This can help to soothe and relax the muscles.
- Try over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen , naproxen , or acetaminophen .
- Do some gentle exercises, like walking or . This can help keep the blood flowing to your neck. Dont stop moving altogether. Not moving can cause your muscles to tighten up.
To help prevent neck pain when you wake up, there are steps you can take to support your neck and reduce the strain on your neck muscles.
A couple of simple exercises can help keep your neck muscles strong and limber, which may reduce the risk of waking up with pain in your neck.
How To Fix Shoulder Pain And Tension From Sleeping On The Side
I spend a significant portion of my day in front of a computer screen, staring intensely at it while frantically pressing keys in a hunched over position. Indeed, like so many people I have a sedentary job where I have to sit for many hours each day.
And no matter how hard I try to maintain an upright sitting posture, I always seem to end up in a slouched position without realizing it. It seems Ive gotten so used to this posture, I even have tense shoulders while sleeping! It seems my shoulders are always up to something, literally.
You might be surprised to hear that your posture during the day, such as while sitting, can affect your posture while sleeping. Unfortunately, bad posture puts undue stress on your neck which can also spread to your shoulders and back.
It is very easy to develop bad posture from other activities besides sitting as well. For example, if you tend to carry heavy bags a long time everyday, especially if one of the straps causes you to elevate one shoulder higher than the other to prevent it from sliding, that can also cause tight and achy shoulders. And activities that you do in the day can translate to shoulder tension at night.
What Is The Best At
When you have mild shoulder or neck pain, at-home solutions can often solve the problem. You can do simple stretches to keep your muscles flexible. Try squeezing your shoulder blades, rolling your shoulders down and backward or bringing your ear to your shoulder 10 times. Applying heat or ice reduces inflammation and relaxes the muscles. Over-the-counter painkillers can also help.
How To Sleep With A Stiff Neck And Shoulder Or Back
To avoid aggravating a sore shoulder, its a good idea to sleep either on your opposite side or your back. If youre on your back, you can try putting a pillow next to your sore shoulder to discourage yourself from rolling that direction in the middle of the night.
For back pain, you should avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach puts excess stress on your vertebrae. Some positions that you may find help relieve your pain include:
- sleeping on your back slightly reclined
- sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees
- sleeping in the fetal position
- sleeping with a pillow between your knees
2015 study found that people with chronic neck pain are less likely to improve if they experience poor sleep quality. Making sure youre getting a good nights sleep is one of the best ways to heal from neck pain.
may help reduce your pain if youre dealing with an acute issue. Make sure you dont take it on an empty stomach, dont exceed more than 1,200 milligrams in 1 day, and dont take it longer than 10 days unless approved by a doctor.
Some people find that heat and ice also helps them manage their pain. You can alternate between the two, depending on which provides more relief.
Gently stretching your neck before bed and when you first wake up may also help you manage your pain.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the following stretches may help:
The Best Sleeping Positions For Your Neck And Spine
- The Best Sleeping Positions for Your Neck and Spine
Your body doesnt shut down when you sleep. The night is a regenerative time. Our bodies are mending and rejuvenating so that when we wake up we feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. Thats not always automatic, though. When it comes to back and neck pain, your body needs a little help from you to get things right.
The position in which you sleep has a direct impact on your spine health. Most of us will wake up at some point in our lives with neck or back pain and oftentimes our sleeping position is the culprit. What can we do to fix it? In short, the way to ensure a happy spine is to keep it neutral. Neutral means that your spine is straight. This starts with your head and neck and goes all the way down. Even things like having your hips/pelvis tilted one way can in turn twist your spine.
Below is a breakdown of the four most basic sleeping positions.
The Overall Best: On your back. Sleeping on your back evenly distributes weight throughout your body and avoids unnatural or unnecessary curves in the spine. Use a small pillow underneath the head and neck to keep everything in alignment. Even better, a small cylindrical pillow in the crook of your neck supports your neck and keeps your head neutral on the mattress. Do note, though, that this sleeping position can cause some people to snore.
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Your Pillow Makes A Difference
According to a 2019 article in the Physical Therapy, the Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association, 4
- moderately high
- support cervical lordosis in supine
- prevent neck lateral flexion in the side position.
- allergy-tested, lightweight, and washable.
Other factors that the cited in the article as influencing neck pillow acceptability are the degree of thermal dispersion, the material, the shape, and the length of time it has been used.
There is no clear winner when it comes to the best pillow to avoid neck pain. You need to find the right one that works for you. To get you started, check out the list of the 5.
What You Can Do About Neck Pain From Sleeping
So, what now? Just go about your day in pain, with your neck tilted? No! Time to take action.
Although time can be some of the best medicine for a sore or stiff neck, we want to speed the healing process along AND cut down on the risk you wake up with neck pain again. First things first: If you woke up with neck pain, get some ice on it. Try 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. That will cut down on the inflammation. Ditto an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like Motrin .
If its been a few days and your neck pain is stubbornly hanging around, switch from ice to heat. Again, 20 minutes on, 20 off is a good starting point. If your neck pain is caused by a spasming muscle, heat can help it relax and get the blood flowing to it. A gentle massage of the area can sometimes work for the same reason, but be careful not to overdo it.
Stretching, which may prove helpful as well, straddles the line between treatment and prevention. By the time youre actually in pain it may be too late for stretching to help, but keeping your muscles loose and supple can reduce your risk of future neck ligament sprains, muscle and tendon strains, and torticollis.
Try stretching your neck through multiple planes of movement:
- Try to touch your right ear to your right shoulder. Push gently on the left side of your head. Come back through center, and repeat on the left side. Do 10 reps each of left and right.
Perform Stretches For Shoulder Pain At Night
Exercising a few hours before bed can also be useful as it will increase blood flow throughout the whole body. This can alleviate pain, but also relax you enough to ease sleeping troubles. Try something low impact like a brisk walk or a bike ride, and then allow your body to cool down again before going to bed.
Further, certain shoulder stretches can help you reduce the tension and stress that has built up during the day. Not only are shoulder stretches an easy option, but they take only a few minutes at night. Stretching has huge health benefits like increasing flexibility, range of motion, and blood flow. Another big plus is that they are simple to do in your own home and require no special equipment. Before you go to bed, try these seven shoulder stretches to alleviate some tension and reduce your stress.
Shoulder stretch basics
If you start to feel pain at any time during a stretch, stop immediately. Stretching should be done to the point of mild strain. If you experience pain, you are going too hard and could injure yourself. This is especially true if the pain is sharp or sudden. It is a good idea for chronic pain sufferers to consult a pain doctor before starting too strenuous of a stretching routine as overexertion could exacerbate certain conditions.
Standing wall stretch
Shoulder blade stretch