When it comes to pain in your shoulder blades, your sleeping position can make a big difference. The wrong sleeping position can often mean waking up with a sore shoulder that bothers you all day or can even persist for days at a time.
At other times, shoulder pain during sleep is a symptom that stems from existing conditions such as shoulder impingement, bursitis, tendinitis, rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder and arthritis.
Either way, there are steps you can take to help reduce shoulder pain, while sleeping with healthier sleeping positions.
Sleeping on Your Back
Sleeping on your back is one of the most effective positions for pain relief for shoulder pain, as it allows for a neutral, even distribution of the weight. The position supports your neck, head and spine, allowing your body to rest in a stress-free posture. When you sleep on your back, your shoulders are relaxed rather than being compressed in different directions. Despite the benefits, only eight per cent of us are back sleepers.
If you are already a back sleeper but still experience shoulder pain, try placing a pillow in your armpit area. This prevents you from leaning on your shoulders during sleep. Having the right thickness of pillow under your head is also important. Your neck shouldn’t be bending up to the ceiling, nor should your chin be tucked downwards. Your neck and head have interconnected muscles, meaning if those areas suffer from imbalance or pressure, your shoulders will also be affected.
Sleeping on Your Painful Shoulder Elevated
For this sleeping position, you put a pillow on top of your stomach then add another pillow in your armpit area to push up, support and restrict pressure on the sore shoulder. Ensure your hand or elbow are not resting too high, as this can prevent proper blood flow and cause numbness in the arm. Place another pillow between your legs on your upper hip. This releases the stress from the pelvis, keeping the body in a neutral position while you sleep. This position also helps the pelvis, spine and shoulders straighten up in addition to relieving shoulder pain so you can have a restful slumber.
Sleeping on Your Affected Shoulder
In some circumstances, it can be beneficial to sleep on your sore shoulder as it can alleviate the pain. This is also handy for people who find it difficult to sleep on their backs. To sleep on your sore shoulder, turn to your side and place a pillow beneath your mid-hips and back. Some people have a wider pelvis than their shoulders, so placing an extra pillow will balance out the position of the body and support restful sleep.
You’ll need to place an extra pillow beneath your head since your body is lifted. This position can provide comfort and relief as well as aligning your spine correctly. Another option is to roll back or lean. This places the pressure on your shoulder blade rather than the painful part of the shoulder. Do this by placing a pillow behind your back to maintain the place. These positions are not suitable for every case of shoulder pain. You should consult a health professional to find the most suitable sleeping position for your individual situation.
Visit Us for Help With Shoulder Pain in Melbourne
Pinnacle Health Group provides a range of services including physiotherapy, massage, clinical Pilates, yoga and more in multiple locations across central Melbourne. If you’re injured or need health advice, book an appointment from one of our centrally based health clinics or join a wellness class near you.