Rotator cuff pain (the muscle and tendon that surrounds the shoulder joint) is usually more severe at night. You are not alone if you experience this. Many people cannot sleep well because shoulder pain is often very disturbing. To overcome this complaint, apply the following tips so that you can sleep soundly throughout the night. In addition, relieve shoulder pain by doing therapy, such as compressing the shoulder with cold and warm objects or other methods. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests an easy way to deal with shoulder pain, for example, by bringing one arm to the chest to stretch the shoulder muscles.
Method 1 of 3: Trying Different Sleeping Positions
Step 1. Sleep sitting up if you have a recent injury
Patients with shoulder injuries should sleep sitting up straight for the first 2 days after the injury. You can sit in a long chair with a reclining back or in bed, leaning on a pillow. Make sure your back and shoulders are supported by a chair or pillow when you lie on your back for a good night's sleep.
If the height of the bed can be adjusted, raise the head of the bed until it is in an upright position
Step 2. Place a pillow between your legs if you sleep on your side
When tilting, make sure the shoulder that is not painful is down. Do not rest on the injured shoulder. The pillow between the legs keeps the spine straight. You can sleep hugging your pillow if it feels more comfortable.
Step 3. Support the sore or injured arm with a pillow while lying on your back
Raised arms supported by pillows can reduce pressure on the rotator cuff so that your shoulders don't hurt when you sleep at night.
You can use a head pillow to support your arms
Step 4. Do not lie on your stomach or rest on the sore shoulder during the night
This position triggers discomfort even though you usually sleep like this. Change your sleeping position so you can sleep soundly.
Method 2 of 3: Reducing Shoulder Pain Before Sleeping At Night
Step 1. Compress the shoulder with a cold object for 15-20 minutes before going to bed
Wrap a bag of ice cubes in a towel and place it on your shoulder while sitting or lying down. Use a shoulder strap when compressing the shoulder to prevent the ice pack from falling off. This step is useful for reducing pain and inflammation.
- Do not fall asleep while compressing the shoulder. Remove the ice pack from the shoulder before going to bed.
- You can buy a shoulder splint at a sports supply store or pharmacy. Read the instructions for use listed on the packaging before using the bandage.
- Ice compressing the shoulder is more beneficial if it is done during the first 2 days after a minor injury. After 2 days, use a warm object to compress.
Step 2. Compress the shoulder with a warm object if the injury has been more than 48 hours
Similar to therapy using cold objects, warm objects can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Treating an injury with a warm object can trigger shoulder stiffness if done before 48 hours. Before going to bed at night, compress the shoulder with a warm object for 15-20 minutes according to the following instructions.
- Place a warm pillow on your shoulder and tie it with a shoulder strap.
- Put warm water in a bottle and then wrap the bottle with a towel. While sitting back in the chair, place the bottle behind the injured shoulder.
- Run warm water over your shoulders while showering under the shower.
- Wet a towel with warm water and use it to compress the injured shoulder. Make sure the towel isn't too hot so you don't scald your skin.
Step 3. Take time to do light aerobics during the day
The right exercises can reduce pain and improve sleep, but certain movements make shoulder pain worse. See your doctor or physical therapist to find out what exercise you need.
- Muscle stretching exercises, such as straightening one arm in front of the chest and then pressing the elbow to the chest slowly or doing a pendulum movement are useful for reducing shoulder pain and restoring shoulder flexibility.
- Light aerobic exercise, such as walking or swimming, keeps the body flexible and active. Take the time to exercise for 30 minutes during the day so that you are sleepy before going to bed at night.
- Do not lift heavy weights during exercise, support your body with your hands, or lift your arms up.
Step 4. Move less at night to rest your shoulders
Even if you need to exercise to relieve pain, don't move your arms too much to give your shoulders rest, especially at night. Don't do high-intensity exercise, do shoulder stretches, lift weights, or raise your arms higher than your shoulders.
If your physical therapist or doctor recommends that you do certain movements before going to bed at night, do them as best you can
Step 5. Take over-the-counter pain relievers before going to bed at night
Acetaminophen (eg Tylenol), ibuprofen (eg Motrin or Advil), and naproxen (eg Aleve) may help reduce pain at bedtime. Take the medicine according to the doctor's prescription or the dose listed on the package about 20 minutes before bedtime.
Method 3 of 3: Improve Sleep
Step 1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule so you can get a good night's sleep
You fall asleep quickly if you go to bed and wake up early according to a schedule every day. So, make it a habit to go to bed at the same time every night to recuperate.
A good night's sleep plays an important role in curing shoulder pain. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night, adolescents 8-10 hours, children 9-11 hours per day
Step 2. Wear an arm hanger at night
Purchase a hanger or arm band at a pharmacy or supermarket. Before going to bed, bandage your shoulders according to the directions on the package so that your shoulders don't move around a lot while you sleep.
If your doctor recommends that you wear an arm hanger to sleep, he or she may give it to you
Step 3. Buy a new mattress for chronic shoulder pain
Shoulder pain usually resolves in 4-6 weeks, but if your shoulder hurts again, you may need to buy a new mattress. Look for a mattress with the right elasticity. Choose a mattress that is firm enough to provide good joint support, but not too firm to prevent back pain.
Time to lie down on the bed before making a choice. The mattress is too soft to support your shoulders if you sink into the mattress. The mattress is too hard if the back feels pressure or discomfort
Step 4. Use over-the-counter sleeping pills only when absolutely necessary
Make sure you choose sleeping pills that are safe for health, namely diphenhydramine (eg Benadryl) or doxylamine succinate (eg Unisom SleepTabs). As much as possible, avoid taking sleeping pills, unless you have severe shoulder pain or can't fall asleep after a long period of lying down. Read the instructions for use before taking the drug.
- Do not take sleeping pills more than 14 days in a row because it can trigger dependence on sleeping pills.
- Take time to consult a doctor before taking sleeping pills, especially if you are taking other drugs. Doctors can explain the adverse effects that may occur if you take sleeping pills along with other drugs.
- Don't rely on alcohol to help you fall asleep, especially if you're taking medication. Alcohol can induce drowsiness, but it doesn't improve sleep. Drinking alcohol while taking drugs is very dangerous for health.
Step 5. Talk to your doctor if you wake up frequently during the night
See a doctor if shoulder pain keeps you from sleeping or is having trouble working and socializing. Explain the condition of your shoulder and convey that you are not sleeping well. Usually, the doctor will provide several treatment options, for example:
- Prescribe medications that are more effective at relieving shoulder pain or sleeping pills.
- Temporarily treat shoulder pain with injection. The benefits of the injection will wear off after some time, but you can sleep well at night.
- Refer you to a physical therapist who can explain safe ways to exercise to relieve pain and improve shoulder conditions.
- Suggest that you have surgery to remove a bone spur, restore a tendon, or replace a shoulder blade.