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Shoulder Pain During Sleep: Causes and Solutions - Megafurniture

Shoulder Pain During Sleep: Causes and Solutions

Shoulder pain is a common issue that most of us experience, especially when we have such a long day and get too physically active at our job. But do you think waking up in the middle of the night with a specific pressure on your shoulder that gives you pain is normal?

Shoulder pain during the night can disrupt your rest and leave you feeling tired and irritable during the day. It may also affect your productivity or give you a long-term health condition. From staying active and healthy during the day to using the proper type of mattress and pillows, let us discuss the possible causes and solutions for shoulder pain to restore your restful night’s sleep.


What Are the Common Causes of Shoulder Pain During Sleep?

person with shoulder pain during sleep

We often experience shoulder pain if we do too many physical activities involving our shoulders. From sports, workouts, or exercise to carrying heavy backpacks, we can quickly pinpoint what causes our shoulder pain. However, waking up in the middle of the night because of frustrating shoulder pain often leaves us wondering about its underlying causes. But we explore the common causes of shoulder pain during sleep and wrap it up for your reference:

  • Sleeping Position. Sleeping on your side without proper support can put pressure on your shoulder joints, leading to discomfort. Similarly, sleeping on your stomach can twist your shoulders unnaturally, causing strain.
  • Poor Pillow Support. Using the wrong pillow or not enough pillows can also contribute to shoulder pain.
  • Mattress firmness. Believe it or not, your mattress could be the culprit behind your shoulder woes. A mattress that’s too firm may not contour to your body’s natural curves, leading to pressure points and discomfort, while a mattress that’s too soft might not provide enough support.
  • Previous Injuries. If you've injured your shoulder in the past, even in minor incidents, the pain may resurface during sleep because your body relaxes during sleep, allowing old injuries to become more noticeable.
  • Frozen Shoulder Syndrome. This condition, medically known as adhesive capsulitis, causes stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint, and the discomfort may worsen at night when you're lying still for an extended period, exacerbating the symptoms.


How to Treat Shoulder Pain During Sleep

treating shoulder pain due to sleep

Fortunately, if your shoulder pain only occurs at night and does not affect your overall well-being, it can be treated at home without seeing a doctor. For instance, start your inspection with your sleeping environment, especially your mattress, pillows, and sleeping position, and evaluate how they relieve your shoulder at night.


Invest in a High-quality Mattress

Did you know that your mattress is one of the key factors in treating your shoulder pain at night? It is because mattresses provide the foundation for proper spinal alignment and support. When you lie down to sleep, your mattress should accommodate your body's natural curves, including your shoulders, to distribute pressure evenly and prevent strain.

  • A mattress that is too firm may create pressure points, particularly on the shoulders.
  • A mattress that is too soft may fail to support them, leading to misalignment and discomfort.

Additionally, types of mattresses can also greatly influence their ability to alleviate shoulder pain because different mattress materials offer varying levels of support and comfort, which can impact how well they relieve pressure on the shoulders. Here are some common types of mattresses and their potential effects on shoulder pain:

Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam mattresses can contour to the body’s shape, providing personalised support and pressure relief that can help distribute weight evenly, which may reduce pressure points on the shoulder and alleviate pain.

Latex Mattress

Latex mattresses offer similar contouring properties to memory foam. They can provide excellent support while allowing some degree of movement because of their excellent motion isolation, which is perfect if you have a partner. You must change positions during the night without disturbing your partner's sleep.

Innerspring Mattresses

Traditional innerspring mattresses use coil systems for support, and while they may offer good overall support, they might not contour closely to your body's curves, which may lead to increased pressure on your shoulders.

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses combine both worlds of mattresses (memory foam, latex, and innerspring). They often feature pocketed coils for support and layers of foam for pressure relief, making them a good option for relief from shoulder pain.


Use Pillows to Support Your Shoulder

Did you know that using a pillow to support your shoulder can reduce discomfort and promote better alignment? Here's why it matters and how to do it right:

  • Placing a pillow under your shoulder helps align your spine with the rest of your body, reducing strain and preventing awkward positions that can lead to pain.
  • If you’re a side sleeper, placing a pillow between your arm and your body can help support your shoulder and prevent it from collapsing inward.
  • The height of your pillow matters, too, and it should be tall enough to fill the space between your head and the mattress but not so thick that it tilts your head upward or downward.
  • Look for a pillow to support side-sleepers or those with shoulder pain. For example, memory foam pillows or those with contoured shapes can provide targeted support and help alleviate pressure points.


Try Adjusting Your Sleep Position

Here are some sleep positions that may help with shoulder pain:

  • Lie flat on your back with a pillow under your head and neck to maintain proper alignment and reduce pressure on your shoulders.
  • If you prefer sleeping on your side, try keeping your arms down by your sides rather than underneath your head or pillow to reduce stress on your shoulders.
  • If one shoulder is particularly painful, try to avoid putting weight on that side while sleeping and adjust your sleep position to favour the unaffected shoulder to reduce discomfort and promote healing.

Try to experiment with these sleep positions to find what works best to alleviate shoulder pain. Remember, listening to your body and making adjustments as needed to ensure you're comfortable throughout the night is essential.

When to Seek Professional Help

treating shoulder pain professionally

If your shoulder pain persists or worsens, consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment recommendations. Here are some signs indicating it's time to seek medical assistance for shoulder pain:

  • If shoulder pain persists for over a few days despite rest, home remedies, or over-the-counter pain medications.
  • Intense or severe shoulder pain that limits your ability to move the affected arm or perform daily activities.
  • If your shoulder appears swollen, red, or inflamed.
  • If you have trouble moving your shoulder or notice a loss of range of motion.
  • If your shoulder pain disrupts your sleep or worsens at night.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it's advisable to schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate treatment recommendation. Keep in mind that early intervention can help prevent complications and promote optimal recovery. 

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