The shoulder joint joins the arm with the rest of the body. Therefore, this area acquires the necessary mobility to perform different functions with the upper limb. Many patients come to the doctor’s office for shoulder pain when sleeping. It is a common ailment, and most sufferers attribute it to poor sleep or problems with the mattress or pillow.
Although all this can influence or aggravate the existing symptoms, it should be clear that in a large number of cases, it is due to problems with the rotator cuff. In this FastlyHealarticle, you will learn about the causes of shoulder pain when sleeping and how to relieve it.
Table of Contents
What is the rotator cuff?
In the shoulder joint, a group of muscles and tendons converge, which join the bones that make up this joint; they are what give it movement and stability. Injury to the tendons can cause overuse tears.
Its proper use will prevent the appearance of injuries that hinder its normal functioning in the performance of any daily physical activity.
Shoulder pain when sleeping: causes
Shoulder pain when sleeping can be due to several causes, including:
- Rotator cuff problems are the leading cause of shoulder pain when sleeping. In the shoulder area, a group of muscles and tendons are responsible for giving mobility to the arm.
- Tendinitis and tears: This type of injury occurs when a tendon detaches from the muscle due to excessive strain or damage to the power.
- Direct trauma to the shoulder joint that injures the rotator cuff. The characteristic of this injury is that the discomfort manifests itself at night and is usually very difficult to bear.
Other risk factors can cause shoulder pain when sleeping, such as:
- Age: as one advances in age, the risk of injuring the shoulder joint increases due to an alteration in the rotator cuff.
- Some sports practice: some athletes perform repetitive exercises at the level of the upper limbs, such as those who play baseball or tennis, which increases the risk of rotator cuff injury.
- Performance in construction, carpentry, or painting jobs: These professionals must perform repetitive movements with their arms, rising above the head, which increases the risk of injuring the rotator cuff.
- Improper postures: bad postures adopted when sleeping can aggravate shoulder and arm pain; this is seen more frequently in people who support the entire weight of the body on the arm during sleep.
- Stress, anxiety, and depression: These mood swings can cause shoulder pain when sleeping due to the accumulation of tension that the person may have in the shoulder and neck area, which is released more frequently at night or during moments of rest.
- The use of mattresses that, over the years, have lost their anatomical support due to wear can cause discomfort when sleeping, causing pain in the shoulder and back.
Shoulder pain when sleeping: symptoms
The symptoms that characterize this alteration are the following:
- Presence of deep, dull pain in the shoulder.
- Alteration in sleep rhythm, especially when sleeping on a painful shoulder.
- Difficulty combing your hair, dressing, or touching your back.
- Arm weakness.
How to relieve shoulder pain when sleeping – medical treatment
When shoulder pain appears when sleeping, you should go to the traumatologist, who is a specialist in this matter, he will be in charge of requesting the following studies according to the symptoms you present:
- Simple X-ray of the shoulder.
- Shoulder MRI.
- Shoulder ultrasound.
Once the diagnosis is made, pharmacological treatment will be indicated to alleviate the symptoms of this alteration; among these are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation. The latter is of great help to determine in 3 months the definitive treatment to follow in case the injury has not been reversed. Another treatment used is infiltration in cases of shoulder pain due to mild tendon injury.
Suppose the pain persists, in addition to the indicated treatment. In that case, the specialist will decide if your particular case needs a surgical intervention to end the pain in the shoulder when sleeping.
Other recommendations to relieve shoulder pain when sleeping
- It is recommended to sleep in an articulated bed or in a chair with a reclining backrest to be located in a semi-sitting position; the latter allows to relieve pain and fall asleep.
- The application of cold with compression: this therapy is ideal in acute cases; it can be applied for 20 minutes every 4 or 6 hours. Ice should be used in cases where the injury is recent, and if it is a chronic injury, it is indicated to apply heat.
- It would help if you used a unique pillow that adapts to the anatomical position of your body; in this way, the pain will be relieved.
In the following article, you can see effective home remedies for shoulder pain.
How to prevent shoulder pain when sleeping
- The first recommendation to prevent this type of injury is to avoid repetitive movements so as not to overload the shoulder joint.
- Physical preparation is essential before starting a back-to-back activity, such as baseball, softball, football, or tennis. In these sports, the action is the arm throw.
- It is advisable to alternate sports practice to avoid injuring the joint and tendons or muscles surrounding it.
- It is essential to give the shoulder rest, especially in cases where the joint is overused.
The presence of pain in the shoulder when sleeping is a sign that something is happening in the joint, so looking for the cause of a specialist’s hand is vital for the resolution of the injury. Feel free to follow the recommendations to resolve shoulder pain when sleeping quickly.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Shoulder pain when sleeping: causes and how to relieve it, we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, joints and muscles .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.