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Is Neck or Shoulder Pain Causing You to Lose Sleep?

How well did you sleep last night?

We’ve recently seen so many patients that are struggling to sleep due to all sorts of aches & pains keeping them awake – especially neck and shoulder pain

You know, that nagging pain on your upper back, shoulder or neck area that just sets in as you’re finally about to drift off into slumber… or that sore feeling after a day of lifting, moving or even sitting working at the computer that just won’t go away. 

While we can often ‘pretend it’s not there’ or ‘just live with it’ with the best of them during the daytime, when it affects our sleep or we’re finding ourselves reaching for the ibuprofen again and again, it’s gotten to a whole new level of affecting our life!

A good night’s sleep is so important to one’s health and well-being. We all know how great we feel when we wake after a long restful night. Sleep has many benefits:

  • Quality sleep is known to help our immune system stay strong
  • A good night’s sleep increase your positive mood, energy and creativity
  • A restful night aids in physical recovery, anxiety relief and your overall mental health
  • Quality sleep aids in weight loss, lowering blood pressure and improving heart health

 Why Am I Having Neck or Shoulder Pain While I Sleep? Is Sleeping On My Side Causing Shoulder Pain?  

Shoulder pain while sleeping may be caused by weak muscles around your core, shoulders, shoulder blades and upper back that have locked up from trying to stabilize you during all your activities during the day. If you are a side sleeper, the majority of your torso’s weight is on your shoulder. Rolling to the other side often does not bring relief as these muscles and tendons continue to stretch and have strain placed upon them. This can result in pain while sleeping on either side or even on your back throughout the night. 

If you are like most people, you are a side sleeper. While it is the most common position, there are many things that disrupt a good night’s sleep on your side.  Shoulder pain while sleeping on your side is a common cause of restlessness. It can be very difficult to get comfortable if you are a side sleeper and you have pain in your shoulder area. 

 Request a free shoulder pain sleep assessment today!   

Ways to Correct Shoulder Pain while Sleeping – A Helpful Video

In the following video, Dr. Mike talks about how you can reduce your neck shoulder pain and get a better night’s sleep. A great first step is to sleep with a pillow between your knees and under the affected shoulder. This will aid in reducing the pressure on your neck, shoulder and hips while sleeping. It also helps to stabilize your core and pelvis. You may need to experiment with the size and height of the pillow. While short term solutions are good, finding the root of the problem will provide long term relief. We specialize in looking for the root causes and providing treatment to address the underlying causes of your neck and pain to get them to go away for good (and to get you back to all your favorite activities – including sleeping!)  

While these sleeping tips are a great place to start, there are so many more tips and tricks & gentle & natural exercises & hands on treatment that we specialize in so we can help you make sure you don’t lose sleep over your shoulder pain! Read on to learn about some examples of natural treatments to help with resolving shoulder and neck pain. 

Natural Treatments & Therapies for Shoulder Pain Relief

  • Addressing Pelvic and Spinal Alignment

Your pelvis is an area that is shaped like a bowl and helps to cradle your abdominal muscles and organs. It is the foundation of our body and is so very important for neck and shoulder stability, spinal alignment and comfort. Our alignment here shifts due to sitting position, walking, and other everyday activities. When we’re out of alignment, this causes our spine to curve, pitching one of our shoulders forward and causing strain to that shoulder. Over time, the repetitive strain to the forward shoulder causes pain. Symptoms of being out of alignment in the pelvis can include:  Sciatica, Sacroiliac pain, pubic symphysis pain (the joint between your pubic bones), upper back/neck/shoulder pain, back pain and difficulty balancing on one leg. Our therapists are able to assess your pelvis & spine and realign it with exercises and treatments to bring this area back into balance (helping the neck, shoulders and much more, hooray!)

One of our main specialties at Balance Within PT is that we are all certified in the John Barnes Method of Myofascial Release. Why? Well because the fascial system is often a huge game changer for the shoulders, neck and upper back! Fascial (connective tissue) restrictions are estimated to exert forces up to 2,000 lbs per square inch on our body. So if you’re experiencing restrictions in the fascia around your neck and shoulder area…OUCH! Quick stretches or intense deep tissue massage often yields only temporary results with releasing these tissues; what’s really needed is gentle, prolonged holds with a highly specialized Physical Therapist to achieve PERMANENT releases in these structures. This is often where the magic happens to achieve those luxurious and restful nights’ sleep once more!

  • Strengthening the core and shoulder stabilization muscles 

Our arms actually don’t attach directly or solidly to our bodies, isn’t that wild? The socket of the ball and socket joint for our shoulder is part of our shoulder blade. The shoulder blade sits on our rib cage and moves all around, allowing for tons of motion at our shoulder. This extra motion is really helpful, but it also means that this joint is not the most stable. We get our stability from a strong core, strong shoulder blade or scapular stabilization muscles, strong rotator cuff muscles and strong arm muscles too. When we’re not strong enough in our core or shoulder stabilizers, then we tend to shrug up into our neck to compensate and to get our stability there instead. This causes tons of shoulder and neck problems and pain… and the root of it all is a weak core. Strengthening and retraining these muscles with their movement patterns are huge game changers to get things feeling better. 

While these are just a few examples of natural treatments offered, we look at dozens of contributing factors to the mechanics of a properly functioning shoulder. Every body and every person is unique and the most important part of our treatment is evaluating what exactly is going on in your body to cause your symptoms, finding out what activities you want to get back to and keep doing, and sorting out your unique game plan tailored to your body’s needs to get you there. There are a lot of really great shoulder exercises, but where you need a specialist is in making sure you are picking the exact exercises your body needs. 

Looking for help? Our highly specialized therapists offer natural and medication-free treatments to release tension and restore balance to provide relief to that annoying pain and discomfort that’s keeping you awake at night. Request a free shoulder assessment today!   

Some More Sleep tips for a restful night

  • Look at your mattress. Try to flip and rotate your mattress to even out the pressure points. You spend anywhere from 6-9 hours on average on that mattress. Is the mattress more than 10 years old – do you need to replace it and/or upgrade it?
  • Have your room be as dark, cool and as quiet as possible. Light (any form of light) can disrupt your sleep pattern
  • Maintain a good sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day will aid in a well rested night. Rhythm and consistency are key.  
  • Avoid stimuli before bed –  Screen time and certain food and drinks can disrupt your sleep. Try to avoid these at least one hour before you head to bed… 
  • Avoid sleep aids if possible. Many of these are habit forming and often result in you feeling groggy and tired in the morning.
  • Try to exercise regularly. Movement throughout the day will increase your chances of a good night’s sleep.
  • Find a few moments each day to spend outside. Sunshine provides many benefits – one of them being a natural sleep aid. Anytime of day works but morning sun (even 10 minutes) offers the most benefits. 

Looking for More Help? Schedule your FREE Shoulder Assessment Today with Our Expert Physical Therapists

Our Specialists  are available to meet with you, hear your story, and answer all your questions about your unique needs and how to get you back to feeling your best! 

We’d love to help give you more information about how to get on the path to better sleep, less pain and feeling like yourself again (without losing anymore sleep) – simply click the button below to inquire for more information:

Request a free shoulder assessment today!   

Click here to request our free 8 Tips to Naturally Ease Shoulder Pain Guide –  some of our favorite starter tips to provide relief for your pain: 

https://balancewithinpt.com/shoulder-pain/

For more expert advice, read our other blogs and check out our YouTube channel, Instagram and Facebook pages.:

Read more about shoulder pain on our blog page

Visit Our Balance Within YouTube Channel 

Visit our Balance Within Instagram 

Visit our Balance Within Facebook Page 

AUTHOR

Doctors Jereme and Sarah Trunk

Balance Within Integrative Physical Therapy

We Help People Looking For Physical Therapy In Delafield & Beyond Find LASTING Solutions to Aches & Pains NATURALLY… So They Can Get Back to the Active Lifestyle They Want
(...without unnecessary medications or surgeries)
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