What Are The Symptoms Of Shoulder Pain From Sleeping On One Side
For most people, shoulder pain from sleeping on your side will cause a localised aching on tenderness in the affected shoulder. Sometimes this pain can worsen with movement, particularly when lifting your arm above your head.
Sometimes it may worsen with the application of pressure . In some cases, you may experience a weakness in the affected shoulder or arm.
Try A Different Position
Your sleeping position may be the main cause for the pain, so try to position yourself on the opposite shoulder and dont lay on your back. Since turning around in the bed at night is very common to many people, try to wrap your arm to prevent shoulder movement.
Try adjusting your pillow, and maybe even pull it down a bit, so you give your shoulder a minor elevation, to reduce the weight being put on it if you roll over to that side during the night. If you think there is no way you can stay on the opposite side of the hurt shoulder, then try to limit your movement by placing few pillows to each of your sides.
Why Does My Shoulder Hurt At Night
Night pain is a common symptom for many people suffering from shoulder pain. It causes sleepless nights and can be very distressing.
A recent audit at Complete revealed night pain to be the most significant symptom for patients suffering with shoulder pain. It is particularly common in the following shoulder injuries
Also Check: How To Sprain Your Wrist Without Pain And Fast
Common Causes Of Shoulder Pain At Night
To find the most effective solution to alleviate your shoulder pain from sleeping, its a good idea to start with some of the root causes you may be facing.
According to the Cleveland Health Clinic, some of the most common causes of shoulder pain when you sleep, and in general, are:
- Rotator Cuff Injuries: Overuse of the rotator cuff can contribute to issues such as tendonitis, strains, and partial or complete tears of the tendons.
- Rotator Cuff Tears: Tears can happen as a result of a single event, like falling onto your outstretched arm, or over time with a repeated motion.
- Osteoarthritis: When cartilage degrades over time, causing stiffness and pain.
Shoulder Pain From Sleeping On The Side
Your shoulder may hurt when your sleep on one side just because of your sleeping position.
Although overuse injuries and damage to your rotator cuff are common causes of night shoulder pain, its not true in every case. For example, researchers have found that not everyone who wakens in the night with shoulder pain has an injury-related cause.
The journal Medical Hypotheses reported that shoulder pain can be directly connected with sleeping position. Sleeping on one side can cause pain in that shoulder due to the weight of the body on the shoulder joint. Shoulder pain from sleeping on one side can also occur if a person doesnt change their position at all while sleeping.10
Read Also: Fake Broken Arm
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:
Extend your neck outwards slowly maintaining the chin parallel with the ground. Pull the neck back to a neutral position and repeat.
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.
First Aid For Shoulder Pain
The first morning you wake up with the pain in your shoulder, get a pack of ice and apply it to the shoulder for 15 minutes gently rubbing it. Do this every hour or so, and dont apply the ice directly to the skin, because it can damage it. Limit the shoulder movement once you figured out its injured. Dont perform any exercises and dont put the injured shoulder to work for at least two days. Some people apply the heat to the area in the hope they will increase the blood flow. This is very wrong, and it does not increase the blood flow, it just worsens the problem by increasing the swelling of the area.
To temporarily reduce the pain, you can use Acetaminophen or Advil. They will also reduce the progression of swelling.
And to prevent the pain happening in the first place, try a pillow for shoulder pain.
Recommended Reading: Stomach Aches Sign Of Pregnancy
Side Sleeping Best Practices
Whether youre a veteran side sleeper or are new to this position, its important to know the best practices. This way, you can get the most out of this sleeping position without waking up to pain and discomfort the next morning:
What Causes Shoulder Pain After You Wake Up
Shoulder pain from sleeping on the side is very common among people who suffer from chronic pain. As shoulder is one of the most sensitive joints in the body, it is very prone to injuries. As if the pain isnt enough, people with shoulder pain can have low energy, mood disorders and increased sensitivity to pain overall.
Shoulder pain can keep people awake at nights, and decrease sleep.
Having all these causes in mind, one cause is the most common one, and that is rotator cuff tendinitis. It happens when the shoulder tendons are irritated which then get inflamed and cause severe pain. It affects a lot of people and the pain increases at night, even though the shoulder doesnt hurt that much at daytime.
This leaves a lot of people confused they think they are getting better because the pain is low during the day, and the day after the wake-up, the pain is back in bigger volume. And this is because, during the daytime, the shoulder is in a vertical position, there is no pressure applied to it, contrary to sleeping when its pressed by your body weight.
When the shoulder is in a horizontal position and being pressured by the body, the tendons dont have a lot of space between them which limits the blood flow and the oxygen who should reduce the stiffness and the pain. Reduced blood flow leads to inflammation and lying on the shoulder even worsens it due to the pressure applied.
You May Like: Lidocaine For Sciatica
What Exactly Is The Rotator Cuff
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that wrap around the head of your upper arm bone and attach it to the shoulder blade. It is appropriately named, because together these connective tissues not only form a cuff-like structure to hold your shoulder in place, but they allow your arm to rotate in different directions.
At Next Step Orthopedics, Dr. Nickson diagnoses and treats all kinds of rotator cuff issues, from acute injuries to degeneration resulting from overuse. But one thing he wants his shoulder patients to keep in mind is that the way you sleep — your sleep posture — can affect the rotator cuff.
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.
Also Check: Is Heat Or Ice Good For Nerve Pain
Shoulder Pain At Night: 5 Causes You Need To Know
Night after night, your shoulder pain awakens you. The pain is hot and searing and getting worse. Why does your shoulder hurt at night? Why does your shoulder pain occur at night? What are the treatment options for shoulder pain at night? Are there non-surgical treatment options? Lets dig in.
Other Solutions To Shoulder Pain From Sleeping On Your Side
The proper mattress and pillow should not be underestimated when trying to get a good nights sleep.
Mattress. Side sleepers should look for a mattress that will provide support to all the joints, including the neck, shoulders, and hips. During sleep, our cells rejuvenate themselves. You need to have a good sleep position, as well as correct spine alignment, to ensure that the healing process is not affected. A memory foam mattress or a hybrid with a memory foam topper is often recommended. These follow the natural contours of your body and relieve pressure point pain.
- Pillow. The right pillow can also help you sleep and reduce back and shoulder night pain. Your pillow must provide support for the curve of your neck. Your pillow should allow the ears, shoulders, and your hips to be aligned. There are dozens of pillows from which to choose. You may need to test several before finding the perfect one. If you sleep on your side, you will need two pillows. The first one is placed under your head, while the other is placed between the knees. Stomach sleepers need to unlearn this sleep position, especially when their shoulders are starting to hurt.
There are other solutions to back and shoulder pain from sleeping on your side. These include using over-the-counter pain medications. If you find that your shoulder pain is not going away, or that the pain worsens, have it checked by your doctor as it may require other treatments.
Recommended Reading: Does It Hurt To Slit Your Wrists
A Brief Anatomy Lesson
To understand whats causing your pain, you should have a basic knowledge of the anatomy of the shoulder.
The shoulder is a major ball and socket joint one of the most mobile joints in the body. As such, joint stability is sometimes affected if there is not enough strength to support all the moving pieces. The cherry on top is that the head of the humerus is actually larger than its accompanying socket, setting the whole shoulder area up for potential difficulties. The surrounding tendons, ligaments, and muscles help anchor the bones of the joint, but again, this support system can be compromised. Typically, injuries occur from overuse, degenerative causes, or falls, but its possible that your shoulder can be disturbed by other means.
The shoulder is made up of 3 bony components:
- Clavicle or collarbone
- Scapula or shoulder blade
- Humerus or upper arm bone
The ligaments, muscles, and tendons that stabilize our shoulder are known collectively as the Rotator Cuff, as they form a cuff around the humerus. Specifically, the Rotator Cuff includes the teres minor, subscapularis, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus muscles.
Medical Reasons Why You Might Be Experiencing Shoulder Pain
Rotator cuff tendinitis : Rotator cuff tendinitis is a common shoulder problem that can cause severe shoulder pain. This acute condition is caused when the rotator cuff tendons are inflamed or irritated.
Rotator cuff tendinosis: Rotator cuff tendinosis is a chronic or recurring condition caused by repetitive wear and tear of the rotator cuff tendons.
Torn rotator cuff: A rotator cuff tear occurs when one or more of the rotator cuff tendons are torn away from the bone. The tears can be partial or complete and can occur as a result of injury or repeated daily use. Rotator cuff tears affect nearly two million people per year, so if you suffer from this injury, you are not alone.
Shoulder impingement syndrome: Shoulder impingement occurs when the rotator cuff rubs against the part of the shoulder blade called the acromion. The acromion is a bony projection on the scapula. When you lift your arm, the space between the rotator cuff and acromion narrows, squeezing the bursa, a small, fluid-filled sac that cushions tendons, muscles, and bones near your joints throughout your body. This can lead to impingement as blood flow is reduced and the tendons start to fray. Sometimes impingement syndrome requires surgery to ease the pain and improve mobility. Surgery can also reduce damage to the tendons.
Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes pain and inflammation.
Read Also: How To Heal A Sprained Wrist Fast
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.
What Is Shoulder Pain
Shoulder is the shorthand term for the ball-and-socket joint that allows both of your arms to move freely. Recent statistics indicate that roughly 15 out of every 1,000 medical patients sees a physician about shoulder pain, and some studies suggest 70 percent of adults will experience shoulder pain at least once during their lifetime.
The shoulder joint consists of three bones: the clavicle , scapula , and humerus . According to the Mayo Clinic, shoulder pain can also develop from a wide range of injuries and medical conditions. These include the following:
- Broken arm or collarbone
- Heart attack
If you experience other symptoms along with the shoulder pain, such as shortness of breath or an uncomfortable tightening sensation in the chest, you should call 911 immediately these could be signs of a more serious condition. Sudden pain, swelling, warmth, and/or loss of movement may necessitate a visit to the emergency room or your physicians office.
The Cleveland Clinic also notes several treatment methods for ongoing shoulder pain. Less invasive options include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications or injections, or simply resting until the pain subsides. You may need to undergo certain medical procedures if the pain persists or worsens over time. Surgical treatments for shoulder pain include arthroscopy, open shoulder surgery, shoulder resurfacing, and replacement.
Don’t Miss: Does Chamomile Tea Help With Stomach Pain
What Is The Treatment Of Severe Shoulder Pain At Night
The goal of treating people with severe night pain is to limit the inflammation within the shoulder, and more specifically, within the subacromial bursa. For most of you, this will be a temporary issue. Short term anti-inflammatory medications, perhaps an injection, and physical therapy, will have you sleeping well again in a few weeks. For some of you, the pain will persist, despite these often effective modalities.
Its the middle of the night, and youre having a hard time getting to or staying asleep. A combination of these treatments below can help ease your pain:
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 back or stomach 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 stretches or exercises 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.
Don’t Miss: Is Heat Or Ice Good For Nerve Pain