Shoulder Pain At Night: What To Do And When To Care Best Way

Shoulder Pain At Night: What To Do And When To Care Best Way

Shoulder pain at night can be terrible and rescind the whole day when someone wakes up with pain. This is very common in older age especially after 40. However, it can happen much earlier depending on other factors like poor posture during sleep, injury, degeneration, tissue damage, and other related causes.

“A recent study found that people with shoulder pain for more than three months had a 22% rate of depression, 19% rate of anxiety, and 82% rate of sleep disturbance.”J Shoulder Elbow Surg.

There are some causes for shoulder pain at night which we can’t control like age, at the same time there are some causes we can take prevention and reduce the risks.


The shoulder joint is vulnerable:

Our shoulder is one of the most mobile joints and involves multiple joints that work in a combination of muscles, bones, and tendons (a flexible but inelastic cord of muscular fibrous collagen tissue attaching a muscle to a bone). This complex joint allows us to move our shoulder.

Causes of shoulder pain:

Our shoulder usually experiences frequent movement, and hence it can be very unsteady.  As mentioned earlier that our joint is comprised of muscles, bones, and tendons and any of those components can trigger shoulder pain due to improper posture, any injury or any inflammation.


Why shoulder pain increases at night?

Shoulder pain that increases at night, immensely affect the sleep and adversely and subsequently develops other causes like heart disease. There is a good number of factors that affect the shoulder pain, especially at night.

Being motionless at night:

Research tells us that postural immobility in the side position during sleep impacts the shoulder pain profoundly during the night. Lingering pressure on the shoulder for motionlessness can cause and accelerate pain in shoulder during rest.

Sleeping Position:

When anyone rests on his/her right or left side, pressure exerts on that shoulder that causes stress on underlying bone and eventually turns into increased pain. Sleeping on the painful side will also adversely impact the ache.

Gravitational Position:

During the daytime, we use our shoulder to remain active, and our shoulder is in a vertical position, and the tendons are pulled downwards by gravity. This allows additional space in the muscle of the joint. This extra space enhances the blood flow and eventually oxygen circulation in the body.  And hence the chance of having pain is less in comparison tonight.


Pillow helps us to make align of our head and neck. It is recommended that the pillow should touch the shoulder during sleep especially for the side sleepers. Pillow should be supportive, and it can be identified whether it is supportive or not while some wake up with comfort or discomfort in neck and shoulder. Pillow should be 1 or 2 inches down from the head of the bed.


A mattress can create an adverse sleep posture, tensed muscle, irregular spinal alignment and ultimately these all results as pain.  During sleep pressure of our body exerts on the shoulders and hips. People who have shoulder pain should use the firm mattress to cope up the weight of the body and ease the pain.

There are other medical reasons may be associated with shoulder pain

  • Rotator Cuff tear/injury
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Arthritis
  • Frozen Shoulder syndrome
  • Shoulder dislocation

Home Remedies: Do it yourself.


Correction of sleeping position:

The very first step for getting rid of shoulder pain is to find a suitable sleeping position. Avoid sleeping on the painful shoulder for the more extended period. Sleep on the nation-painful side and take support from a big pillow to align neck to ease the shoulder. At the same time, we need to avoid to sleep on our back. We can also use a shoulder brace to correct our sleeping position.

Maintaining a sleeping routine:

A routine bedtime practice helps us reducing stress and tension of muscles which subsequently ease all sorts of pain. Having a shower before sleep, relaxing dress and happy reading will help in sound sleep or improving sleep quality and supportive for shoulder pain.

Stretching before bedtime: Pulling of the shoulder joints optimizes the shoulder and improves pain because due to exercise blood flow of the whole body will increase. It will also relax the body and aid in sound sleep.

Use aids before visiting doctors home Remedies: Do it yourself.

Shoulder Brace:

Braces can ease the pain by providing support and stability to shoulder. It even helps with some injury. There are different types of shoulder brace the works in a specific way but most commonly improve the shoulder pain by

  • Helping to correct postures
  • Aids to adjust the temperature of brace or hot/cold therapy
  • Keeping the shoulder to upraise or improving blood flow which eventually eases the pain.
  • Stabilizing the shoulder joints to reduce swelling/pain.

Braces are used for healing the injury, fixing the dislocated shoulder and correcting postures. Here are some inkling about some categorized braces.

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