Shoulder pain during sleep can be a frustrating and disruptive experience, impacting your ability to get a good night’s rest. Understanding the underlying causes of this discomfort is essential in finding effective solutions. In this blog, we will delve into the various factors that can lead to shoulder pain during sleep, empowering you with the knowledge to identify potential culprits and explore strategies for relief. Let’s unravel the mysteries behind shoulder pain and regain restful nights. If you’re experiencing persistent shoulder pain during sleep and seeking effective solutions for relief, Specialty Care Clinics is here to help.

Rotator Cuff Injuries and Tendinitis

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. Overuse, repetitive motions, or injuries can result in rotator cuff tears or tendinitis, leading to pain, inflammation, and discomfort, especially when lying on the affected shoulder.

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

Frozen shoulder is a condition characterized by stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion in the shoulder joint. Sleeping in a certain position can aggravate the symptoms, making it challenging to find a comfortable sleeping posture.

shoulder pain during sleep

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Shoulder impingement syndrome occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff become compressed or irritated, often due to poor shoulder mechanics or structural abnormalities. The pressure on the tendons can worsen during sleep, resulting in pain and discomfort.


Arthritis, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the shoulder joint, causing pain and stiffness. Sleeping on an arthritic shoulder can exacerbate the symptoms, leading to discomfort and disrupted sleep.


Bursitis is the inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion the joints. When the bursae in the shoulder become inflamed, it can cause pain and discomfort, particularly when lying on the affected side.

Poor Sleeping Posture

Incorrect sleeping positions can put unnecessary strain on the shoulders, leading to pain and discomfort. Sleeping on your side without proper support or sleeping on your stomach with your arms overhead can contribute to shoulder pain during sleep.

Nerve Compression

Nerve compression, such as brachial plexus impingement or cervical radiculopathy, can cause referred pain in the shoulder. Certain sleeping positions can exacerbate nerve compression, resulting in shoulder pain during sleep.

causes of shoulder pain

Relief Strategies for Shoulder Pain During Sleep

Adjusting Your Sleeping Position: Experiment with different sleeping positions, such as sleeping on your back with a pillow supporting your arm or using a body pillow to cushion and support your shoulders.

Proper Pillow Support: Choose a supportive pillow that maintains proper spinal alignment, ensuring that your neck and shoulders are well-supported during sleep.

Heat or Cold Therapy: Applying a heating pad or an ice pack to the affected shoulder before bed can help reduce pain and inflammation, promoting a more comfortable sleep.

Gentle Shoulder Stretches and Exercises: Engage in gentle stretching and strengthening exercises for the shoulders to improve flexibility and stability, reducing the likelihood of pain during sleep.

Seeking Professional Help: If the shoulder pain persists or worsens, consult with a healthcare professional or a physical therapist specializing in shoulder issues. They can provide a comprehensive evaluation, and accurate diagnosis, and recommend personalized treatment options.


Shoulder pain during sleep can disrupt your rest and affect your overall well-being. By understanding the causes behind this discomfort and exploring appropriate relief strategies, you can take steps towards a more restful and pain-free sleep. Remember to listen to your body, practice good sleep hygiene, and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and treatment options. Embrace the possibility of restful nights and a rejuvenated shoulder. Call (469) 545-9983 now and take the first step towards a more restful and comfortable night’s sleep.

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