If you often wake up in the morning with shoulder pain, it is crucial to find the root of your problem and take action. For many people, the shoulder pain culprit could be as simple as your sleeping position and the pillow you use. If this is the case, it’s time to change your sleeping habits. Keep reading to learn about the best sleeping positions and the pillow you should use to alleviate your shoulder pain.
Possible Medical Reasons for Your Shoulder Pain
Before we dive deeper into the best sleeping positions and choosing the right pillow, let’s first see what possible medical reasons there are for your shoulder pain. If you’re experiencing some of the following symptoms, you should consider seeing a doctor and start with the treatment.
1. Rotator Cuff Injury
If you feel a dull ache or if your pain gets worse with some movements, one of the possible reasons can be an injury to the rotator cuff. First of all, a rotator cuff is a collection of tendons surrounding your shoulder joint. An injury may stem from some abrupt and heavy lifting or participating in sports that include frequent use of the shoulder joint. If this has been your case, and the pain won’t disappear, you should see a doctor.
2. Shoulder Bursitis
Another possible cause of shoulder pain is shoulder bursitis. Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that help cushion the tissues around your joints. An injury may be present if you feel pain when pressure is applied to this area, like when lying down, or have stiffness, swelling, or redness. In most cases, repetitive actions using the shoulder are the cause of this injury.
3. Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
When soft tissues around your rotator cuff rub on nearby tissue or bone as you move your arm, this is called shoulder impingement syndrome. Some of the symptoms of this syndrome are pain that’s located on the top or outer part of your shoulder or pain that becomes worse when lifting your arm or during night’s sleep.
4. Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder
Shoulder osteoarthritis can naturally come with age, but it can also result from some previous shoulder injury. When the cartilage that provides cushioning between your bones breaks down, that is when osteoarthritis happens. Symptoms can be stiffness or loss of range of motion, or grinding or clicking sounds when you move your shoulder.
5. Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder occurs when the connective tissue in your shoulder joint thickens, which can affect movement. It is not known what the cause of a frozen shoulder is, but symptoms happen at three stages. First, you feel pain with movement and less motion. Then, the pain becomes weaker, but the shoulder becomes stiffer with less mobility. With time, the motion will start to improve.
Best Sleeping Positions for Shoulder Pain
If you have eliminated all of the previously mentioned causes, your shoulder pain may be coming from your sleeping position. Just as your posture during the day affects your back, neck, and shoulders, so does the way you sleep. For example, sleeping on your stomach puts pressure on your back, neck, and shoulders and can result in you waking up with pain. So, stomach sleepers, it’s time to roll over! Here are some of the best sleeping positions for your shoulder pain.
1. Sleep on your back
Sleeping on your back is the best way to a pain-free shoulder. In this way, the weight is evenly distributed, and the spine’s natural curve is maintained. What will minimize the pressure on your shoulder muscles even more is sleeping with your arms under your head. Moreover, place a small pillow or a rolled-up hand towel between your shoulder blades when sleeping to reduce the pain.
2. Sleep on the unaffected side
If you’re a side sleeper and can do nothing about it, change the side you’re sleeping on. Side sleepers tend to always sleep on the same side, which constantly puts pressure on the same shoulder. Sleep on the unaffected side to take the stress away.
3. Hug a pillow
For those who sleep on the side, and suffer from shoulder pain, try hugging a pillow or tucking one under your impacted arm. This will relieve the tension off your shoulder, reduce the pain and prevent arms numbness during the night.
The Best Pillow for Shoulder Pain
As the sleeping position leaves an impact on your body, so does the pillow you sleep on. If you want to get a good night’s sleep and wake up pain-free, it is essential to find the perfect pillow for your sleeping style. For a pillow that can help you ease your shoulder pain specifically, Snuggle-Pedic has just the support you need.
Snuggle-Pedic's adjustable shredded memory foam pillow is made from the excess mattress-grade foam leftover after a mattress is made. This makes it a higher quality than traditional shredded foam pillows that use lower-end foam. This pillow is characterized by great breathability and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. It is also machine washable and easy to care for.
Best of all, the pillow is adjustable, which means that you can make a pillow according to your needs and your sleeping style. This high-quality memory foam pillow comes with a bonus memory foam fill bag, so you can add or remove fill until you find the perfect fit. In this way, you can find the exact thickness and height to help soothe the shoulder pain.
So, whether you are a stomach, side, or back sleeper, you have the pillow solution to suit your needs.
If you think that your shoulder pain derives from your sleeping position or using the wrong pillow, follow our tips, and you’ll see the difference. But, if your condition is more severe and lasts longer, you should see a doctor and start with proper treatment.
Contributing Writer: Vanja Petrovic