Shoulder Pain and Sleep Position

For those suffering from shoulder pain your sleep position is extremely important. Although sleeping is rarely the cause of your pain, it should be a focus as it definitely can aggravate and slow its rehab progress. Here are a few things to consider:

Most patients with shoulder pain will complain of increased symptoms while lying on the side of pain. Many shoulder conditions such as impingment syndrome, tendonitis, and rotator cuff tears don’t like direct pressure like this position can cause. An simple recommendation is to stay off the side at night by sleeping on the opposite side. A pillow behind the back and between the knees may assist in keeping a side postion if the tendancy is to roll over to that painful side. Sleeping on the back is the option as well if it’s a position that can be maintained.

In some cases we will teach a patient to continue to sleep on the affected side by allowing the shoulder to come forward without it directly underneath the body. This oblique position may be an option for patients who have a hard time sleeping in any other postions. We also have to aware of keeping arms overhead at night as certain nerve issues may be a contributor.

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