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  1. #1
    Registered User hf5801's Avatar
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    Shoulder pain when sleeping

    I haven't seen anyone talk about this so I'm wondering if anyone experiences it. My shoulders kill me when I'm laying down sleeping. They throb like a toothache when I lay face down, but the pain goes away when I sleep on my back. I don't have the constant throbbing pain when I'm awake moving around. This pain wakes me up several times during the night. Anyone else experience this?
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    This is a common complaint in people who have shoulder injuries. The reason is that when you are upright, the rest of your body supports the weaker muscles of the shoulder (rear delts and smaller spinatus muscles). When you lay down, these muscles actually become load bearing. If you have an injury or tendonitits, there is not enough support or compression on the injured site, thus the inflammation presents itself.

    If this persists, definitely see a doctor as this could be a sign of a chronic injury.

    Ray
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    I have had some problems with this in relation to Upper Cross Syndrome. I have been doing some maitenance exercises for the shoulders, as well as stretching the pecs to help. You can look in my journal for some discusssions that have been had on this. There have been some good advice given in there that may be useful.
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    Originally Posted by hf5801 View Post
    I haven't seen anyone talk about this so I'm wondering if anyone experiences it. My shoulders kill me when I'm laying down sleeping. They throb like a toothache when I lay face down, but the pain goes away when I sleep on my back. I don't have the constant throbbing pain when I'm awake moving around. This pain wakes me up several times during the night. Anyone else experience this?
    Do you roll to your side when you sleep? I find that depending on my shoulder position when I'm on my side it hurts. I try to pivot my shoulder upwards so that the bulk of my weight is on my rib cage and not my shoulder. That helps a lot. As for hurting on your stomach. I have no idea why it would do that.
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  5. #5
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    Originally Posted by hf5801 View Post
    I haven't seen anyone talk about this so I'm wondering if anyone experiences it. My shoulders kill me when I'm laying down sleeping. They throb like a toothache when I lay face down, but the pain goes away when I sleep on my back. I don't have the constant throbbing pain when I'm awake moving around. This pain wakes me up several times during the night. Anyone else experience this?
    I used to wake up with a sore shoulder when I slept on my side and my arm under my torso. Now I sleep with my arm stretched under my pillow when I sleep on my side. Yours sound a lot more severe and I'd get it checked out by a doctor man.
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    Originally Posted by pastorgbc View Post
    This is a common complaint in people who have shoulder injuries. The reason is that when you are upright, the rest of your body supports the weaker muscles of the shoulder (rear delts and smaller spinatus muscles). When you lay down, these muscles actually become load bearing. If you have an injury or tendonitits, there is not enough support or compression on the injured site, thus the inflammation presents itself.

    If this persists, definitely see a doctor as this could be a sign of a chronic injury.

    Ray
    ^^^ agreed. I would see physician (sports). He/she will do a series of simple exams that will hopefully narrow down the possible issues to one or two things at which point you can focus on rehab.
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    Physio theraphy could you help you. It did work for me.

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    Originally Posted by mabs View Post
    Physio theraphy could you help you. It did work for me.

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    PT for me as well and also, probably even better or at least even as far as impact for me has been this:

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    Originally Posted by hf5801 View Post
    I haven't seen anyone talk about this so I'm wondering if anyone experiences it. My shoulders kill me when I'm laying down sleeping. They throb like a toothache when I lay face down, but the pain goes away when I sleep on my back. I don't have the constant throbbing pain when I'm awake moving around. This pain wakes me up several times during the night. Anyone else experience this?
    Yes.
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    Face down sleeping shoulder pain - shoulders get pulled foward when sleeping prone and pectorals also are in continuous contraction causing pain. Supraspinatus, infraspinatus and trapezius also would be in continuous extension causing pain. When sleeping supine, shoulders are in normal position.
    A weak back (weak rhomboids etc and muscular imbalance) can cause this pain too.
    A good PT will be able to identify the cause.
    How well do you do your stretches?
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    Registered User hf5801's Avatar
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    I do most all the RC movements suggested on this forum. I stretch before all workouts. I stopped bp and overhead presses a while ago and it got somewhat better. I work back hard, arms hard, legs hard, just stay away for overhead shoulder work and benching. I feel pain on certain movements during the day, but not severe pain, just discomfort.
    Thanks for all the input....
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    My right shoulder feels pretty good during the day, but sometimes pain from it will wake me up at night. It usually hurts while lying on either side, but not when sleeping on my back. I don't know how you guys can sleep on your stomachs, I haven't done that in decades. No idea why, either.
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    is there a strength loss along with it? that's usually a sign of neerve damage. do you go to a chiropractor?
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    Registered User hf5801's Avatar
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    Actually there is some strength loss come to think of it. No, I don't go to a chiropractor. I used to for my lower back but it's been fine for a few years.
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    you might have a rib or two out of place and they are pressing against your scapular nerve
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    Pain while sleeping is the number one sign of an impingement, go see a doctor.
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    Originally Posted by hf5801 View Post
    I do most all the RC movements suggested on this forum. I stretch before all workouts. I stopped bp and overhead presses a while ago and it got somewhat better. I work back hard, arms hard, legs hard, just stay away for overhead shoulder work and benching. I feel pain on certain movements during the day, but not severe pain, just discomfort.
    Thanks for all the input....
    A weak pectoralis minor going into contraction on sleeping prone will cause pain.
    You must do at least pec flyes as this helps in strengthening the minor.
    There could be some triggers near the insertion point.
    And stretches after exercises as well. Any pain while doing stretches?
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    In addition to all of the above, a 2" foam mattress topper has helped me considerably. Not the gel kind though, it was way too firm. They do make you run a bit warm, but I'll take the trade-off.
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    I have the same problem as I like to sleep on my stomach. I think I pinched a nerve 2 weeks ago and couldn't workout at all for a week due to the pain. I do notice sometimes waking up that my pec cramps....Learn to sleep on your back If I slant the pillow a certain way it helps.
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    Last night I slept on my side with my arm raised straight overhead at like a 45 degree from body. No pain and I don't feel stiffness in the shoulders this morning. Only if I lay either completely face down or directly on the shoulder do I get pain. I'll try slowly working the pecs again to see if that helps. Stretches do not usually hurt. Thanks again for the input...
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    Originally Posted by hf5801 View Post
    Last night I slept on my side with my arm raised straight overhead at like a 45 degree from body. No pain and I don't feel stiffness in the shoulders this morning. Only if I lay either completely face down or directly on the shoulder do I get pain. I'll try slowly working the pecs again to see if that helps. Stretches do not usually hurt. Thanks again for the input...
    The shoulder is a very complex joint with many muscles in and around it. Even a minor injury can become a major painful one for people who train with weights. The stiffness happens due to blood flow being cutoff when sleeping and pressure being applied on the shoulder. This lack of blood flow aggravates the pain further.
    If it's not the pecs minor that's causing it then you must see a sports doctor who should be able to diagnose correctly.
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    I had a tear of the supra spinatus portion of the ro-cuff, and I had dull ache like you describe, as well as sharp stabbing pains in my left shoulder when I would roll to my side during the night.

    My injury came during a car accident, and it took a long time to heal even with therapy.
    Go see a specialist, and pop for the MRI even if the insurance makes you chip in.

    Don't mess around with your shoulders.
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    Chasing the dragon JRT6's Avatar
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    Registered User hf5801's Avatar
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    Great article... thanks!
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    Registered User Alienboy2012's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hf5801 View Post
    I haven't seen anyone talk about this so I'm wondering if anyone experiences it. My shoulders kill me when I'm laying down sleeping. They throb like a toothache when I lay face down, but the pain goes away when I sleep on my back. I don't have the constant throbbing pain when I'm awake moving around. This pain wakes me up several times during the night. Anyone else experience this?
    YES I have exactly this issue. During the day I'm fine, no pain, nothing. At night whenever I lay down my left shoulder throbs with pain. The only thing besides sleeping propped up that "sometimes" works is laying on my right side and placing a pillow between my left arm and body. This keeps my arm up from drapping down to the mattress which will cause it to throb again. I did get celebrex from an oversea pharm co. and that deff. took the pain away but stuff like Ibuprofen or Tylenol did NOTHING.
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    Registered User Mike Spitzer's Avatar
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    Assuming you have no major shoulder injuries, the problem may be as simple as your shoulder width due to development that causes all the weight and stress to focus on your shoulders as you lay on your side.
    I have had this issue myself for years.
    I usually also need 2 pillows for my head to keep my neck straight also.
    I finally had to get a pillow top mattress to give me extra cushion to sink into when laying on my side.
    I also use a body pillow that helps support the body while sleeping.

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    Registered User Donsell's Avatar
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    I had this and ignored it for months. Then one morning out of the blue I couldn't raise my arm more than a few inches without excruciating pain. It was shoulder impingement.

    I was lucky that a cortisone shot and physical therapy was all I needed. But I wouldn't neglect it and get into a doctor as soon as you can. The surgery route is nasty.

    Mine has been good for 2 years now.
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    Originally Posted by Iceman1800 View Post
    you might have a rib or two out of place and they are pressing against your scapular nerve
    ^^^^This. A Chiro can adjust this, quickly.
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    So I've just began going to the gym for the first time. I'm 6'1 and slim. The day after the gym it was all good, but during night I had terrible pain in my shoulder (especially left one), over the day I got over it. I went to the gym for the second time after 2 days and the situation was the same - the next day no pain, but during the night the pain arrives. This second time ,it was just the left shoulder that was sore. In gym I have no pain in my shoulders. I've been wondering, if this is normal for a beginner or is it something more serious which should be addressed?
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    When you look in the mirror are your shoulders even? Get checked out by a chiro. My shoulder blade was outta place & I had to get it adjusted. Cause excruciating pain (throbbing) & woke me up as well.
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