Experiencing shoulder pain may not always be serious, but it can greatly affect your daily routine, activities, and overall well-being if not managed properly. Any pain in or around the shoulder joint is considered shoulder pain. It’s where the upper arm bones, shoulder blades, and collarbone connect, making it painful and difficult to move or lift your arm.
Younger people are more likely to suffer from shoulder pain due to accidents or injuries. Natural wear and tear happen in the shoulder joint and rotator cuff tendon as you get older. The soft tissues surrounding the shoulder degenerate with age which may become chronic pain over time. With that, people above the age of 60 are more prone to shoulder pain.
Shoulder Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Different factors and conditions can contribute to shoulder pain. You can injure your shoulder by doing physical labor, playing sports, or simply moving it repetitively. The most common cause of shoulder pain is rotator cuff tendinitis. It is a condition characterized by an inflamed group of muscles in the shoulder.
Certain diseases can also cause pain to radiate to the shoulder, such as cervical spine diseases, as well as liver, heart, and gallbladder diseases. Other causes of shoulder pain include the following:
- Shoulder separation
- Frozen shoulder
- Torn cartilage
- Shoulder impingement syndrome
- Broken collarbone
- Bone spurs
- Heart attack
- Spinal cord injury
- Poor shoulder posture
It’s easy to notice the signs and symptoms of shoulder pain. If your arms and shoulders are too stiff or painful and you can’t move them normally, you might be experiencing shoulder pain. Although you can relieve the pain with home remedies, it’s still important to consult a doctor to receive the proper treatment and determine if your shoulder pain requires physical therapy, medication, or surgery.
Can Sleeping Position Cause Shoulder Impingement?
The most common sleeping position that can cause shoulder impingement is sleeping on your side. Spending six to eight hours sleeping on your side at night will put pressure on one side of your shoulder from carrying the weight of the other shoulder and your torso. It can inflame your shoulder joint and lead to shoulder impingement syndrome, which is among the most common causes of shoulder pain.
Your sleeping position, particularly sleeping on the side, can also be the reason why you sometimes wake up with a sharp feeling on your shoulders even though you didn’t do any physical activity the day before. It can aggravate the pain of shoulder impingement as well as various aches in your body.
Where Do I Put My Arms When Sleeping on My Side?
To sleep more comfortably on your side, ensure that the other side of your arm isn’t pressing against your body as it may result in chronic pain. Place the arm resting on your side below your face and the other side in a straight position above your body. It’s better to switch sides from time to time, as well, to avoid pressing one side of your arm against your body.
Avoid putting your hands and arms under your pillow and head because this can cause direct pressure and pain. You may also try bending your exposed arm and putting it above a pillow in front of your chest while the other arm remains below your face. However, make sure that it isn’t placed under the pillow where the other arm is resting to prevent unnecessary strain.
Can the Wrong Mattress Cause Shoulder Pain?
Even the mattress you use can aggravate the symptoms of shoulder pain. Using a mattress that doesn’t provide adequate pressure relief on the shoulders, for instance, may result in unnecessary tension on the shoulder joints. A mattress that’s too soft may also shrink your shoulder, especially if you’re sleeping on one side. The force or weight from the other shoulder can add more pressure to the other side.
Meanwhile, if your mattress is too firm, it may cause shoulder stiffness or pain. A firm mattress can’t provide maximum comfort and support to your body, causing discomfort to your shoulders. To achieve the right balance between pressure relief and support, you need to consider a soft to medium mattress to keep your joints and muscles relaxed when sleeping.
Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers With Shoulder Pain
Among the most common and comfortable sleeping positions is sleeping on the side. It can keep your spine balanced, relieve pressure on your muscles, and reduce snoring or sleep apnea. However, if you’re not using the right mattress to support and relax your body, it may exacerbate shoulder pain. The Bitbag Team has compiled a list of the best mattresses for side sleepers experiencing shoulder pain:
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers With Shoulder and Neck Pain: GhostBed Luxe
Since body temperature also affects sleep quality, you need a mattress that allows you to feel comfortable and cozy when sleeping or resting, even when the temperature is hot or humid. GhostBed Luxe has seven layers of cooling and comfort that instantly keep the entire core of the mattress cool, trap heat, and provide ideal support. If you have shoulder pain, the medium plush firmness and bouncy foam of this mattress will contour your body instead of pressing against it as if you’re sleeping on a cloud.
GhostBed Luxe‘s gel memory foam layer relieves pressure points, prevents motion transfer, and eliminates the need to toss and turn when you’re asleep. Although you’re experiencing shoulder pain, you’ll be able to sleep on your side with enough support and comfort throughout the night. You don’t have to wake up soaked in sweat, either. This is an excellent choice for hot and side sleepers seeking targeted pressure-point support.
Best Mattress for Side Sleeper Shoulder and Hip Pain: Ghost SmartBed 3D Matrix
Get a good night’s sleep on smart bed technology with a customized firmness that adapts to your needs. The Ghost SmartBed 3D Matrix is perfect for all types of sleepers because it can adjust to five individual body zones on both sides, allowing you to achieve the firmness you prefer. You can select from firm to plush—whatever makes you feel comfortable. Among its features and benefits are the following:
- Real-time adjustments to detect body pressure and adjust it in real-time
- Infinite customization for personalized comfort
- Patented cooling for ultimate cooling and contouring comfort
- Easy-to-use companion app to monitor sleep stats like sleep stage tracking and breaths per minute
The real-time adjustments feature is especially beneficial if you suffer from shoulder pain. The smart sensors of the Ghost SmartBed 3D Matrix can detect your body pressure and automatically adjust to your position as you sleep. This makes it easier to match your body condition or sleeping position to the firmness of your mattress, making it more comfortable for your shoulders despite the pain. It will also help you sleep faster every night.
Best Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers With Shoulder and Hip Pain: GhostBed Memory Foam Topper
Invest in a high-quality mattress topper for extra comfort and support, as well as more layers of protection for your mattress. The GhostBed Memory Foam Topper ensures head-to-toe comfort and more restorative sleep regardless of what’s underneath. It can help soothe shoulder pain with a cool-to-the-touch cover that adds an extra layer of comfort and gel memory foam that absorbs heat.
The GhostBed Memory Foam Topper targets comfort zones, including the head, shoulders, hips, legs, and feet, to provide maximum pressure relief and raised zones to promote airflow. It can also relieve pressure based on your body’s natural weight distribution. The two-inch signature GhostGrip elastic band securely holds the topper in place while the deep-pocket cotton cover protects your mattress from sweat, spills, or stains.
Best Mattress for Heavy Side Sleepers With Shoulder Pain: GhostBed Natural Mattress
Sleep naturally better and be kinder to the environment with the eco-friendly and durable GhostBed Natural Mattress. It consists of five layers of hybrid comfort that cradle your body without sinking in. Your shoulders will be at ease with the natural Dunlop and Talalay latex that offers a perfect balance of support and softness. It’s made from sustainable materials such as latex, wool, and cotton with the same quality, comfort, and durability as other GhostBed mattresses.
The GhostBed Natural Mattress features an organic and breathable cotton cover, naturally cooling latex core, airflow-enhancing coils, and heat-dispersing natural wool that lets you sleep comfortably and wake up feeling refreshed—no more excessive sweating. The Spirited Edge support helps maintain the structure and prevents sagging at the edges of the mattress for long-lasting use.
Maintaining proper sleeping posture can help ease shoulder pain and relax your muscles even if you sleep for long hours. The Nature’s Sleep Meadow Mattress will give your body adequate support with its thick yet soft and cool foam layers. This dual comfort memory foam mattress combines ViTex latex-like memory foam, gel memory foam layer, transition foam layer, and moderate density foam core to conform your body without experiencing pressure points.
The Nature’s Sleep Meadow Mattress also has a cool-touch cotton blend quilted cover and cool flow fiber to keep you comfortable and cool despite any heat. Its medium firmness allows you to snuggle in your bed all day without straining your back and muscles. You can comfortably sleep on your side or in any position while it shapes and aligns your body so you won’t wake up with sore or aching muscles.
Best Side Sleeping Position for Shoulder Pain
It’s important to identify the best side sleeping position that helps relieve shoulder pain. The most recommended sleeping position for shoulder pain is sleeping on your back with a small pillow tucked between your shoulder blades. It keeps the spine in a neutral position and prevents too much pressure on the shoulders. Maintain a straight back and neck to reduce strain, as well.
If you’re a side sleeper, make sure not to stick on one side throughout the night. Switching sides can help reduce the chances of developing imbalances. It would be best to consider sleeping on the side of the unaffected shoulder to avoid aggravating the painful side.
Can Sleeping With Your Arm Under Your Pillow Cause Shoulder Pain?
Sleeping with your arm under your pillow doesn’t really cause shoulder pain but it can still exacerbate the pain, especially if done on a regular basis. You should avoid sleeping with your arm under a pillow as it can add pressure and tension to your shoulder tendons.
It is similar to sleeping on your side throughout the night, carrying the entire weight of the other side. Doing that also puts pressure on your arm, which is connected to your shoulders. If you’re already experiencing shoulder pain, placing your arm under a pillow could make it worse.
Aside from your mattress, it’s also important to choose the right pillow to improve your sleep quality and sleeping posture. The pillow you use should be firm enough to support your entire body while providing proper spine alignment to put your shoulders at ease while sleeping.
The GhostPillow – Shredded has three layers of cool and comfort suitable for back, side, and stomach sleepers. It’s made of certified shredded memory foam and microfiber with a soft and breathable cover. This pillow can alleviate shoulder pain by gently cradling and contouring the head, neck, and shoulders.
One of the most beneficial features of the GhostPillow – Shredded is the customizable fill that allows you to achieve the right balance and comfort you prefer for your pillow. You can easily adjust it no matter how you sleep. Whether you want a pillow that isn’t too soft or too thick, all you need to do is remove or add the fill to find the perfect firmness based on your needs.
How to Find the Best Mattress for You
Anyone can experience shoulder pain due to numerous reasons. However, this can be prevented and treated easily as long as you clearly understand its causes, symptoms, and treatments. The simplest way to avoid shoulder pain is to choose the right mattress to sleep on and to find the best sleeping position that will put your body at ease while sleeping.
Getting a mattress that’s ideal for you can be challenging, though. If you need help choosing the right mattress, take Marc’s Mattress Quiz, which will give you advice on finding the perfect mattress for you. You just need to answer a few questions about the mattress and firmness you prefer, your sleeping position, and the issues that affect your sleep.
Several conclusions will then be presented to you to help you identify your needs. At least three specific GhostBed mattresses will be recommended for you. Since the questions are reviewed by Marc Werner, the founder of GhostBed and a sleep expert, answering the quiz is like talking to a sleep expert online to find the best mattress that will conveniently solve your problems.