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What are The Best Sleeping Positions for Shoulder Pain?

Woman waking up with shoulder pain

What are The Best Sleeping Positions for Shoulder Pain?

Woman waking up with shoulder pain

Shoulder pain can happen for many reasons. And when it does, getting a proper night of sleep can seem nearly impossible.

Following these expert recommended sleeping positions may reduce shoulder pain or strike it out, altogether. So read on and learn what are the best sleeping positions for shoulder pain.

Sleeping on Your Back

Although this isn’t the most popular position – only 8% of the world sleeps this way – it’s the best. Sleeping on your back allows your head, neck, and spine to rest in a neutral, stress-free position. Your shoulders will also be able to rest as the muscles are not being stretched in any way.

Place a pillow up into the armpit area of the sore shoulder. This is a great position for allowing the shoulder to heal. This pillow also prevents you from rolling onto that shoulder while sleeping.

It’s also important that the pillow you use under your head is the right thickness, but the pillow should not cause you to tuck your chin down while sleeping or flex your neck up to the ceiling. How your head and neck are positioned during sleep is critical as these muscles are connected to the shoulder muscles. If your neck feels stress, so will your shoulders.

If this position alone does not relieve pain, try adding a pillow under the arm of the sore shoulder. This will keep any pressure off of the shoulder and help it to heal while also preventing you from rolling onto it while sleeping.

According to the Sleep.org (National Sleep Foundation), lying on your back is the ideal sleep position. However, this position isn’t the most comfortable for everyone. If you want to help the body acclimate to a new sleep position, you could try anchoring your body with pillows on each side.

Sleeping on the Sore Shoulder

Some people have slept a certain way their whole life and they can’t change it – and that’s okay. While sleeping on your back is a great option, using expert recommended techniques can allow you to comfortably sleep on your side with a painful shoulder.

While laying on your side, try placing a pillow under your mid back and hips. Most people have shoulders wider than their pelvis so adding this pillow will make your body balanced out and more comfortable. Because your body is now elevated, you’ll need to add another pillow under your head.

This position allows for relief of pressure on the shoulder. It also allows the spine to be straight.

If discomfort persists, you may add a towel to the pillow under your mid back to provide more support.

A variation of this position is to lean or roll back so that most of the pressure is on your shoulder blade rather than the point of the shoulder. Place a pillow behind your back to help hold you in this position. Place a final pillow between your legs, making sure it’s all the way up near your pelvis. This stops the back from turning which can then affect the shoulder.

Sleeping Sore Shoulder Up

Place a pillow next to your stomach, almost like you are hugging it, and place another pushed up into the armpit area. This gives the shoulder support so that it has no pressure on it and feels almost like it’s floating.

You do want to make sure that your elbow or hand are not too high as this will restrict blood flow and make the area feel numb.

To finish this position off, place a pillow between your legs and bring it all the way up to the top of your hip. This is important because it takes stress off of the pelvis and allows it to stay in its natural straight position. When the pelvis is straight, the spine will be straight, and the shoulders will be straight.

Woman ready to sleep on her side

Wrapping it up

To reduce shoulder pain, sleeping in the proper position is decisive. So it is important that you are aware that the best sleeping positions are:

  • Sleeping on your back
  • Sleeping on your sore shoulder
  • Sleeping with your sore shoulder up

Follow our tips for these first three sleeping positions and you can help reduce shoulder pain and prevent back or neck strains. It is very important that you find out which of these positions is best for you.

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