Best Sleeping Position For Shoulder Pain

Written by in Sleep Health

Best Sleeping Position For Shoulder Pain

There are many reasons why you may suffer from shoulder pain. Many times, it is due to an improper sleeping position and a bad night’s sleep. When you can’t find the right position for sleeping, you often toss and turn and sleep will elude you.
Sleeping Position For Shoulder Pain
This article sums up the best sleeping positions for shoulder pain. If you want to find the best sleeping positions, keep on reading.

Sleeping on Your Back

Sleeping on your back is only practiced by 8% of the population. Yet, it is one of the most effective positions to decrease shoulder pain. This position supports the neck, head, and spine. It allows your body to lie in a neutral and stress-free posture. Sleeping on your back allows your shoulders to relax, as they are not being compressed in different directions. If you already experience shoulder pain and are a back sleeper, place a pillow in your armpit area. This positioning helps with alleviating shoulder pain, as the pillow prevents the sleeper from leaning on their shoulders during sleep.
A pillow under your head must also be the right thickness. It shouldn’t cause you to bend your neck up to the ceiling or tuck your chin downwards. You should consider the placement of your neck and head while you sleep because both of them have interconnected muscles. If your neck suffers from a lot of physical pressure, your shoulders will suffer as well.
Sleeping Position For Shoulder Pain
In case sleeping on your back doesn’t help your shoulder pain, try adding another pillow beneath the arm of the same side of your sore shoulder. This will eliminate any pressure from your shoulder. This assists in its healing by preventing you from leaning on it. Learning to sleep on your back can take some time, but it’s well worth it. You can further help your body to adjust to this new sleeping habit by placing pillows your sides.

Sleeping on Your Afflicted Shoulder

When you are used to a particular sleeping position, it’s hard to train your body to adapt to a new one. There’s nothing wrong with having a consistent sleeping position, per se,  especially if your default position is sleeping on your back. It is still considered the most ideal option for sleep. However, when you develop shoulder pain, some experts actually recommend sleeping on your sore shoulder. It’s a great and effective technique to alleviate the pain.
To position yourself to sleep on your sore shoulder, turn to your side, and place a pillow beneath your mid-hips and back. Some individuals have a wider pelvis than their shoulders, so placing an extra pillow will balance out the position of the body and support restful sleep. Since your body is now lifted, you need to place an additional pillow beneath your head. This sleeping position can provide great comfort and relief to your problem area. It also helps your spine to align correctly, which is great for your posture. If the pain continues, you can place a towel in addition to the pillow under your mid-back for additional support.
Another option that you can try is to roll back or lean. This places the additional pressure on your shoulder blade, and not on the painful part of the shoulder. You can do this by putting a pillow behind your back to maintain the place. Lastly, place another pillow in between your legs – positioned near your pelvis. This will prevent you from turning while you sleep.

Sleeping with Your Painful Shoulder Elevated or the “Floating Position”

Put a pillow on top of your stomach, so it looks like you are cuddling it, and add another push-up pillow in your armpit area. This can provide optimum support and restrict any pressure on the shoulder. You may feel like you are sleeping in a floating position. Most importantly, you want to ensure that your hand or elbow are not resting too high. This can prevent proper blood flow and cause numbness. To add the final touch to this sleeping position, put a pillow between your legs, and place it on your upper hip. This last step is vital because it releases the stress from the pelvis and keeps the body in a neutral position during sleep. This position also helps the pelvis, spine, and shoulders straighten up to achieve a restful slumber.

Important Factors to Consider when Sleeping

If you have been suffering from shoulder pain, sleeping in the correct position contributes greatly towards its healing. Experts suggest the best sleeping positions for you to try out:

  • Sleeping on your back
  • Sleeping on your afflicted shoulder
  • Sleeping with your painful shoulder elevated
  • Sleeping in a zero-gravity bed

Any of these sleeping positions should help take away some of the pain in your shoulder, and it will also prevent neck and back strains. Find out which sleeping position suits you best.

Treating Body Pain with the Proper Sleeping Position

For Back Pain
If you love to sleep on your back, the arch in your lower back may heighten the pressure on your spine. To avoid this, slightly bend your knees in an upward position. Place several pillows down your knees to keep you anchored. Sleeping on your side is a better position that can effectively provide relief for back pain. It maintains the spine in its proper straight alignment. Avoid curling up too much while you sleep, instead keep your body straight from spine to the neck down. Placing a pillow in between your knees can also add additional comfort to achieve a relaxing sleep.
For Shoulder Pain
If you lean too much on your painful shoulder, it will afflict additional pain to the area. This is why experts always suggest avoiding putting pressure on your painful shoulder. The key to address this is by keeping the spine in a naturally arched posture while sleeping. To do this, slightly rotate the shoulders backward or forward. You can also place additional pillows to keep your body in a comfortable sleeping position all night.
Sleeping Position For Shoulder Pain
For Neck Pain
Sleeping on your back is an excellent sleeping position. However, it could still get better by adding rolled up hand towel underneath your neck for support. You can put the towel inside your pillowcase to keep it in place. You need to ensure that the pillow is at least 4 to six inches thick to stop the neck and head from tossing and turning to the sides.
Other Solution Aside from Adjusting Your Sleeping Position. Sleep position is not the only factor that afflicts muscle pain, shoulder pain, and neck strain. Sleep itself can play a major role in pain. Research shows that after one night of poor sleep, the parts of the brain that affect pain were heightened. While those that kept pain at bay were less active.[1]

Why It Pays To Sleep With An Adjustable Bed

Many people find comfort sleeping in a recliner or adjustable bed compared to a regular bed. Recliners support proper spine alignment that eases night stress and provides a healthy sleep. Also, an adjustable bed negates the need for several pillows. This eliminates the constant need to readjust pillows while trying to sleep.
Sleeping Position For Shoulder Pain

Wrapping Everything Up

We all know the importance of sleep. Develop good sleep hygiene. Make it a habit to sleep at least eight hours at night. Train your body to adopt a good sleeping position to help release all the stress and pressure that your body has collected throughout the day. In case your discomfort continues, take the time to investigate the source for your pain and the possible need for professional treatment. Physical therapy can treat pain using hands-on exercises that will increase your strength and flexibility.
Getting up every morning can be hard, so don’t make it even harder by waking up with body pain. Before considering over-the-counter pain medication, consider your sleeping position first and foremost. Nevertheless, consult a physician if you suspect that there is something more to your shoulder pain.