Shoulder Pain at Night and What to Do About It

Women reaching back to hold shoulder

Tossing and turning all night because of shoulder pain is never good. Lots of people experience this issue when trying to get a good night’s rest. It can be both irritating and worrisome at the same time. Studies have shown that shoulder pain is the third most common complaint reported to physiotherapists.

The shoulder is the most flexible and used joint in the human body. If you constantly experience sharp needle-like pain or numbness in that area when trying to sleep, then it is time to do something about it. There are home methods to help treat the pain, but it is difficult to find out the exact cause of your pain unless you visit your chiropractor. With so many connecting tissues, nerves and muscles involved with the shoulder, it helps to consult with a qualified medical professional who can isolate the cause of your problem.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

Although shoulder pain can be considered a common musculoskeletal condition, many factors can cause it. Anything from a physical injury or ailment to a favorite sleeping position, age and even stress can lead to such injuries. In the United States, it is estimated that a staggering 20-40 percent of people suffer from shoulder pain because of an injured or torn rotator cuff. 

Rotator cuff injuries are diagnosed in 3 million Americans every year. A rotator cuff is a set of tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint. The “cuff” helps to keep the shoulder properly positioned in its socket. It can become torn from repeatedly performing the same range of motion, which is quite common in some jobs like stocking shelves or filling mailboxes. 

What can be done to relieve shoulder pain? 


Shoulder joints need to be stretched. Mild shoulder stretches are designed to bring relief to aching muscles. Give these easy seated stretching exercises a try. You only have to do them a few times a week, and they should help to reduce the pain in no time. The key is sticking with the stretching for at least six weeks or more. Within half that time, you should notice a reduction in pain. 

One of the best stretches is called the AAROM extension, which you can do by completing the following steps:

  • Grab a broomstick and stand with your back to a wall.

  • Keeping the arm with the sore shoulder close to the body, put it at a 90-degree angle palm side up.

  • With the broomstick in both hands, push the stick to the side with the good arm while keeping the sore arm/shoulder close to the body to stretch your sore shoulder. 

  • Repeat a few times. 

Seek Help From a Pharmacist

Your local pharmacist can be extremely helpful with medication suggestions such as the right painkillers or ointments to try. Ice and heat packs have also been known to help with pain issues. Practicing good posture will help you deal with shoulder pain because it gives your muscles a chance to “retrain” themselves to support the area properly.  

Change Your Sleeping Position

There are six general sleeping positions. Avoiding the “free faller” sleeping position can also help to reduce shoulder and neck pain. This sleeping position entails sleeping on your stomach with your arms wrapped around a pillow, sleeping in this position can agitate certain muscles leaving you with a sore shoulder. Research has shown that other sleeping positions do not affect the shoulder as much. 

Visit a Chiropractor

People being people, most of the time we feel that we can handle certain issues on our own. However, getting relief from chronic shoulder pain truly depends on you being honest with yourself and admitting you might not be able to tackle the problem without help. If the pain is severe, then seek medical treatment. A visit to our chiropractic office is the best move you can make to isolate your shoulder problem. 

There is a wide range of treatments that may be needed to treat shoulder pain. Your chiropractor can recommend the best treatment options for you and begin a non-invasive solution that involves stretching and strengthening your shoulder.

Don’t let shoulder pain ruin your night or the rest of your life. Just think what you can achieve when that shoulder pain is gone for good. The next step is up to you. Start by scheduling an appointment with us on your journey to a pain-free shoulder.