There are few things worse than not getting enough sleep. And when shoulder pain keeps you from sleeping, it only worsens the problem.
If you have shoulder pain at night, it is likely because of inflammation of the rotator cuff. When you move, you may experience a sharp or dull ache. Luckily, we have ten tips to help relieve shoulder pain at night.
Rotator Cuff Pain Causes
Many people with pain in their shoulder at night don’t know what is causing it. As we age, the shoulder’s complicated joint can become painful.
Individuals who have suffered a particular shoulder problem, such as a pulled shoulder muscle, may also experience discomfort in the shoulder at night. But for the most part, there’s nothing that can explain it. It is typical.
There are a few different things that can cause rotator cuff pain at night:
- Frozen Shoulder
The shoulder joint can feel stiff and like it is frozen because of inflammation.
- Rotator Cuff Tear
At night, discomfort and inflammation may be brought on by a rotator cuff tendon tear.
- Subacromial Bursitis
Small sacks of fluid are in each shoulder, just above the rotator cuff. When these sacks become irritated and inflamed, they can cause pain.
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
Tendonitis is a condition that can be caused by overuse. When the tendons become irritated and inflamed, it can cause pain in the shoulder.
How Do You Relieve Rotator Cuff Pain At Night?
There is no one approach to relieving rotator cuff pain at night. However, some tactics work for most people who experience shoulder pain at night.
However, suppose your rotator cuff pain worsens over time or prevents you from sleeping more than a few hours a night. In that case, you should consider seeing a chiropractor or physical therapist for treatment. If you don’t treat an issue with your rotator cuff, it could cause long-term problems.
These tips help you relieve your rotator cuff pain at home. It would help if you tried these before moving on to other options unless you are experiencing a lot of pain or other worrying symptoms.
1. Heat and Ice
Heating pads can help you get relief from shoulder pain at night. You should apply the heating pad for 15 minutes, then take a break for 20 minutes. Then you can use it again until you feel better. While doing this, you can read or listen to a book to help you fall asleep. Just make sure not to fall asleep with the heating pad on.
You can try ice if you don’t feel relief with heat alone. For 15 minutes, please put it on, and then for 20 minutes, take a break. Most people find that they feel better with heat, but you may find that ice works better for you. You can also try using heat and ice to get the best of both worlds.
2. Pain Cream or Pain Medication
If you have a rotator cuff issue, applying pain cream to your shoulder before bed can help you sleep through the night. Pain medications such as ibuprofen and other over-the-counter medications can also help you get a good night’s sleep.
If you find yourself needing more than the recommended dose of pain relief cream, or if you need to apply it more often than the instructions advise, it is probably time to see a medical professional. A chiropractor can help with shoulder pain relief.
3. Shoulder Stretches
People who don’t have a lot of pain during the day may benefit from shoulder stretches throughout the day and before bed. Specific stretches and movements can help strengthen the rotator cuff and promote healing. If you experience pain any time during the stretch, stop them right away. Although your muscles should not hurt, you can feel a slight strain when you stretch.
Here are a few helpful shoulder stretches to try:
- Across the chest stretch.
- Chest expanding stretch.
- Shoulder rolls.
- Doorway shoulder stretch.
Yoga can help with shoulder pain. Doing 10 to 30 minutes of yoga daily can help you feel better at night.
4. Sleep in a Reclined Position
Many people relieve rotator cuff pain when they sleep in a reclined position. You can do this in a chair or on a bed with 45-degree cushions. Whether you are dealing with posterior or anterior shoulder pain, sleeping this way should help.
5. Sleep on Your Opposite Shoulder
If you find it hard to sleep on your back in a reclined position, you may want to try sleeping on your side. This way, you can rest on the shoulder that isn’t causing you pain. To avoid turning over your other shoulder, you can place a pillow behind your back and in front of you. It will keep you from rolling onto the injured shoulder.
6. Sleep with a Propped Up Shoulder
If the two tips above don’t work for you, there is one more sleeping position that might help. Sleeping on your back with your arm and shoulder propped up on a pillow may help reduce the pain you feel in your rotator cuff.
Some people find that just putting their arm up helps them sleep. Others find that putting a pillow under their shoulder helps them sleep better. It would help if you did what makes you comfortable and enables you to sleep the best.
7. Chiropractic Care
If you have shoulder pain that lasts for a long time or is very painful, you should try conservative treatment options first. Chiropractic care is one of the best non-invasive options for rotator cuff treatment. A chiropractor can help shoulder impingement and other injuries with a combination of treatments.
Some common tactics include:
- Anti-inflammatory techniques such as ultrasound, cold laser, heat and ice, and movement are all used.
- Chiropractic treatment involves adjusting the joints, particularly the spine, a common source of rotator cuff discomfort.
- Use active release techniques to dissolve scar tissue caused by traumatic or overuse injuries that might be causing impingement.
- Massage therapy is a way to relieve pain and promote healing.
- Stretching to strengthen the area.
8. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is a good option for conservative treatment of rotator cuff pain. Most often, physical therapy works best when used with chiropractic care. The two methods are similar and tend to work together regarding shoulder pain.
Physical therapy focuses on restoring strength and helping you recover from an injury. It is less focused on reducing pain or inflammation, which is why many chiropractic offices have physical therapists on staff.
Some physicians will give you a steroid injection to help relieve pain. It is often used if you have tried other conservative treatments, but they have not worked. If you’re in a lot of discomfort, injections might also be employed.
However, steroid injections should not be the only treatment option. It is because they may not work for everyone and can cause degradation of the tendons if done too many times.
Many people don’t need surgery for rotator cuff issues. But if other tactics haven’t worked, surgery is an option. The type of surgery depends on what is causing the rotator cuff pain.
Since surgery is always riskier than conservative treatments, it is essential only to consider surgery as a last resort.
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Relieve Rotator Cuff Pain At Night
Why Is Rotator Cuff Pain Worse at Night?
The rotator cuff can become injured more easily over time. It is because the tendons in the shoulder naturally wear down. Gravity can cause the rotator cuff to stretch and pull when lying down, leading to increased pain at night.
How Should I Sleep if My Rotator Cuff Hurts?
Lying down is the best way to avoid injuring your rotator cuff. When you lie down, you have more space to put your arms, and it is less likely that you will stretch the muscles and tendons in your rotator cuff.
Is Ice or Heat Better for Torn Rotator Cuff?
Shoulder injuries can take time to heal, even if the rotator cuff isn’t torn. You may wonder: Is ice or heat better for the rotator cuff? We recommend using anti-inflammatories and ice.
How Can I Treat Rotator Cuff Pain at Home?
If you have rotator cuff tendonitis, you should apply an ice pack to your shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes every four to six hours. If the pain is still bad, taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), like ibuprofen, may help.
Is Heat Good for Rotator Cuff Pain?
If you have a rotator cuff injury, you can use a heating pad to treat it. A heating pad will increase the blood flow to the tissue and help ease inflammation. The healing process will move more quickly as a result.
Does Sleeping on Side Hurt Rotator Cuff?
Sleeping on your side can worsen rotator cuff injury symptoms, including dull pain or aches in the shoulder and reduced range of motion from stiffness. Rotator cuff injury pain may cause disrupted sleep and worsening pain when using the shoulder.