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March 7, 2023
Author: Eric
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Why Does My Shoulder Hurt Worse at Night?

Shoulder pain can be a debilitating condition that interferes with daily activities and can lead to sleep disturbances. In particular, shoulder pain that worsens at night can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to alleviate your shoulder pain and improve your sleep quality. In this article, we'll discuss why this happens, how to find relief and alleviate pain of the affected shoulder, and a simple repetitive shoulder motion using a shoulder pulley that can reduce inflammation of the bursa around the shoulder and joint of the shoulder where pain usually impacts sleep.

General Causes of Shoulder Pain

The following are some shoulder conditions and shoulder problems that can cause problems sleeping due to shoulder pain

  1. Tendonitis: This is an inflammation of the tendons in the shoulder, which can become exacerbated during rest and cause pain to worsen at night.
  2. Bursitis: The shoulders contain several small sacs that act as cushions between bones and soft tissue known as bursae, which can become inflamed due to injury or overuse of the shoulder joint. This condition is known as bursitis and can cause increased shoulder pain when you lie down at night.
  3. Rotator Cuff Tears/Strains/Sprains: Rotator cuff tears occur when one of the four muscles supporting your shoulder is damaged by either a sudden injury or chronic damage caused by excessive strain on this muscle group over time (known as rotator cuff overload). Strains and sprains are also common causes of rotator cuff problems, both of which can lead to increased pain levels at night-time due to restful activities like sleeping exacerbating these conditions further.
  4. Frozen Shoulder Syndrome: Also referred to as adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder syndrome occurs when the capsule surrounding your shoulder joint becomes thickened, tightens up, and affects range-of-motion capabilities within your arm movement(s).

Increased shoulder pain at night is a very common occurrence in patients with shoulder conditions above, all causes of inflammation and pain.

How Shoulder you Sleep If Your Shoulder Hurts Worse at Night

If you are experiencing shoulder pain at night, one of the first things you should consider is adjusting your sleeping position. Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs can help alleviate pressure on your shoulder. You can also try sleeping on your back with a pillow under your shoulder for support. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this can put additional strain on your shoulder.

How to Relieve Shoulder Pain at Night Time?

Aside from adjusting your sleeping position, you can try several other DIY treatments to relieve your shoulder pain at night.

Find a Better Sleeping Position

As mentioned, changing your sleeping position can help alleviate shoulder pain. Experiment with different positions to find the one that is most comfortable for you that doesn't put direct pressure on your shoulder.

The best sleeping positions for shoulder pain relief include sleeping on the back or side with a pillow beneath the shoulder or between the legs for support. Sleeping on the back is preferable when dealing with shoulder pain, as this will minimize strain on your rotator cuff muscles.

Stick to a Sleeping Schedule

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can also help alleviate increased pain at night. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help regulate your body's internal clock and improve your sleep quality and the body's natural healing process.

Perform Stretches Before Bed

Gentle stretching exercises before bed can help loosen up tight muscles and improve shoulder mobility that often worsens at night. Consult with a physical therapist or healthcare provider to learn safe and effective stretches for shoulder pain and discomfort.

Try Yoga Poses for Neck and Shoulder Pain During the Day

Yoga poses can be an effective way to relieve neck and shoulder pain. They can help reduce tension in the neck and shoulders, increase range of motion, and improve alignment of the spine. Certain yoga postures focus on releasing tension in the shoulders and opening up the chest area to facilitate better breathing. This can be especially beneficial for those experiencing shoulder pain at night due to poor posture or stress during the day.

One such pose is Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaiasana-Bitilasana). This dynamic stretch helps to increase mobility in your spine while also stretching out your neck and back muscles. To do this pose, start on your hands and knees with your torso parallel to the floor. As you inhale, arch your back towards the sky by lifting your chin, chest and tailbone up towards the ceiling while pressing down through your palms and feet. As you exhale, round your back downward towards the ground by tucking your chin towards your chest and pulling your belly button inward towards the spine. Repeat this motion several times while focusing on long deep breaths to really let each movement sink into your body.

Another great pose that helps alleviate shoulder pain is Child’s Pose (Balasana). This pose is a great way to relax both physically and mentally as it stretches out tight muscles in your neck, upper back, lower back, hips and thighs while providing a gentle warmth throughout these areas of tension. To do this pose, begin sitting on a mat with your knees bent slightly apart from each other with feet together behind you. Slowly lean forward until you are resting between thighs with forehead touching the floor or supported by a pillow or block if necessary. Arms can be stretched out in front of you palms facing up or extended behind you resting alongside legs with palms pressed onto mat facing down. Remain here for 5-10 breaths before slowly rising back up into seated position while continuing to take deep inhales/exhales throughout transition process

Yoga poses such as Cat Cow Pose or Child’s Pose help promote good posture during daily activities which can lessen shoulder pain at night due to poor posture during waking hours. Additionally these poses are known for their calming effects which can reduce stress related aches/pains in addition aiding relaxation helping one achieve a more restful sleep at night despite any existing shoulder pain

Use your Shoulder Pulley Right Before Bed

A shoulder pulley is a simple device that can help improve shoulder mobility and reduce pain. Using a shoulder pulley right before bed can help loosen up tight muscles and improve range of motion.

Using a shoulder pulley right before bed can be an effective way to reduce shoulder pain while trying to fall asleep, as well as improve the level of pain the next morning. With regular use of a shoulder pulley, it can help stretch and strengthen the muscles in your shoulders, upper back and neck. This helps to reduce tightness and tension in the area, resulting in more mobility with less pain. The stretching that occurs during a shoulder pulley exercise can also help improve posture which contributes to increased comfort throughout the night.

The gentle movement that exercises provided by a shoulder pulley can also provide relief from soreness or stiffness in the area caused by sitting or standing for long periods of time. This type of exercise has been found to increase blood flow and circulation which helps promote healing in the shoulders. This increased circulation can help reduce inflammation that is causing pain which will allow for improved range of motion, flexibility, and better sleep quality at night.

In addition to helping alleviate discomfort from tight muscles or joint stiffness, using a shoulder pulley right before bed can also help encourage relaxation. The rhythmic movements that come with performing certain exercises on the pulley can help improve breathing patterns which in turn relaxes both body and mind allowing for deeper slumber during nighttime hours.

Using a shoulder pulley right before bed is an excellent way to provide relief from shoulder pain while trying to fall asleep, as well as improving pain levels when waking up. Regular use of this device increases flexibility and range of motion while promoting relaxation necessary for restful nights’ sleep and proper healing throughout affected areas.

What Causes Rotator Cuff to Hurt At Night?

Rotator cuff pain is caused by a variety of reasons. In many cases, minor injury to the rotator cuff can result in mild discomforts, such as soreness or stiffness. This type of rotator cuff injury is often the result of repetitive stresses on the rotator cuff from activities such as sports, carrying heavy loads, or lifting weights. Over time, these activities can cause small tears in the rotator cuff muscles and tendons that can become aggravated when not treated promptly.

In more serious cases, a full tear or tear involving multiple muscles may occur, which may require surgical repair or other forms of treatment. Common causes of severe rotator cuff tears include trauma such as falls or car accidents in which the shoulder is impacted; overuse due to chronic overstretching or repeated motions; tendon degeneration due to aging; and underlying medical conditions such as shoulder impingement syndrome, bursitis, calcific tendonitis, or arthritis.

No matter what type of injury occurs with rotator cuffs tears, it's important for those experiencing any pain or discomfort to seek medical attention immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment. With prompt intervention and quality care from a qualified healthcare professional specializing in musculoskeletal injuries, those affected by this condition can receive relief from their pain and begin to regain mobility in their shoulders once again.

Can You Tear Your Rotator Cuff While Sleeping?

Although it is highly unlikely to tear your rotator cuff while sleeping, it is still possible. Sleeping in an awkward position or having poor sleeping posture can put unnecessary strain and pressure on the shoulder muscles, which can possibly lead to a tear in the rotator cuff tendon. In addition, if you are someone who experiences chronic pain in the shoulder when you try to sleep, attempting to sleep in an awkward position can further increase the risk of tearing your rotator cuff.

The best way to prevent torn rotator cuff night pain is to practice good sleeping habits by using a supportive mattress and pillow combination that helps keep your neck aligned with your spine while you rest. Stretching and exercising before bedtime can also help keep your muscles warm and flexible so they are less likely to be injured during sleep. Additionally, maintaining proper nutrition and avoiding activities that put extra stress on your shoulders will help reduce the risk of experiencing a tear in the rotator cuff while asleep.

Why Is Rotator Cuff Pain Worse at Night?

Rotator cuff pain can be worse at night due to the lack of physical activity during this period. When not active, the muscles and tendons in the shoulder are more likely to stiffen up and become inflamed, thus increasing pain levels. Additionally, improper sleeping posture can cause the rotator cuff muscles to remain in a tensed position for extended periods of time resulting in increased discomfort when trying to move or shift positions. Last but not least, studies have shown that pain is generally more intense at nighttime due to lower body temperatures near bedtime as well as biological changes related to hormones such as melatonin which can lead to greater sensitivity towards experiences of pain throughout the body. Therefore it is important to find proper treatments including stretching exercises before going to sleep, using a supportive mattress and pillow combo with good alignment posture while resting, taking anti-inflammatory medications if necessary or recommended by your doctor and seeking professional help if symptoms persist or worsen over time.

I Just Woke Up, Why Did my Shoulder Pain Get Worse?

One of the most common reasons people wake up with shoulder pain is due to rotator cuff tears. Rotator cuff tears can occur from trauma such as falls or car accidents, overuse due to repetitive motions, tendon degeneration from aging, and underlying medical conditions such as shoulder impingement syndrome, bursitis, calcific tendonitis, or arthritis. Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include pain in the shoulder that becomes worse at night, limited range of motion in the joint, and weakness when attempting to lift or move objects. If left untreated, these symptoms can worsen over time and lead to further damage.

Another cause for shoulder pain upon waking could be due to sleeping posture or position. Poor sleeping posture can put undue pressure on the shoulder muscles and joints, leading to stiffness and soreness upon waking. In addition, certain positions that require significant torsion of the arms behind the back can also lead to discomfort in the shoulders upon waking.

Lastly, an additional cause of morning shoulder pain may be attributed to stress-related tension that causes pain and stiffness in the upper arm to the shoulder. Stressful activities such as work or family obligations can cause people to carry tension throughout their body—including in their neck and shoulders—without even realizing it. This muscle tension can manifest itself as pain upon waking due to lack of physical activity during sleep resulting in these muscles becoming stiffer than usual.

Does Sleeping On Your Side Cause Nighttime Shoulder Pain?

Yes, sleeping on your side can be the cause of your shoulder pain. When sleeping in this position, the weight of the body is unevenly distributed across the shoulder, which can cause strain and tension in the neck and shoulder muscles. This kind of pressure can lead to inflammation and stiffness in the shoulder joint, resulting in pain. Maintaining a neutral sleeping posture is key to avoiding this discomfort. Pillows that are too high may also contribute to shoulder pain by pushing the head up into an awkward angle. Additionally, some people find that using an orthopedic pillow designed for side-sleepers helps keep their shoulders aligned while they sleep. Long-term untreated issues can also develop from poor sleeping posture such as rotator cuff tears due to overuse or degeneration of tendons from aging.

The Best Non-Operative/Non-Surgical Treatment for Shoulder Pain

A shoulder pulley is a simple yet effective tool that can be used at home to alleviate shoulder pain. A shoulder pulley consists of a rope or cord with handles that attaches to the top of a door, and the user stands facing away from the door and pulls downward on the rope in order to exercise their shoulder muscles. This type of exercise increases range of motion, strengthens and lengthens the shoulder muscles, and increases overall shoulder flexibility.

Shoulder pain is often caused by poor posture or lack of activity over extended periods of time. A shoulder pulley can help address both these issues by providing gentle stretching for stiff shoulders and increasing range of motion and mobility. While using a shoulder pulley, one should focus on slow, steady movement in order to avoid any sudden jerking or strain on the muscles. This kind of low-impact exercise can be extremely beneficial in providing relief from chronic pain due to rotator cuff tears or degeneration from aging.

In addition to its use as an exercise tool, a shoulder pulley can also be used as an aid for managing pain at nighttime. By performing slow shoulder stretches with it prior to sleep, this tool can help relax tense shoulders while increasing blood flow to reduce inflammation and stiffness associated with such injuries. Furthermore, it helps promote better sleeping posture through strengthening core muscles which support proper alignment during rest.

Overall, a shoulder pulley is an easy-to-use yet effective tool for treating types of shoulder pain without resorting to surgery or other invasive treatments. Not only does it allow for gentle stretching exercises that increase muscle strength and flexibility but also helps promote good sleeping posture which reduces discomfort from chronic conditions such as rotator cuff tears or degenerative conditions related to age.

How Can a Shoulder Pulley Relieve Shoulder Pain at Night?

No one wants to feel pain or have shoulder pain get worse at night. By regularly using a shoulder pulley for nighttime stretching, people are more likely to experience improved sleeping quality as well as lessened shoulder pain throughout the night. This type of exercise increases flexibility that can lead to better body alignment which supports more restful sleep. Furthermore, it encourages deep breathing techniques which induce relaxation prior to going to bed and helps soothe away tension from the day's activities that might have been stored in the shoulders during waking hours. Overall, incorporating a shoulder pulley into one's nightly routine has the potential to provide lasting relief from pain while promoting deeper and more restorative sleep.

When Should You See a Doctor About Your Painful Shoulder?

If you are experiencing persistent pain or night time pain that is interfering with your daily activities or sleep, it is important to see a healthcare provider. Your doctor can evaluate your symptoms, perform diagnostic tests, and develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for your specific needs.

In addition, seek medical attention immediately if you experience severe shoulder pain, sudden weakness or numbness in your arm, or a shoulder injury that causes severe swelling or deformity.


Shoulder pain that worsens at night can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition, but there are several treatments available that can help alleviate your symptoms. By adjusting your sleeping position, performing gentle stretches before bed, and using a shoulder pulley exercise program, you can improve your shoulder mobility and reduce pain, which may help you sleep better at night. If you are experiencing persistent shoulder pain, be sure to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

If you're suffering from shoulder pain at night, a shoulder pulley is the perfect solution to improve your mobility, reduce pain, and promote restful sleep. With its gentle stretching exercises that increase muscle strength and flexibility, it's an easy-to-use yet effective tool for treating shoulder pain without resorting to surgery or other invasive treatments. Try one today and experience lasting relief!

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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.

Medical Disclaimer

This website is intended to provide educational information only and should not be taken as medical advice. The information shared on this website is based on research, but is not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. We recommend that you consult your healthcare provider for any specific questions or concerns you may have. The website does not accept responsibility for any harm that may occur from using the information given on this site. Speak to your medical provider about any health issues!

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