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Shoulder injuries are among the most common injuries in athletes. They can occur from a direct impact on the shoulder or from an overuse injury. Sleeping with a shoulder injury can make the healing process more difficult and lengthen the amount of time you are unable to perform your usual activities.
Certain sleeping positions can also cause long-term damage to the shoulder joint. Pressure on the joint from an awkward sleeping position over a long time can cause permanent damage to the shoulders.
Steps to help ease shoulder pain before bedtime
Apply an ice pack to the injury. Applying a cold compress to the injury helps minimize swelling and inflammation while providing relief from pain.
Sleeping positions and their effect on the shoulder injury
- Sleeping on your back. Sleeping this way alleviates pressure on the shoulders or neck. When you sleep on your back, the weight of your upper body will get distributed evenly to all parts of the body. You can also place a small pillow under your shoulder blades to reduce stress and pressure on the injured side.
- Sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping on the stomach can cause shoulder pain because the shoulders can press on the mattress; this pressure can result in further pain and injury. If there is a need to sleep on the stomach, prop the shoulders with a rolled towel to add support and reduce pressure.
- Sleeping on your side. Avoid sleeping on the injured shoulder as much as possible. The pressure from sleeping on the injured side can worsen the injury and cause additional pain in the morning when you wake up. If you need to lie on the side, lie on the other side and place additional pillows behind you to support your body’s weight.
- Reclining position. Sleeping with your upper body elevated is the recommended position for shoulder injuries. This position minimizes pressure and stress on the injury and also helps reduce swelling. You can prop your upper body with pillows to keep a reclined position. You can also place a pillow under the arm of the injured side for additional support.
Experimenting with your sleeping position can help you discover the best means to have a comfortable sleep during a shoulder injury. If you need help with your shoulder injury, you can schedule a visit to N8 Family Chiropractic for evaluation.