You toss and you turn and you find that the only comfortable way that you can sleep soundly is on your left side. You’ve tried every position and the left side is the most comfortable way that you have found that you sleep all the way through the night. What if, however, your perfect sleeping position was what was causing the searing pain in your shoulder when you wake up each morning?
Considering that the average adult spends about 6-8 hours a night sleeping in a fairly routine position, that’s quite a load to bear over time. Yes, your sleeping position could certainly be causing shoulder pain, and can even have long-term lasting effects on your joint if you aren’t careful. The constant pressure that you put – in the same position, no less – on your shoulder joint can cause it to become inflamed and lead to structural damage.
There doesn’t need to be trauma for shoulder pain to be an issue, either. You might wake up in pain, thinking, “What did I do to my shoulder yesterday?” Well, the real reason could be happening while you’re off in a dream somewhere. Make no mistake, sleeping on your side isn’t always the best way, and can even cause tendonitis in your rotator cuff or impingement syndrome – which means your cartilage starts to deteriorate.
While it is easier said than done, switching positions while you sleep can start to alleviate your painful shoulder symptoms. You can continue to switch sides or sleep on your stomach or back (although stomach sleeping can lead to a whole different array of neck problems; so, be forewarned.). All that matters is that you find a way to relieve your shoulder joint of the immense pressure that sleeping on your side can cause it.
During your waking hours, though, you should look for ways to alleviate your pain. Rest your shoulder joint when you can, ice the affected area as often as you can, and treat it accordingly with pain medication. If after a few weeks, you find that your pain is not going away and trying different sleeping positions has made no difference towards relief, seek out a medical professional. An orthopedic doctor can take further steps into imaging and evaluation of your shoulder to decide if there could be a structural issue caused by more than just sleeping on your preferred side.
You could have an entirely different problem that is only exacerbated by your sleeping position, so a proper diagnosis is very important. For a full evaluation of your shoulder joint’s mobility and any pain you may be experiencing, please call our office today. Pain in your shoulder could be hindering your quality of life, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Talk to one of our expert orthopedic professionals at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland for more advice. Call us today at (410) 644-1880 to schedule your appointment.