Do you feel anxious when you lie in bed? Maybe a stabbing pain in your shoulder? If so, it’s time to learn about the best sleep positions for shoulder pain. We can all agree, shoulder pain is no joke. It’s one of the most common causes of upper-back discomfort, affecting up to 80% of adults. The good news is that there are many effective ways to relieve it. Try the following tips if you suffer from shoulder pain:
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- Sleep on your side
- Why Sleep Positions Matter
- Avoid using your old pillow
- Don’t sleep with your back flat
- The Best Sleep Positions for Shoulder Pain
- Try sleeping in a soft-sided roll-away cot
- Other Tips for Alleviating Shoulder Pain at Night
- Use supportive pillows to help relieve pain
- Avoid pressure on your shoulder
Sleep on your side
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There’s been a lot of research on the benefits of sleeping on one’s side. Why? Well, one of the most common reasons for shoulder pain is sleeping on one’s back. When we lie on our backs, we put pressure on our shoulders as well as our neck and upper back.
By switching to a side sleeper, we relieve pressure on our neck and upper back and avoid irritating any arthritic joints.
In addition, side sleepers have been found to have reduced arterial stiffness, which means that their blood flow is improved. This can help with a number of conditions, including shoulder pain.
Why Sleep Positions Matter
Before we dive into the best sleep positions for shoulder pain, let’s take a moment to understand why sleep positions matter. When we sleep, our bodies need to be in a comfortable and supportive position that allows our muscles to relax and our joints to rest. If we sleep in a position that puts pressure on our shoulders, it can exacerbate existing shoulder pain or even cause new pain to develop.
Avoid using your old pillow
Pillows are designed to support our head and neck in an optimal position. It’s a bit odd that we use the same pillow for our heads and shoulders, but we do. If your shoulder pain is caused by using a pillow for your shoulder, then you should try to avoid it.
The issue is that your shoulder is at an elevated angle when you sleep and so you will be putting increased pressure on your shoulder joints if you use a pillow. Keep in mind, though, that an elevated pillow may cause neck pain.
So, what do you do? The best solution is to use a smaller pillow to support your head and neck at a lower angle. This will help you to avoid shoulder pain.
Don’t sleep with your back flat
When you sleep on your back, you are most likely to put pressure on your shoulder. Now, this makes sense because your shoulder and neck joints are in a bent position when you lie flat. The best solution is to switch to a side sleep position.
By sleeping on your side, you will be avoiding the pressure that sleeping on your back causes. In addition, side sleepers have been found to have a better blood flow and less arterial stiffness, both of which can help to reduce pain.
Also, sleeping on your back with a small pillow between your shoulder blades may help reduce rotator cuff pain, or shoulder pain, or both. The discomfort you experience while sleeping on your back alone often leads to morning shoulder pain.
To keep the area between your shoulders raised, keep them in their natural curves by avoiding resting on your back.
The Best Sleep Positions for Shoulder Pain
Sleep on your back with a pillow under your shoulder
Sleeping on your back is generally considered to be the best sleep position for shoulder pain. It allows your body to be in a neutral position, which means there is no extra pressure on your shoulder joint. To make this position even more comfortable, try placing a pillow under your affected shoulder. This will help support your shoulder and keep it in a stable position throughout the night.
Sleep on your side with a pillow between your arms
If you prefer to sleep on your side, try placing a pillow between your arms. This will help keep your shoulders in a neutral position and prevent your top shoulder from rotating forward. It’s important to use a supportive pillow that will keep your head and neck in alignment with your spine. If you find that your shoulder is still uncomfortable, try switching to the other side and repeating the pillow placement.
Sleep on your stomach with a pillow under your chest
Sleeping on your stomach is generally not recommended for shoulder pain sufferers, as it can put extra pressure on your shoulders and neck. However, if you find that you can only sleep in this position, try placing a pillow under your chest. This will help take some of the pressure off your shoulders and prevent your head and neck from twisting unnaturally.
Modify your sleeping position with a wedge pillow
If you find that you’re still struggling to get comfortable, consider investing in a wedge pillow. These pillows are designed to elevate your upper body, which can help take pressure off your shoulders and prevent pain. You can place the wedge pillow under your upper back or shoulders, depending on your preference. Just make sure that the angle is comfortable and supportive for your body.
Try sleeping in a soft-sided roll-away cot
A roll away cot is the most popular piece of bedroom furniture in the United States. If you’re one of those people who sleep on one, there are a few things that you can try.
First, get a soft mattress to sleep on. A hard mattress may cause your shoulder pain.
Second, reconsider sleeping in a roll-away bed. If you’re having pain when you sleep, it may be a sign that you need to switch to a different sleeping position. Roll-away cots are a great alternative. Portable cots are small beds that can be rolled away when not in use.
They’re a great option for people who have difficulty moving around or who have trouble getting out of bed. In addition, they’re great for people who have shoulder pain.
When you sleep in a roll-away cot, your body is angled at a more comfortable angle and you avoid putting extra pressure on your shoulder.
Other Tips for Alleviating Shoulder Pain at Night
In addition to finding the best sleep position for your shoulder pain, there are a few other things you can do to help alleviate discomfort at night.
Use heat or ice therapy
Applying heat or ice to your shoulder can help reduce pain and inflammation. You can use a heating pad or hot water bottle to apply heat, or a cold pack or ice pack to apply cold. Just make sure to wrap the pack in a towel before applying it to your skin.
Stretch before bed
Stretching before bed can help loosen up tight muscles and reduce pain. Try some gentle shoulder stretches, like shoulder rolls or arm circles, before getting into bed.
Choose the right mattress and pillows
Your mattress and pillows can play a big role in your overall comfort at night. Make sure your mattress is supportive and not too firm or too soft. Your pillows should be supportive and keep your head and neck in alignment with your spine.
Practice good sleep hygiene
Good sleep hygiene habits can help you get a better night’s sleep and reduce pain. This includes going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
Seek medical advice
If you’re experiencing persistent shoulder pain at night, it’s important to seek medical advice. Your doctor can help diagnose the cause of your pain and recommend appropriate treatment options, which may include physical therapy, medications, or surgery.
Use supportive pillows to help relieve pain
While you may think that you’re doing yourself a favor by putting pressure on your shoulder, it’s actually causing a lot of pain and discomfort. You may be trying to sleep while in the same position.
This can cause the muscles in your shoulder to spasm and be in a very painful position. In this case, you may want to try using a supportive pillow to help you relax. You can also use this method if you find that you keep tossing and turning in bed.
This will allow you to relax and avoid putting pressure on your shoulder joints.
Avoid pressure on your shoulder
If you have pain, it’s especially important that you avoid putting pressure on your shoulder. This could include sleeping with a pillow under your shoulder, sleeping on your stomach, or sleeping on your side.
Try to switch to a side sleep position if you find that you keep putting pressure on your shoulder. If you’re sleeping on your stomach, try to sleep on your side. Also, it’s best to avoid using a pillow for your shoulder.
If you feel the need to use one, try to put less pressure on your shoulder. You may also want to try a new sleep position.
There are many effective ways to relieve shoulder pain, including sleeping on your side, avoiding pressure on your shoulder, and switching to a side sleep position. If you keep sleeping in a certain position, you may end up hurting yourself.
It’s important to switch up your sleeping positions and try new ways of relaxing to avoid pain. It may take some trial and error, but it’s worth it in the long run. Shoulder pain isn’t something to be taken lightly.
Fortunately, it’s a common condition that can be easily resolved with a few simple adjustments. Whether you suffer from pain while sleeping, while lifting, while exercising, or while doing everyday tasks, there are several ways to ease your pain.
Claudia Faucher is a full-time fitness training expert and lifestyle blogger. She is also been a certified Les Mills BodyPump instructor for the past 5 years and a fitness instructor for over 20 years. Claudia is a personal trainer and creates fitness training programs for seniors and people of all ages. She likes to use her skills and experiences to help others on their fitness journeys.
Last update on 2023-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API