It’s Monday morning at 7:00 AM and your alarm goes off. Time to get up and get ready for work. You reach over to turn off your alarm and notice a slight pain in your shoulder. That’s weird. So you get out of bed and reach your arms up to stretch, as you normally do, and… ouch! A sudden pain shoots through your shoulder. You try to raise your arm again – more pain.

You’re confused. You have no idea what could be causing this level of pain. No idea what you could have done to make it nearly impossible to raise your arm above your shoulder.

You think back to yesterday’s activities. You had a leisurely Sunday at home reading, took your dog for walk, and cooked a nice dinner for your family. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing that could cause this amount of shoulder pain.

You realize that when you went to bed, you were fine. What could have happened between then and now to cause this pain? Could it have been… the way you slept?

The answer is – absolutely yes.

If you’re someone with little to no history of shoulder pain, and have done nothing out of the ordinary that you can think of to cause this pain, and the pain seems to have come out of the blue after you woke up one morning – then the way you slept might be the culprit.

Why does sleeping cause shoulder pain?

Your sleeping position at night may be the cause of your shoulder pain. The sleeping position that’s most often responsible for shoulder pain is sleeping on your side.

Sleeping on your side can put extra stress on the shoulder, as it is bearing the weight of the rest of the body. This extra pressure may be the main cause of your shoulder pain, or it may be triggering an underlying cause of the pain that you may not be aware of, such as:

  • A rotator cuff injury
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Frozen shoulder

It’s possible to have one of the above issues without yet experiencing any noticeable symptoms, but when you sleep on your affected shoulder it puts on extra pressure that can exacerbate the pain.

What are the best sleeping positions to avoid shoulder pain?

The great news is that shoulder pain caused by sleeping on your side will likely improve within 48 hours (if it doesn’t, you should contact your physician and chiropractor to investigate other underlying causes of the pain).

The bad news is that shoulder pain caused by sleeping on your side can be intense, can reduce the mobility of your arms, and impact your day-to-day activities within those 24 hours. So finding a way to avoid this pain in the first place may be the best place for you to start. Here are some things to try:

  • Sleep on your back: Sleeping on your back is one of the best sleep positions to avoid shoulder pain. So if you can fall asleep (and stay asleep) on your back, this is your best bet.
  • Switch sides: If sleeping on your back is a struggle, the next best step is to avoid sleeping on your affected shoulder, and switch to sleeping on the opposite side.
  • Strategically place a pillow: To prevent yourself from accidentally rolling onto your affected shoulder while sleeping, consider placing a pillow in a way that will prevent you from moving in the night.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of shoulder pain caused by sleeping, or are unsure what is causing your shoulder pain, Cianci Chiropractic can help.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you’re experiencing symptoms of shoulder pain, schedule your appointment with Cianci Chiropractic today.