Shoulder Pain Sleeping on Side? 7 Liberating Tips

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Does shoulder pain wake you up at night?

When you get up, your arm is sore and the pain follows you through the day?

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body and is under constant stress due to our repetitive movements.

Of course, sleeping on one side on a regular basis does not help to temper this blockage.

The constant pressure can lead to inflammation of muscles and tendons.

But here you are, you suffer and don’t know why.

Do you want to know the cause of this pain and how to stop this discomfort?

Let’s find out how to get rid of stubborn shoulder pain.

Causes of shoulder pain

Several factors can cause shoulder pain.

Among the most frequent:

  • arthritis of the shoulder joint
  • swelling of the bursa deep in the shoulder
  • a rotator cuff tear
  • radiating pain coming from the neck

Shoulder osteoarthritis

Shoulder osteoarthritis is often the result of loss of cartilage and the formation of a bone spur.

The pain is intensely felt at night, and changing position does not reduce it because the inflammation is deep in the joint.

A cortisone injection is often proposed but the latest studies show that it severely damages the cartilage.

On the other hand, an injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP injection) or bone marrow concentrate can be effective.

In the worst case, severe shoulder osteoarthritis requires joint replacement.


Bursa swelling

It is actually the swelling of the shoulder joint lubrication sac.

Shoulder pain is more intense when the arm is placed under the head.

Here too, a cortisone injection can provide relief but risks damaging the tissues.

Physiotherapy may be indicated to relieve pain, and strengthen muscles and therefore joints.

If this fails, a PRP injection (platelet-rich plasma) into the shoulder may be considered.


The rotator cuff tear

A tear in the tendons used to stabilize and ensure movement of the shoulder is diagnosed.

The localized pain is more intense depending on the position and especially in the area affected by the tear.

A steroid injection may be offered but may cause tissue damage.

Physiotherapy may be indicated as a first-line treatment.

If treatment fails, plasma injection may be considered.


A pain coming from the neck

Irritated nerves or inflamed joints in the cervical vertebrae can cause shoulder pain.

The pain appears on the top or inside of the shoulder and may trigger tingling or numbness.

A change in the position of the head tends to lessen the pain.

A cortisone injection may be offered but may cause tissue damage.

Physiotherapy sessions can overcome this problem.

But if the treatment fails, a PRP injection can be considered.

pain neck shoulder


Premises of cancer?

Exceedingly rarely, shoulder pain can be a sign of a serious illness such as cancer.

In this case, the pain appearing at night does not react to any change in position.

Note that this symptom is very rare.

How to stop shoulder pain at night?

Solving a shoulder problem is difficult because it also controls our movements during sleep.


  • Your sleeping position

A concentration of weight on one side always generates pain.

This position can be the direct cause for a third of side sleepers who wake up with a stiff shoulder or numb arm.

A simple way to counter this problem is to become aware of your sleeping position(s).

By introducing an accessory like a body pillow (#ad), you will manage to reduce pressure on your shoulders while keeping your hips in a natural alignment.


  • Change your pillow

A pillow that is too high or too low can even cause shoulder pain.

If it is too high, pressure is exerted on the cervical vertebrae and triggers constant pain.

If it is too low, the shoulder is crushed by the weight of the body when you sleep on your side.

We don’t think about it, but an ill-fitting pillow can cause a lot of pain in the neck, shoulders, and back.

So choose an ergonomic and adjustable pillow like this (#ad), which allows you to find the height that suits you perfectly and that is not too firm so as not to exert very harmful pressure.


  • The condition of your mattress

Similar to the pillow, aging bedding, a mattress hollowed out by the weight of the body, and a slack bed base, create areas of tension in the body and diffuse pain.

A sleeping position that does not respect the alignment of the spine will generate many unexpected pains.

Change your bedding, choose a slatted base for perfect support of the spine and a quality memory foam mattress with ergonomic areas like this (#ad).


  • Sleep on your back

Another way to deal with this nighttime pain is to eliminate that shoulder pressure altogether by trying to sleep on your back.

This eliminates any shoulder strain while maintaining proper body alignment.

Note that although sleeping on your back is beneficial for preventing back and neck pain, this position is contraindicated if you suffer from sleep disorders and/or sleep apnea.


  • Do some stretching

Regular stretching before bed is a great way to both ease pain and help you sleep more relaxed.

This relaxation is beneficial for relaxing muscles and tendons before your night’s sleep.


  • Yoga

Practicing a few yoga positions to act on the cervical vertebrae can relieve shoulder pain.

The cervical and the shoulder are very connected, so much so that relaxing and stretching these vertebrae allows you to struggle on the shoulder joint.

  • Electrotherapy to relieve you

Using a pain relief device like this (#ad) can be very beneficial for the shoulder.

TENS function deeply treats chronic pain through neurostimulation.

EMS function is indicated for muscle stimulation before or after exercise.

This gives you a non-invasive way to treat pain while sending different signals to the brain that allows it to react differently to pain.

It also helps produce endorphins, that natural painkiller that our body makes.

exercise to relieve shoulder pain

Shoulder pain on waking

There is nothing worse than waking up with a sharp pain in your shoulder and a feeling of stiffness in your neck.

It often takes time to realize that this pain is caused by an unsuitable pillow or poorly ergonomic bedding.

It can be quickly relieved by making a few changes for a more comfortable night’s sleep.

And if, despite these changes, the pain persists, practicing some stretching or some specific yoga positions associated with electrotherapy sessions can put a definitive end to localized pain in the shoulder at night or in the morning.

Read also:

How to relieve neck pain?

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"Natural health is essential to me; I've always relied on natural remedies alongside traditional medicine."

"The content of this article is not intended to replace medical advice or any treatment."

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