Shoulder Pain Sleeping on Side: Causes, Prevention And Exercises To Relieve Shoulder Pain

shoulder pain sleeping on side
source: Healthline

Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep does not guarantee you won’t wake up with shoulder pain sleeping on side. When this happens, it causes lots of discomfort, and how to sleep is pretty standard. You may have experienced this pain most mornings when you wake up. 

This article will discuss the causes of shoulder pain and ways to prevent it. We will also be dishing out exercise routines that can help soothe your sore shoulders, should incase you feel pain. So, if you have ever wondered how to relieve the pain you feel in your shoulders whenever it happens, then read on.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain Sleeping on Side at Night

The shoulder joint is in the upper part of your arm. It connects your upper arm to your collarbone. It is two ball-and-socket joints allow for a wide range of motion. When you lift your arm, the shoulder does the work. 

The shoulder has three parts. The scapula is also referred to as the shoulder blade. Then we have the humerus (upper arm) and the joint between the scapula and humerus. The shoulder joint connects these three parts.

 If you feel that your shoulder is dislocated or strained, these may be the Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff. Other symptoms include tenderness around the shoulder joint and swelling in the shoulder. There are many other possible causes of shoulder pain. Some of the most severe causes include: 


 An osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that affects the bones over time, and it’s one of the most common. This can affect the shoulder joint, the AC joint (acromioclavicular joint), the elbow joint, and the wrist joint.


A shoulder injury can result in a ligament or tendon tear. A tear can cause swelling, pain, and limited movement.


 Bone osteoarthritis causes inflammation and can affect the shoulder’s joint lining. It can also cause pain and stiffness. It’s essential to know the difference between pain and inflammation.

Shoulder Pain Sleeping On Side: How to ACTUALLY Relieve It
source: Sleepshop

What Can You Do at Home to Relieve Shoulder Pain?

You may find shoulder pain after lying in the wrong position for too long. It is known as static shoulder posture. Look no further if you’re looking for natural ways to ease shoulder pain. These home remedies can relieve and help you get a good night’s sleep.

Read on to find out what these remedies can do for you.

 Healthy Diet  for Shoulder Pain

The foods you eat can directly impact how your shoulders feel. Eating foods high in antioxidants, like fruits and vegetables, may help reduce inflammation. A diet high in fibrous fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, or carrots, may also be beneficial.


You can perform these several exercises at home to help relieve shoulder pain. Finding time to exercise when dealing with shoulder pain may be challenging. Try working out your shoulders by performing these three exercises if this is the case.

 Other natural remedies you can do to improve your shoulder pain

1. Rest your shoulder.

2. Apply ice to your shoulder.

3. Take over-the-counter pain medication.

4. Stretch your shoulder muscles.

5. See a doctor or physical therapist.

How to Relieve Shoulder Pain from Sleeping on Side

Sleeping on your side can cause shoulder pain. This is because your shoulder is not supported when lying on your side. This can lead to your shoulder becoming stiff and sore. You can experiment with a few things to relieve shoulder pain from sleeping on your side.

Use a body pillow: A pillow is designed to support your upper body. This means it can help keep your shoulders when you are on your side. Lie on your side until you feel the pillow supporting your upper body. Then turn onto your back and relax. Place a soft pillow under your knees if they lift when you lie flat on your back. You can also try placing a pillow between your legs to stop them from lifting. 

Use a wedge pillow: A wedge pillow can be used to prop up your legs. It will stop your legs from lifting when you lie on your side. You can also place a pillow between your legs to stop them from lifting.

Use an exercise ball: An exercise ball can elevate your knees when lying on your side. This will help to support your shoulder and prevent it from bending inwards.

 Use a foam roller: A foam roller can help improve the range of movement in your shoulders and reduce muscle tension. Try to sleep in a slightly twisted position. There are some self-care tools that you can use to correct your posture while sleeping. 

 You can use a yoga ball to help correct your posture. This is because the ball helps to maintain your neutral position while you sleep. You can also use a physioball to maintain your neutral posture while you sleep.

 Why Does My Shoulder Hurt While I am Sleeping?

Lying on your side can cause shoulder pain. This is because your shoulder is not supported when lying on your side. This can lead to your shoulder becoming stiff and sore. You can do a few things to relieve shoulder pain from sleeping. 

  1. Try sleeping on your back. Place a pillow between your knees to change the angle of your hip.
  2. Avoid sleeping on your stomach or side: Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach puts stress on the tendons and bursae of your shoulder. These can cause inflammation. Also, sleeping on your stomach can encourage the growth of muscle tissue around your rotator cuff. This can put extra stress on your rotator cuff.
  3. Do exercises to strengthen your upper body and core muscles.
  4. Sleeping on your side can strain your rotator cuff. Sleeping on your side puts extra stress on your rotator cuff. It can lead to inflammation. Over time, this can cause damage to the tendons and bursae of your rotator cuff.
  5. You can also try to sleep in a slightly twisted position. It will help your rotator cuff stay healthy.
sleeping on side Shoulder pain
source: Everypixel

What is the Best Sleeping Position to Avoid Shoulder Pain?

The best sleeping position to avoid shoulder pain is on your back. If you have shoulder pain, you may want to sleep with a pillow under your arm to support your shoulder. You may also want to sleep on your back or side to avoid putting pressure on your shoulder. This can help relieve the shoulder pain that you experience while sleeping.

 How Can I Correct my Posture While Sleeping?

 One of the easiest ways to correct your posture is by sleeping on your back. You get to support your upper body when you sleep in this position. It would be best if you also tried to sleep on your side. 

Try to align your shoulders and hips, so they are neutral, and ensure you align your upper body above your legs. It would help if you also tried to avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach can cause your upper body to tilt forwards. This can place extra stress on your neck and back.

 Can Sleeping on my Side Cause Injury?

 Some evidence is that sleeping on your side may stress your rotator cuff. This means that sleeping on your side may increase the chance of injury. The recommended sleeping position is on your back.

 There is also some evidence that sleeping on your stomach may stress your neck. It means that sleeping on your stomach may also affect you.

Seven Exercises That Can Help Relieve Shoulder Pain

Are you dealing with shoulder pain? You’re not alone. Shoulder pain is one of the most common complaints in adults. But don’t worry; you can do plenty of things to ease the pain. Here are seven exercises that can help relieve shoulder pain.

You can do these exercises anywhere, anytime.

Wall Slides: Wall slides are great because they target the muscles of your posterior shoulder and upper back. Start standing with your back against a wall and arms at your sides to do a wall slide. Ensure that you place your knees directly over your ankles. Then, keeping your knees slightly bent, slide your back until your upper arm is almost parallel to

Lying Tucks: These are great to do lying down or standing up. Lie on your right side with your right arm extended behind you, your palm facing downward, and your left arm overhead. Contract your left external oblique and bring your elbow outside your body.

 Seated Tuck: You can do this exercise lying or standing up. Sit on the floor or in a chair with your legs straight and slightly apart. Make sure that your knees are directly over your ankles. 

Chair Stretch:  If you want to stretch out your upper back and neck, this exercise is for you. Start by sitting in a chair with your knees slightly bent. Place your upper arm on the chair seat or the back of the chair behind you. Raise your head and shoulders off the chair until you feel a deep stretch in your upper back and neck.

On the other hand, if you want to improve your flexibility, these exercises will also help boost your overall range of motion and mobility.

 Forward Fold:  This is a great exercise to help with tight hip flexors and hamstrings. It also helps to open the chest and lengthen the front of the body. To do a forward fold:

  1. Start in a standing position.
  2. Place your hands on the ground in front of you.
  3. Walk your feet until they are directly behind your hands.

Bend your knees and lower your upper body until your head touches the ground.

How to Fix Wrist and Shoulder Pain From Push-Ups and Planks
source: self

 Plank: You need this exercise to open up your chest, shoulders, and back. It also builds strength in the core and legs. To do a plank, start by lying on your stomach with your arms directly beneath your shoulders with extended legs. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your neck. Ensure that your hips are above your elbows and that your shoulders and head align.

Wall Plank:  If you have access to a wall, you can still do a plank. Place your forearms against a wall and lower your body until your elbows are directly below your shoulders.

 Below are more exercises you can explore

Lying Knee Raise: This exercise targets the hamstrings and glutes.

 High Knees: This targets the quads, glutes, core, and upper back.

Side Plank: This exercise is like the plank, but it’s performed while lying on your side.

Upward Plank: This exercise targets the neck, shoulders, core, and legs.

Hanging Knee Raise: This exercise targets the hamstrings and glutes.

 Bird Dog: This exercise strengthens your core, back, and legs.

 When to See a Doctor

Sleeping on the side and shoulder pain can be severe health problems. Seek your doctor’s attention if you have symptoms of a torn rotator cuff, such as Sharp pain that shoots down your arm and into your shoulder joint

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Fanti Tukuwei
I'm a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle enthusiast, and the ultimate curves queen. Here, I share beauty, fashion, and lifestyle tips to teach, inspire, and give confidence to all women.