If your shoulder pain is one that often strikes at night robbing you off your sleep then this could be because of some serious underlying condition. Such shoulder pain that can come from 11 pm to 3 am can be so excruciating and keep you from sleeping. If this is a phenomenon that repeats itself for many continuous nights then it is important to find the root cause rather than taking it lightly.
As sleep involves little or no movement in one position for several hours then this could mean extra pressure on the tendons and bursa of the shoulder. The muscles and tendons may also settle in a slightly different position resulting in pressure and reduced blood flow as well aggravating the pain at night.
Night time pains could be the body’s response to some inflammation in the shoulder area. Have a specialist take a look at the shoulder to ascertain what the actual problem could be. Let’s look at some of the commonly seen shoulder conditions that could be wreaking havoc with your sleep at night.
Tendonitis – The tendons of the rotator cuff are quite prone to injury and can become inflamed, degenerated, or torn. This can happen from overuse, repetitive motion, trauma, poor blood flow or prior surgery. Shoulder pain at night is common with shoulder tendonitis.
Bursitis – The 6 bursae in the shoulder can become inflamed and be a source of shoulder pain at night. Bursitis can cause shoulder pain at night as pressure is applied to the bursae when lying on the affected side.
Osteoarthritis – With much overuse the cartilage of the shoulder joint can be damaged or eroded causing shoulder arthritis. There could especially be reduced range of motion and shoulder pain at night as the arthritis advances.
Shoulder Impingement Syndrome – Shoulder pain at night is common in patients with shoulder impingement syndrome when there is an increased inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons.
Neck Injury – Referred pain in the shoulder due to disc protrusion or herniations in the neck cannot also be overlooked.
To treat shoulder pain that occurs during the night time, it is imperative to find out what the underlying issue is. Once this is done the treatment therapy can focus solely on the exact problem. In scenarios when the shoulder pain is extremely severe at night some practical sleep position change tips could offer some amount of relief.
Though not advisable for the long-term you can try sleeping in a semi-reclined position, either in a reclining chair or an adjustable bed. Try sleeping on the side of the unaffected shoulder so weight and pressure can be taken off from the painful shoulder. But in some cases, sleeping on the painful side could also be surprisingly helpful as it is almost like putting pressure on a wound to compress it thereby reducing the sharpness of the pain. Sleeping on your back can help to evenly distribute body weight. If the shoulder pain is near the front, this position can keep the pressure off but this can be difficult if the pain is on the back side of the joint.
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