Guide to sleeping without shoulder pain

Your Guide To Sleeping Without Shoulder Pain

Do you wake up in the middle of the night in severe pain? Do you notice that your shoulder hurts every morning? Your preferred sleeping position could be doing more damage than you realise. Continue reading as we dive into how your sleeping posture could be worsening your shoulder pain, and the practical steps you can be taking to remedy this problem.

For personalised injury advice, contact our team at Excel Body & Health today.

Can Your Sleeping Position Hurt Your Shoulder?

If you have a preexisting shoulder injury or spent your day doing activities that place stress on the shoulder, then the way that you sleep could be significantly exacerbating your discomfort. Certain positions and habits can lead to your shoulder bearing the brunt of your weight overnight – inarguably contributing to the pain you feel during the day.

More often than not, your sleeping position is not the sole culprit at play. Chances are, there is an underlying condition or injury causing you pain, but your sleep habits aren’t helping. Switching up your routine is a great way to help minimise pain and get better rest – but seeking treatment for the bigger issue at hand is an absolute must!

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What is a Rotator Cuff?

One area most commonly affected by your sleeping position is the rotator cuff. Any patient going through an issue in their rotator cuff, from acute injuries to long-term degeneration, needs to be hyper-aware of how they sleep. Sleep posture and positions can affect the rotator cuff and its healing, leading to pain that can sometimes be debilitating.

So, what exactly is the rotator cuff? This term refers to the group of muscles and tendons which wrap around your upper arm bone, essentially keeping it attached to the shoulder bland. This structure is key for mobility, allowing for your arm to rotate in different directions whilst also holding your shoulder in place. Damage to the rotator cuff can be extremely painful, but also significantly limit the motion and function of your arm.

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Building the Healthiest Sleep Routine

Taking tiny steps in your daily life to ease the stress on your shoulder can make a world of difference. Start by evaluating your sleep routine! Some of the biggest things to avoid is sleeping in any posture that puts weight on your injured shoulder. Avoid sleeping on that side, and instead position yourself so that your sore shoulder is aimed toward the ceiling. If you like to sleep on your tummy, avoid tucking your arms under your pillow – it may be comfortable, but you’ll feel the consequences in the morning! Try resting your arms down by your side.

Sleeping on your back is ideal! Limited pressure on the rotator cuff, and less chance of waking up in pain.

Before Bed
Before you call it a night, there are simple things you can be doing to promote better shoulder health and set yourself up for a good night’s sleep. Some things we recommend include resting your shoulder as much as possible, and avoiding aggravated movements such as carrying heavy things or reaching over your head. This will help avoid inflammation overnight. Using an ice pack before bed can also help minimise pain as you sleep.

In Bed
As we’ve covered, sleep posture is everything. However, once you’re asleep, you lose control of your body! Some practical steps to take to avoid rolling into an uncomfortable position include placing a pillow or rolled towel behind you. This helps stabilise the shoulder joint whilst also keeping you from rolling into a damaging position. You can also go to sleep hugging a pillow, which will keep your injured shoulder from slumping too far forward.

Plus, invest in a great pillow! Keeping your neck comfortable and supported ensures less strain goes on your shoulder.

In the Morning
Starting your day off with some stretches limits the likelihood of worsening your injury as you go about daily life. Strengthening your shoulder and its surrounding muscles promotes a healthier muscle and joint system, helping you on the road to recovery. Be sure to avoid any stretches that cause further pain or aggravate the injury.

Contact Excel Body & Health for Further Advice

Health advice isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. If you have a shoulder injury, or are simply noticing consistent pain every morning, don’t wait around for it to get worse. As great as following the above tips can be, nothing beats working with a healthcare provider who can offer a tailored, personalised treatment plan for your injury. Here at Excel Body & Health, we’ve helped countless patients heal and recover from a broad range of injuries. Reach out today to see how we can help you get back to the pain-free life you deserve.


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