Shoulder Pain At Night?

Experiencing shoulder pain at night is a common yet distressing phenomenon that affects a broad demographic, regardless of age or gender. Nocturnal shoulder pain caused by rotator cuff inflammation affects the arm bones and shoulder blades’ connective tissues.

The Mechanism Behind Elevated Nighttime Shoulder Discomfort

Various factors, such as poor posture, overuse injuries, and specific medical conditions like arthritis and tendonitis, are implicated in the escalation of nighttime shoulder discomfort. Muscular tension due to bad posture can aggravate pain when lying down.

Common Causes And Contributory Factors

Several different conditions can cause shoulder pain at night. Below are some common causes of shoulder pain at night:

Subacromial Bursitis

Inflammation in the bursae facilitates smooth shoulder joint movements and leads to subacromial bursitis. Caused by repetitive strain or trauma, this condition can induce severe discomfort even during rest periods.

Shoulder Impingement

Impingement of the shoulder is a common cause of nighttime shoulder pain. It happens when the tendons and muscles in your shoulder become irritated or inflamed from overuse, repetitive use, and trauma.

As you sleep, you may experience pain when lying on your shoulder joint, rotating or raising your arm overhead to reach for something. You might also experience pain if you sleep with one arm under your head or hang it by your side while sleeping.

If you have any of these issues, you should see an osteopath who can determine the cause and provide effective non-surgical treatment.


Arthritis in the shoulder can lead to joint stiffness, pain, and limited mobility. Postural strain or prior injuries often contribute to the onset of shoulder arthritis.

Frozen Shoulder

Characterised by stiffness and a restricted range of motion, a frozen shoulder often accompanies morning pain. It’s due to the thickening of the shoulder capsule’s lining.


Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon. Tendonitis can occur due to injury or overuse, and it is essential to identify and treat it effectively. When suffering from tendonitis, stressing the affected area throughout the day can cause a worsening of the pain at night.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain near where the tendon attaches to the bone
  • Inflammation or warmth in this same area
  • Tenderness when pressing down on this spot
  • Stiffness when using that particular joint after sleeping with an arm above shoulder level all night long
  • Pain in the shoulder when lifting heavy items


Risk Factors For Shoulder Pain At Night

Shoulder pain at night is joint in people of all ages. It is more likely to occur in physically active patients with a medical condition, such as arthritis or tendonitis. Your sleep position may also affect whether you suffer from shoulder pain at night.

Applying too much stress on the shoulder throughout the day can also increase your chances of experiencing shoulder pain at night. If you have a chronic shoulder injury or are experiencing shoulder pain at night, seeing a licensed healthcare practitioner can help you determine the root cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan that works best for your lifestyle.

Strategies For Treatment And Pain Management

Consulting an osteopath is crucial in diagnosing and treating sleep-related shoulder pain. Osteopathic care encompasses a holistic approach that includes personalised exercise plans and techniques like joint mobilisation and soft tissue therapy.

If you have shoulder pain at night and want to learn more about osteopathy treatment, please contact us today by calling (02) 8054 7166.

The Benefits of Osteopathic Care:

Osteopathy involves comprehensive assessment, treatment options, personalised exercise regimens, and pain management advice. Techniques like manipulation, stretching, and soft tissue therapy enhance shoulder mobility and alleviate underlying causes of stiffness or inflammation.

Our priority is threefold: mitigate pain, address root causes, and strengthen shoulder tendons. Techniques include soft tissue therapy, dry needling, joint mobilisation, and exercises for home use. A tailored exercise plan aids tendon recovery, ensuring long-term resolution and minimal recurrence risk.

When to see an Osteopath

Shoulder pain’s impact extends beyond the affected area. An osteopath’s holistic approach tackles pain and its broader effects. If day or nighttime shoulder pain disrupts your life, prompt professional attention is advised.

Tips For Immediate Relief

  • Change Sleep Positions: Avoid lying on the affected shoulder to mitigate sleep discomfort.
  • Cold Compress: Apply ice for 20 minutes before sleep to reduce inflammation.
  • Pillow Support: Use pillows strategically to prevent rolling onto the painful shoulder during sleep.

Rehabilitative Shoulder Exercises

We outline exercises to ease nighttime shoulder pain and enhance well-being.

Try the following exercises:

Conclusion: Triumph Over Chronic Shoulder Pain

Nighttime shoulder pain can be debilitating. At MPR Health, we aim to ensure your long-term wellness through effective osteopathic treatments. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us at (02) 8054 7166.