The Therapy Center for Physical Rehabilitation and Wellness, LLC
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Here's a little secret about your SHOULDER PAIN...
When you think of shoulder pain, you may be familiar with the term "rotator cuff" pain. And most people with this ailment also have a history of overuse, heavy lifting, or other traumatic injuries such as car wrecks, right?
Well it might interest you that some of the worst cases of rotator cuff strain HAVE NOTHING TO DO with a single injury, but with a bad night's sleep.
So how does my sleep position affect my rotator cuff?
What a great question! The answer is a little complicated, but let's keep it simple.
1. your rotator cuff is a group of muscles on the BACK of the shoulder blade (mostly) and the tendons wrap to the front of your shoulder, so when you're all curled up they are essentially a little (or a lot) stretched...all night...and not resting one bit while you sleep. Simply put, your muscles don't like this position.
2. If you're sleeping ON the shoulder this leads to bursitis and inflammation, another serious pain-generator.
Wait, but I don't sleep on the shoulder that is hurting.
Even having the arm hang in front of your body all night puts a strain on the rotator cuff and over-works the front of the shoulder as well.
TRY THIS TO AVOID SHOULDER PAIN
SLEEP ON YOUR BACK
It may be hard, but over time spending more minutes/hours on your back when you're resting will pay off big! Avoid crossing your arms while sleeping too. Just start off with your hands at your side or on your lower stomach and relax your shoulders toward the mattress. Keep reverting to this position if you happen to wake up.
I'm giving you permission to snooze! When you wake on your shoulder, roll to your back and stretch your arms out to your side and snooze for a few...then roll to your stomach and stretch your arms out again, or better yet, bend your elbows and put your arm a little overhead for a nice stretch. if its painful to do this, consult your PT or other medical provider.
STRETCH IT OUT
When you wake up, put your hands on your hips and wave your elbows back and forth. You can also stretch in a doorway to get relief. If either of these are painful, and remain painful after a couple days, consult your PT or other medical provider. They can ensure that you don't have a more serious injury.
GET SOME THERAPY!
Minor issues usually resolve themselves after a couple days, especially if you follow these tips. If you find. that your shoulder pain is just not improving, our Physical Therapists can give you an in-depth assessment and can identify if your shoulder pain can be helped with conservative care and send you to the right medical professional if necessary.