Sunday, October 2, 2022

How To Relieve Shoulder Pain From Side Sleeping

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With The Arms Under Or Above Your Head

This position is a variation of the supine position. Here you place your arms under your head or stretch them above your head. Yes, its an unusual sleeping position, not many people sleep in it, but it can be quite beneficial in giving you an excellent sleep.

If your shoulder is hurting and you cannot sleep on the previous sleeping positions, well, give this a try. When you extend your arms behind the head or place them under the head, therell be minimal shoulder pressure on your tendons and muscles. Like a normal solder sleeping position, this posture allows you to lay horizontally with your face up, and the legs stretched well out.

If youre also experiencing pain on your knees, you can place a pillow under your knees to offer some extra support. Another thing, while you sleep in this position, never face on one side. That might cause an increase in the neck stretch.

Benefits Of Sleeping On Your Left Or Right Side

While sleeping on your back has long been thought to be the , research is showing that side sleeping can have just as many benefits.

When done correctly with the proper body alignment, sleeping on your side can reduce both joint and low back pain, as well as chronic pain associated with long-term conditions like .

Another benefit to sleeping on your side is reduced snoring, a common symptom seen in obstructive sleep apnea. This serious condition creates disruptions in breathing, which can lead to long-term complications, such as:

Cognitive issues may be prevented with good sleep hygiene, but research is also showing that your overall brain health may benefit from sleeping on your side, too.

Finally, you may get better gut health if youre a side sleeper. This position helps your digestive system function better, which can ease gastrointestinal issues such as , , and .

Why Do My Shoulders Hurt When I Wake Up

Those with no previous history of shoulder problems or pain might want to examine their sleeping position. Sometimes, side sleepers unintentionally cause their own shoulder pain. If a side sleeper woke up with shoulder pain, it is likely that their sleeping position ended up pinching their rotator cuff tendons or shoulder bursae. Doing this for a short period of time generally does not produce painful sensations. However, after lying in this position for several hours while sleeping, it triggers an inflammatory response from the shoulder joint. This inflammation of the pinched tendon or bursae results in the pain when you wake up.

Luckily, most people see their pain and symptoms decrease within 48 hours after waking up with that pain. However, some still experience persistent or chronic shoulder pain. Unfortunately in these cases, it is unlikely that the sleeping position was the singular cause of the pain. We recommend that you consult with an experienced pain management specialist in Plano to discover the source of your discomfort.

Sleeping Position And Your Bed

Shoulder Pain At Night: Effective Ways To Find Relief (2019)

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 that are comfortable and reduces pressure points. Also, check the list of 10 best memory foam mattresses that do not create shoulder pain.

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.    

Find A Better Sleeping Position

The first course of action to relieve shoulder pain at night is to find a good sleeping position for you. Tossing and turning at night is normal for most people, but can agitate your shoulder if you land on it wrong. Sleeping on the opposite shoulder can help avoid this pain, but try not to sleep on your back.

If the pain persists, you can always trying wrapping your arm or wearing a sling to assist in preventing movement during sleep. Sleeping with a pillow under your knees can help alleviate any associated back pain.

Pros And Cons Of Sleeping On Your Side

Most people are side sleepers74 percent of us, according to one study. Although sleeping on ones back is ideal for spinal support, side sleeping is the next best thing. Side sleeping can also help alleviate snoring and symptoms of sleep apnea. Doctors also recommend side sleeping over back sleeping for any ladies with a bun in the oven.

While this lateral position has many advantages, it isnt perfect for everyone. The bad part of side sleeping is . You know it as the pins and needles. Every side sleeper has awakened to the gift of a completely numb arm, either from a lack of blood flow or too much pressure placed onto a nerve. Paresthesia is usually so disruptive it brings you out of deep sleep. Its a scientific fact that you and your arm cant be asleep at the same time.

Those with an ill-fitting pillow, mattress, or mattress topper also suffer from frequent shoulder, neck, and back pain. Side sleeping can cause more facial wrinkles and even sagging breasts. But before you commit to wearing a Victorian corset to bed every night, consider some of these tips for side sleeping.

Develop Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Unfortunately, consistently sleeping on your shoulder is one of the ways you can end up with shoulder impingement syndrome. This occurs when your bone is constantly pressing against your tendons. Studies have shown that both atrophy and rupture can impact tendon healing after getting rotator cuff repair2. Thus, if you already have rotator cuff issues or you have had surgery, you could be doing even more damage to your shoulder while sleeping on your side.

What Pillow Materials Are Best For Shoulder Pain

The best pillow materials include memory foam, buckwheat hulls, latex, and other fills that provide sufficient support to keep the head and neck upright and aligned with the spine. If a pillow sinks too much or loses shape quickly, the potential for more shoulder pain increases.

Memory Foam

Viscoelastic polyurethane foam memory foam for short is engineered to soften when exposed to body heat and return to its former shape when the heat is removed. By contouring close to the body, memory foam can alleviate pain and pressure around the neck and shoulders.

Solid memory foam is used to construct many wedge and specialty pillows for neck pain, including a few of our top picks listed above. Shredded memory foam does not provide the same level of support, but many models with this fill offer adjustable loft.


Buckwheat pillows are filled with hulls, the hard outer casings of buckwheat kernels. They tend to be quite firm but also highly supportive, so your head and neck wont sink too deeply into the surface. Buckwheat pillows also offer adjustable loft. By adding or removing the hulls, you can make the pillow more comfortable for different sleep positions.


Latex is a naturally resilient material derived from the sappy extract of rubber trees. It provides gentle contouring and wont conform as closely as memory foam, but latex is also highly durable and wont flatten as easily.


Down Alternative



Is It Better To Sleep Without A Pillow To Avoid Neck Pain

Is it better to sleep without a pillow to avoid neck pain? Or, does sleeping without a pillow actually lead to neck pain? There are a few advantages of sleeping without a pillow to consider, especially for your posture.

Sleeping without a pillow will actually help extend your back and help you rest in a more natural position, possibly without any aches or pains. At the same time, using a pillow that is too soft will strain your neck muscles and reduce the flow of blood to the head.

Overall, sleeping without or with a pillow is a personal choice. That being said, here are some sleeping without a pillow benefits that you need to know:

Best Sleeping Positions For Shoulder Impingement

Worse at Night?Shoulder PainImproving Sleep

How can you possibly get a restful nights sleep when you have shoulder pain? Turns out your sleeping position can play a huge factor in getting the sleep you desperately need. Shoulder impingement is a condition where inflammation within the shoulder joint causes certain structures to become compressed resulting in pain. If you have an impingement, its important to know the best sleeping positions to avoid further damage and allow your shoulder to heal quickly.

What If You Really Want To Sleep On Your Side

Side Sleeper Contour Pillow for Neck Shoulder and Back ...

If you don’t want to try sleeping on your back, you can at least sleep on the right side. By “right”, in this case, we mean “correct”, because the correct side is the left side.

Wait, you may be saying, there’s a correct side to sleep on? Why?

The answer has to do with how your stomach is oriented. See, your stomach is essentially a bag with tubes coming out of both ends. But, the tubes aren’t at the top and bottom; they’re both on one side, specifically, your right side. This means that when you sleep on your left side, your dinner sits in the part of your stomach that’s meant to digest food. However, when sleeping on your right side, gravity forces the food into the tubes coming from your stomach, one of which is your esophagus. This, in a lot of people, can lead to acid reflux.

So sleeping like a southpaw can help you with indigestion, but both your shoulders are just as susceptible to injury. What should you do about that? The answer is that you get an optimal mattress for your sleeping style. Side sleeping naturally ends up putting pressure on your shoulders and hips, but a good mattress can help. A memory foam mattress can help you to do this by relieving this pressure and responding to your body with firm pressure.

Ultimately, you’ll need to find out what works for you. But we hope this guide could help you get started and let you know that it’s completely possible for you to wake up completely refreshed and pain-free. Good night!

The Best Frozen Shoulder Sleep Positions

There are various ways to cope and try to get quality sleep when one has frozen shoulder or sore shoulder pain. However, most health practitioners will recommend that you avoid sleeping on your stomach if at all possible, as this position pulls your shoulders into an unstable position that could do further damage over time.

Instead, try one or more of the following variations to determine what position works best for you.

Tips For Avoiding Neck Or Shoulder Pain While Sleeping

Understanding how you sleep is important in alleviating shoulder or neck pain. Combating neck and shoulder pain while you sleep is far-reachingyour sleeping position, the right pillow and mattress, practicing gentle stretches before bed, and practicing healthy posture habits during the day can all work to improve your sleeping experience.

Shoulder Pain And Sleep

According to Ruben Gobezie, M.D., founding director and chief of surgery at the Cleveland Shoulder Institute, discomfort in bed and sleep problems are common issues for people with shoulder pain. Patients frequently feel discomfort regardless of which sleep position they employ. Some also feel numbness, tingling, and muscle spasms.

While any of the conditions listed above could contribute to shoulder pain-related sleep problems, Dr. Gobezie notes three specific conditions are the most common culprits:

  • Bursitis, an inflammation of the bursa sacs that cushion bones around joints in the body. Inflamed bursa produce more liquid which can lead to painful swelling.
  • Biceps tendinopathy, a condition that occurs due to prolonged deterioration of the biceps tendon that connects shoulder bones and muscles. Tendinopathy is characterized by sharp pains around the tendon.
  • Tears and other injuries to the rotator cuff, a grouping of muscles that cushions and stabilizes the shoulder joint.

Before seeing medical attention for any of these conditions, Dr. Gobezie recommends taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You can also try sleeping in a recliner, applying ice or heat to the pain-affected areas, or wearing a compression sleeve.

Find The Right Mattress Firmness

If you suffer from side sleeper shoulder pain or arm pain while sleeping, you may need to adjust your mattress firmness to accommodate your side sleeping position.

Side sleepers benefit from a soft mattress or medium-soft mattress. This allows the shoulders and hips to sink into the mattress, bringing the spine into alignment. If your mattress is too firm, it will put pressure on your hips and shoulders while forcing your spine to arch or bend. The result? Youll deal with constant arm pain from sleeping, shoulder pain, and lower back pain, too.

Luckily, finding the right mattress firmness is pretty easy. Almost all mattress companies adhere to the same firmness scale, which measures firmness from 1 to 10 . Side sleepers should choose a mattress around 5-6. Anything under a 4 might feel too soft, causing your spine to bow in the opposite direction.

The Purple mattress may be the best bed for side sleepers of all sizes, especially if youre wondering why your shoulders hurt when sleeping. The Purple Grid, Purples patented hyper-elastic polymer comfort layer, has the perfect balance of contouring comfort and support to perfectly align a side sleepers body from head to toe.

Purple mattresses come in a variety of mattress models to accommodate all side sleepers and are available in multiple mattress sizes. The Purple® Hybrid and Purple® Hybrid Premier are especially well-suited for side sleepers.

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How To Stop Shoulder Pain From Side

June 19, 20206 min read

Many distractions can get in the way of you getting your recommended 8-10 hours of sleep per night, but one of the most disruptive is physical discomfort. From feeling too hot to too cold, not enough neck support to too much, its essential for both your body and mind to feel at ease when its time to hit the hay.

One of the most common issues struggling sleepers face is shoulder pain at night. If youve dealt with this uncomfortable phenomenon before, you might have found yourself up late and searching the web for solutions, how to stop shoulder pain when I sleep, or why do I have shoulder pain from sleep?

In this post, well be taking a closer look at some of the most common causes that may be contributing to your night time shoulder pain, and well also share some tips to help you ease symptoms and prevent pain. Use the links below to navigate to the section that best answers your query, or read through for a comprehensive overview of the topic.


Can Sleeping Positions Cause Shoulder Pain

May 25, 2018

You toss and you turn and you find that the only comfortable way that you can sleep soundly is on your left side. Youve tried every position and the left side is the most comfortable way that you have found that you sleep all the way through the night. What if, however, your perfect sleeping position was what was causing the searing pain in your shoulder when you wake up each morning?

Considering that the average adult spends about 6-8 hours a night sleeping in a fairly routine position, thats quite a load to bear over time. Yes, your sleeping position could certainly be causing shoulder pain, and can even have long-term lasting effects on your joint if you arent careful. The constant pressure that you put in the same position, no less on your shoulder joint can cause it to become inflamed and lead to structural damage.

There doesnt need to be trauma for shoulder pain to be an issue, either. You might wake up in pain, thinking, What did I do to my shoulder yesterday? Well, the real reason could be happening while youre off in a dream somewhere. Make no mistake, sleeping on your side isnt always the best way, and can even cause tendonitis in your rotator cuff or impingement syndrome which means your cartilage starts to deteriorate.

Reclining Bed Or Chair

Shoulder Pillow

Sometimes the degree of pain in the shoulders can be so high that lying down may not be a viable option. Sleeping in a reclined position can be your best bet in such a scenario.

The most popular option may be to prop up the body with a ton of pillows so you can lie down in a semi-seated position.

If you can afford it, an adjustable bed can work wonders for your sleep. A reclining chair can also be a great option for shoulder pain sufferers.

The good news is that there are many adjustable bed options on Amazon and other online retail sites.

The quality of my sleep has improved significantly since I bought the from Amazon. It allows me to sleep upright in a flexible angle while offering back massages for pain relief.

I found the on Amazon. The built-in power lift and 140-degree reclining ability can be lifesaving for most painful conditions. The comfy leather design also provides cozy sleeping all night long. I highly recommend it if you have problems with shoulder pain.

Use Pillows For Support And Vary Your Position

Whether you are sleeping on your side or your back, having extra pillows can be very helpful to eliminate the shoulder pain associated with frozen shoulder.

For example, if youre on your back with your arms extended down your sides, one option is to place a pillow on either side to support your elbows, which in turn support the shoulders and reduce any pressure, strain or tension. Placing the pillow like this will have the added benefit of making it harder for you to accidentally roll over during your sleep.

If youre sleeping on your side, sometimes tucking a pillow under your arm is also a good way to relieve pressure, supporting the frozen shoulder and keeping it from moving during the night.

Using a body pillow is also recommended, as the material will also provide helpful support for the injured shoulder, relieving pressure various bones and tissues in the affected shoulder capsule., and can be tucked between the knees for additional support.

Another recommendation is to find yourself a great head pillow with plenty of support for the neck. By keeping your head and neck in line with your spine, you can reduce tension on the neck and affected shoulder.

How To Sleep Comfortably With Shoulder Pain

Sleep Hacks

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.

Causes Of Shoulder Pain When Night

Although many shoulder disorders can cause pain, the most common cause of shoulder pain at night comes from rotator cuff tendinitis. It usually is caused by irritation of the shoulder tendons leading to inflammation and pain. This condition can be caused by many things, including:

  • Tears
  • Repetitive work injuries
  • Aging

Rotator cuff tendinitis is known to affect millions of people in the U.S. each year and is a major cause of shoulder pain when sleeping.

Some of the other causes of shoulder pain at night are:

  • Frozen shoulder
  • Shoulder dislocation

Why exactly does the pain increase at night even though it might be fine during the day?

Frequently Asked Questions About Pillows For Shoulder Pain

Can the wrong pillow make shoulder pain worse?

Absolutely. If a pillow does not provide enough support for the head and neck, then youre more likely to feel new or worsening shoulder pain. A less durable pillow that flattens or loses shape over time can mean more pain, as well. The best pillow for shoulder pain should properly support the head and neck, promote spinal alignment, and stabilize the affected shoulder.

What is the most important consideration when choosing a pillow for shoulder pain?

The most important factors when choosing a pillow for shoulder pain include loft , firmness, shape, and fill material. Since everyone has different pillow preferences, we suggest trying different models to see which ones alleviate pain. As youre starting out, consider pillows that offer sleep trials with free or mostly free returns. Youll be able to test out these models without financially committing to them at first.

What is the worst pillow type for shoulder pain? Down, down alternative, and feather pillows are generally considered the worst pillows for shoulder pain because they provide the least support and tend to flatten during the night.

Can a mattress topper help with shoulder pain?

Sleep On Your Back Variation #1

For those who can sleep on their backs throughout the night, this position is advantageous. Having your arms extended straight down at your sides can help, as it  puts the least amount of pressure on the joints and muscles of the shoulder, as well as the neck, arms and shoulder.

This provides an ideal spine alignment, allowing the body to relax, release any built-up strain and tension, and heal itself while you sleep

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