Is Your Shoulder Pain Affecting Your Sleep?

It is awful when you are exhausted but as soon as you lie down you cannot get comfortable due to terrible shoulder pain.  Shoulder pain at night is not uncommon, and finding out how to get comfortable from that shoulder pain can be difficult.  Knowing what causes your shoulder pain will help you know how to fix it so you can start sleeping with no pain.  

The position you sleep in can put extra weight on your shoulders which could be the cause of your pain.  Side sleeping puts stress on your neck and shoulder muscles this can lead to tension headaches or the pain in the scalene muscle attached to shoulders and spine.  With extra stress on the scalene muscle you could have tingling, pain, or even weakness in your arms.  

Having a shoulder injury can also cause you pain during sleep.  Shoulder injuries could include a rotator cuff injury.  This is when the tendons around your shoulder become inflamed or torn.  Rotator cuff injuries can happen from falling, or lifting a heavy object.  It is also a common sports injury in sports such as baseball or tennis.  Rotator cuff pain can also come just from overusing your shoulder.  You can suffer from a dull ache or deep pain, and pain when you use your rotator cuff.  If it goes untreated you could also suffer from stiffness, or loss of motion.  

Injuries and sleeping position aren’t the only causes for sore shoulders.  You could have shoulder bursitis, which is when the bursae, a fluid filled sac around your joint becomes inflamed.  This is usually caused for overuse of your shoulder causing aching, tenderness, pain with movement, pain with pressure, stiffness, swelling and redness.  Osteoarthritis can also cause pain.  This is one of the most common joint disorders.  It is caused from the cartilage around your shoulder wearing down around the joint.  This is more common in older patients, if you are female, or if you have a family history of osteoarthritis.  Osteoarthritis causes pain, aching, stiffness, and a clicking noise with movement.  Another common cause of shoulder pain is frozen shoulder.  This is when the connective tissues around your shoulder start to thicken, this causes a decrease in movement and stiffness.  It happens to people with diabetes, or if you have to have your shoulder immobilized for a long period of time.  There are three different stages of frozen shoulder, the first being pain with movement, the second stage your shoulder starts to stiffen and you lose loss of movement, then the third the shoulder starts to thaw and motion slowly starts to return. 

Since there are so many different causes of shoulder pain finding out what is causing the pain can help you determine what you need to do to fix.  Sometimes the easiest thing to look at is how you are sleeping.  Switching up your sleeping position can help ease some of your pain.  Another easy fix is looking at your pillow and mattress.  Investing in a certain pillow if you are a side sleeper, back sleeper, or stomach sleeper will help you not put extra stress on your muscles while you are sleeping.  A thicker pillow is more apt to people who want to be side sleepers because it will help support your neck and take some of your body weight off your shoulder.  Also looking into a better mattress.  Memory foam mattresses that contour to your body can be ideal for side sleepers.  The memory foam allows your weight to sink into the mattress alleviating some of the pressure put on your shoulders during sleep.  Putting a towel under the small of your back or an extra pillow between your legs can also support good laying posture in bed to help your body ease off some weight on your shoulders.  Try having a good nighttime routine.  A calm consistent routine will also help with your quality of sleep.   

If you have an injury on your shoulder, taking over the counter pain relievers can help or getting a cortisone shot.  Other options could even include doing some physical therapy to help strengthen and stretch your shoulder.  Stretching your shoulder, neck and back before bed could also be beneficial.  Exercise without overusing.  

Shoulder pain at night can cause more tossing and turning.  If you think you have an underlying shoulder condition or injury go to your doctor to get checked out.  Treating that underlying condition or injury could be the first step in getting better sleep at night.  Stretching and trying out some different pillows could also be the trick to alleviating your pain.  Teach yourself a new sleeping position or is it time to splurge on a new mattress so you get better sleep?  A good home remedy you can also try is to Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation to help your pain.  Sleeping position could be the culprit but if you suspect something else is going on make sure you reach out to your doctor.  


Side sleeping puts stress on your neck and shoulder muscles this can lead to tension headaches or the pain in the scalene muscle attached to shoulders and spine.


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