Shoulder pain can make the most simple activity difficult. Suddenly, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, and driving can become excruciating.
If you’re experiencing discomfort in one (or both) of your shoulders, it’s important to seek medical advice before assuming the issue is something trivial. While it may be the result of sleeping in an unusual position, or due to a minor strain after a workout, it’s also possible to feel aches and pain as a result of rheumatoid arthritis or a heart attack.
5 Ways to Relieve Shoulder Pain at Night
There are several simple remedies you can try at home to relieve shoulder pain. The most common ones include:
1. Ice packs. If your pain is a result of an injury, applying a cold pack will help reduce swelling and numb the area, resulting in a reduction of shoulder pain. Keep in mind that this is a temporary treatment, so always seek medical treatment after experiencing trauma.
2. Heat treatment. If your pain is a result of a chronic condition, applying a heat pack will soothe the area and improve blood flow.
3. Stretching. The shoulders, neck, and upper back often carry the brunt of stress. Stretching exercises (performed properly) will help release the tension.
4. Avoid heavy lifting. If lifting items is part of your job, ask whether your duties can be modified. If they cannot, take a couple of days off.
5. Improve your posture. Slouching over a desk all day will cause huge amounts of stress on your neck, shoulders, and back. Being mindful of your posture will reduce the strain.
If none of the suggestions above work, your doctor may suggest other conservative forms of treatment, such as anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, or physical therapy. In the most extreme cases, the injury may require surgery.
How Do I Know If It’s a Minor Strain or a Serious Injury?
If you know the pain stems from carrying a heavy handbag or backpack, manual labor, or an intense workout, topical creams and at-home-treatments should relieve the pain within a couple of days. If time goes by with no improvement, you may have an injury.
If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms listed below, schedule a medical appointment as soon as possible.
Symptoms of a Serious Injury
- Pain with trouble breathing or tight chest (for this one, call 911)
- Shoulder looks disfigured
- Acute pain that prevents you from doing minor tasks
- Arm feels weak or numb
- Limited range of motion
Most Common Causes for Shoulder Pain at Night
If you already have a shoulder condition, sleeping on the injured shoulder will likely cause you to wake up in pain. The same goes for sleeping with your arms bent under your pillow, or in the fetal position. All of these put pressure on the injury and restrict blood flow. And if you haven’t changed your mattress in 8 years or more, the lack of support could be causing you additional pain.
Regardless of what time you’re experiencing pain, the following could be the likely culprit:
- Trauma (especially if it results in fracture or dislocation)
- Rotator cuff injuries (from blunt force or cumulative repetitive movements)
- Underlying conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis
- Frozen shoulder
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If shoulder pain is affecting your activities of daily living, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.