Tips for Sleeping with Shoulder Pain

09:15 Wed 12th Jul 2017 |

This is a guest article written by Frank Apodaca. Frank is the lead editor of The Sleep Judge, a site that provides hands-on bedding reviews on mattresses, toppers and other bedding products. You can follow The Sleep Judge on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.


Disclaimer: The information provided here should not replace the advice of a medical professional or be used for "definitive" diagnosis. If you are in need of medical attention please contact your GP or out-of-hours doctor. if you need help finding this information, please visit this page.


Having pain while trying to sleep is difficult all around, yet there is something special and unique about shoulder pain. Maybe it’s because nearly 75% of us sleep on our side, but a good majority of people suffer from shoulder pain. Many times, when people are suffering from shoulder pain while sleeping, it has something to do with the rotator cuff, which is the medical term for the group of bones, tendons, and bursa sacks that make up our shoulders.


Whatever the core issue of your shoulder pain is, there are certain methods and practices you can take when lying down to sleep that should ease that shoulder pain.


Stomach up

While lying on your stomach may seem appealing to those with shoulder pain, that position is actually as bad as sleeping directly on your shoulder. The reason for this is that even though you might think you are giving your shoulder freedom, on your back is the only way to truly stabilize those shoulders, which is important when suffering from shoulder pain.


Just remember, if you choose to sleep on your back you don’t want to do any injury to your spine from arching your back too much. If you keep your knees somewhat bent with a pillow beneath them this position might help your shoulder.


Get a new mattress

Of course, we realize that heading out to purchase a new piece of furniture like a mattress isn’t as easy as some readers as it is for others. Yet, if you are sleeping on an old dilapidated mattress maybe it’s time to make an investment in your wellbeing.


There is no denying sleep in important for your health and, if the lumps and bumps in your current mattress are aggravating the problems you already have in your shoulder, this may be the step for you. If this solution sounds like something you are considering there is a good guide on mattresses for shoulder pain at The Sleep Judge.


Pillows are your friend

Besides putting a pillow underneath your knees while sleeping on your back, there are many other areas that a pillow can be helpful when ridding yourself of shoulder pain. You can put one under your bad shoulder when you are sleeping on your back as well as put one under your neck so that you aren’t injuring that area while trying to fix another.


If you need to sleep on your side, make sure to sleep on the good shoulder and hug a pillow. This should put your hurt shoulder in a more natural position while sleeping. Also, putting a pillow between your knees isn’t a bad idea either. This will ease the pressure on your back and hips by aligning your spine naturally.


Moderate the toss and turn

Maybe you are the kind of person who falls asleep on their back only to find themselves on the other side of the bed in a new position. That’s fine, but you might be flopping around in ways that are hurting your shoulder. When tossing in the night, try to be conscious of your movements and be aware of the need to stabilize those shoulders.


Also, if the tossing and turning you do is less than gentle, odds are those movements are causing further pain. Be gentle with yourself and your manoeuvres.


Check your neck

How about the pillow that goes under your head, is your neck elevated to an unnatural position? Many of our aches and pains are related and the neck and shoulders are no strangers. In fact, many folks think they have shoulder pain only to realize the problem has been in their neck the entire time.


If you are not keeping your neck in a natural position when you are sleeping you might be pinching nerves in your neck that ultimately lead to your shoulder. So, finding a pillow that can not only cause minimal injury to your neck but can help you sleep just might help your shoulder. It is suggested you use a low pillow and not arch your neck too much.


Another way to take care is to roll up a small towel and put it underneath your neck. It will give your body the added support you might need.


See your doctor

Of course, if your shoulder pain is giving you so much trouble you are finding it difficult to sleep it might be time to pay the doctor a visit. There are physical therapy options and other non-medical choices like chiropractic practices and acupuncture. Icing the pain can help as well.


There are many reasons why your shoulder might be hurting you, from frozen shoulder to a joint disorder and it is never a good reason to self-diagnose. Seeing the doctor is always a great option.


Here at The AnswerBank we are dedicated to providing our readers with a community of like-minded folks to help answer their questions. If you are still looking for other options for sleeping with shoulder pain, put your questions out to The AnswerBank community in our Health & Fitness section.

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