October 22, 2021
Author: Eric
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  • Why Does Shoulder Pain Hurt Worse At Night?

Increased shoulder pain at night is a common phenomenon that many shoulder injury sufferers experience. Why does shoulder pain hurt worse at night? What can be done to alleviate shoulder pain and what causes shoulder pain to become more severe and likely to keep you up at night?

The three types of shoulder conditions that typically hurt more at night are:

  1. Bursitis
  2. Tendonitis
  3. Rotator Cuff Injury

Here's a bit of info about each...

Bursitis

Shoulder bursitis is an inflammation of shoulder bursa, small fluid-filled sacs that reduce friction between tendons and surrounding shoulder tissue. If shoulder pain has gotten worse as the shoulder injury has gotten older or if shoulder pain is occurring frequently or at night, shoulder bursitis may be the cause.

Tendonitis

Shoulder tendonitis is inflammation of shoulder tendons, which can also be caused by shoulder bursitis (which in turn causes shoulder tendonitis because it inflames shoulder bursa). Shoulder pain that gets worse at night and shoulder pain that occurs frequently both point toward shoulder tendonitis as the cause.

Rotator Cuff Injury

Rotator cuff injury is shoulder injury that affects shoulder rotation and can result in shoulder pain. Rotator cuff problems can be caused by shoulder tendonitis or shoulder bursitis, as well as by other shoulder injuries like a shoulder separation.

Pain from muscle strains in the shoulder area, shoulder sprains, shoulder fractures, and shoulder dislocations are also common causes of rotator cuff injury. A rotator cuff injury may develop with repetitive use of certain arm movements or with the lifting of heavy objects over many years.


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A shoulder injury can cause damage not only during activity or stress of the shoulder, but also during sleep. Sleeping positions can greatly aggravate shoulder pain, and shoulder pain at night can happen for many reasons. The shoulder is one of the more complex joints in the body, consisting of close to 30 muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments wrapped around the shoulder girdle.

Laying on the other side of a hurting shoulder might help. While we are asleep, our bodies tend to go on their own rhythms, and we can't always prevent ourselves from rolling over onto the painful shoulder. One thing you can try is building a wall of pillows to contain this movement while you sleep. There are also special pillows you can buy for just this reason!

It is also common for shoulder injury sufferers to bunch up their shoulder and shoulder blade, or hunch themselves up into a ball when sleeping. While this position might not be the most comfortable one, it can protect your shoulder from further damage and allow you to rest somewhat peacefully through the night.

When you lie on your side with your shoulder directly underneath you, it can cause shoulder pain at night as this position exerts pressure on the shoulder and elbow. If you sleep on your shoulder with the shoulder turned in for extended periods of time it can also cause shoulder pain while sleeping.

You'll want to avoid sleeping on your stomach as well as sleeping on only one side, especially if you have a shoulder injury.

If shoulder pain at night is related to a shoulder injury, the best thing that you can do for yourself is improve general shoulder function in order avoid further damage and long term shoulder problems. If you continue to put stress on your shoulder while it is injured, and refuse to allow enough time (a period of rest) for the shoulder to heal, shoulder pain at night can become more severe.

If you're experiencing shoulder pain that worsens at night or pain that occurs frequently during the day, your best move might be to visit a medical professional for an injury evaluation. If you'd like to try the most affordable home remedy for virtually all shoulder impingement issues, get a shoulder pulley.

FAQ:

What shoulder injury causes shoulder pain that gets worse at night?

Shoulder bursitis and shoulder tendonitis cause shoulder pain that gets worse at night. If the shoulder injury has gotten older or shoulder pain is occurring frequently or at night, shoulder bursitis may be the cause. Tendinitis is another shoulder injury that can also cause shoulder pain at night.

What shoulder injuries are common causes of shoulder tendonitis?

Rotator cuff injury, shoulder strain , shoulder sprain, shoulder fracture and shoulder dislocation are all possible causes of shoulder pain that worsens at night or during activity.

How do you treat shoulder bursitis?

Treat shoulder bursitis by applying ice twice a day, shoulder exercises to help shoulder stability and shoulder tendonitis pain relief, like a shoulder pulley.

How do you treat shoulder tendonitis?

Treat shoulder tendonitis by icing the shoulder for 15 minutes at least two times every day; using an arm sling; taking anti-inflammatory medicine; shoulder exercises that strengthen shoulder muscles and shoulder stretching.

How do you treat shoulder strain?

Treat shoulder strain by applying ice to the shoulder for 15 minutes every 2-3 hours the first day and then reducing this frequency in time; using an arm sling during sleep to keep the shoulder immobilized when unsupervised; taking ibuprofen to reduce shoulder shoulder pain; doing shoulder exercises with a shoulder pulley to increase range of motion and then with resistance bands to strengthen shoulder muscles and shoulder stretching with a ShoulderWand or StretchStrap.

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About the Author Eric

Eric is a marketing technician at RangeMaster and also a shoulder surgery warrior. A severe accident resulted in multiple surgeries and Eric’s recovery was aided in no small part to RangeMaster products. It was because of their amazing product that he could live independent from painkillers and do all the things he loved before the accident (which includes boxing). He lives in Washington with his wife and children, who are the light of his life.

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