20 May 2024
Discover effective remedies for arm and shoulder pain after sleeping. From proper sleeping positions to stretches and exercises, find relief now!

Hey there! We all know how frustrating it can be to wake up with arm and shoulder pain after a good night’s sleep. It can turn your morning into a dreary and uncomfortable experience. But fear not, because in this article, we will explore some effective remedies that can provide relief for that pesky pain. From proper sleeping positions to gentle stretches and exercises, we’ve got you covered! So, if you’re tired of waking up with aches and soreness, keep on reading to discover how to kick those arm and shoulder pains to the curb.

Effective Remedies for Arm and Shoulder Pain After Sleeping

Table of Contents

Causes of Arm and Shoulder Pain After Sleeping

Sleeping in an improper position

One of the leading causes of arm and shoulder pain after sleeping is sleeping in an improper position. When you sleep in a position that puts strain on your arms and shoulders, it can lead to muscle tension and discomfort upon waking up. For example, sleeping on your side with your arm tucked under your pillow or head can cause compression of the nerves and blood vessels in the shoulder, resulting in pain and numbness.

Sleeping on a worn-out mattress or pillow

Another common cause of arm and shoulder pain after sleeping is sleeping on a worn-out mattress or pillow. When your mattress or pillow loses its supportive properties over time, it fails to provide proper cushioning and alignment for your body. This can lead to improper spinal alignment, muscle tension, and ultimately, pain in the arms and shoulders.

Poor pillow height or lack of support

The height and support of your pillow can also contribute to arm and shoulder pain after sleeping. If your pillow is too high or too low, it can cause strain on your neck and shoulders, leading to discomfort and pain. Additionally, if your pillow does not provide adequate support for your head and neck, it can result in muscle tension and misalignment, further exacerbating arm and shoulder pain.

Underlying medical conditions

In some cases, arm and shoulder pain after sleeping may be caused by underlying medical conditions. Conditions such as rotator cuff injuries, frozen shoulder, tendinitis, and arthritis can cause pain and stiffness in the arms and shoulders, which may be exacerbated by sleeping in certain positions or on an unsupportive surface. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional if your pain persists or worsens, as they can diagnose and treat any underlying conditions.

Preventing Arm and Shoulder Pain Before Sleeping

Adopting a suitable sleeping position

To prevent arm and shoulder pain before sleeping, it is crucial to adopt a suitable sleeping position that minimizes strain on these areas. The best position for minimizing arm and shoulder pain is sleeping on your back with a supportive pillow that keeps your head and neck properly aligned. If you prefer to sleep on your side, make sure to use a pillow that adequately supports your neck and keeps your spine in a neutral position. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this can put excessive strain on your neck, shoulders, and arms.

Investing in a supportive mattress and pillows

Investing in a supportive mattress and pillows is essential for preventing arm and shoulder pain before sleeping. Look for a mattress that provides appropriate firmness and support for your body. A mattress that is too soft can lead to poor spinal alignment, potentially causing arm and shoulder pain. Similarly, choose pillows that are designed to support your neck and keep your head in a neutral position. Memory foam or orthopedic pillows can be particularly beneficial for reducing pain and promoting proper alignment.

Using additional support devices

If you find that your arm and shoulder pain persists despite adopting a suitable sleeping position and investing in a supportive mattress and pillows, using additional support devices may help. For example, you can use a body pillow to provide extra support for your arms and shoulders or use a rolled-up towel or blanket to create a makeshift armrest. These support devices can help relieve pressure on your arms and shoulders, reducing the likelihood of pain and discomfort.

Maintaining good posture throughout the day

Maintaining good posture throughout the day is crucial for preventing arm and shoulder pain before sleeping. Poor posture can put strain on the muscles and joints, leading to pain and discomfort. Make a conscious effort to sit and stand with proper posture, keeping your shoulders back and down, and avoiding slouching or hunching forward. Regular breaks and stretches throughout the day can also help alleviate tension and promote better posture, reducing the risk of arm and shoulder pain at night.

Effective Remedies for Arm and Shoulder Pain After Sleeping

Stretching and Relaxation Techniques

Neck and shoulder stretches

Performing neck and shoulder stretches regularly can help relieve tension and reduce the likelihood of arm and shoulder pain after sleeping. Simple stretches such as gently tilting your head from side to side or rolling your shoulders forward and backward can help loosen tight muscles. You can also try stretching exercises like the chin tuck or the shoulder roll to further alleviate stiffness and promote flexibility in the neck and shoulder area.

Chest and upper back stretches

Stretches targeting the chest and upper back can also be beneficial for preventing arm and shoulder pain. These stretches help counteract the forward rounding of the shoulders that often occurs due to poor posture or prolonged sitting. Stretching exercises such as the doorway stretch or the upper back extension stretch can help open up the chest and improve posture, reducing the strain on the arms and shoulders.

Arm and wrist stretches

In addition to neck and shoulder stretches, it is important to incorporate arm and wrist stretches into your routine to prevent arm and shoulder pain. These stretches help improve flexibility and alleviate tension in the muscles and joints of the arms and wrists. Simple exercises like wrist circles, finger stretches, and triceps stretches can be performed before bedtime to promote relaxation and minimize the risk of pain upon waking up.

Deep breathing and relaxation exercises

Deep breathing and relaxation exercises can help calm the mind and relax the body, reducing overall muscle tension and promoting better sleep. Techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery can be particularly effective in alleviating stress, anxiety, and muscular discomfort. Practice these exercises before going to bed to create a state of relaxation and ease any arm or shoulder pain caused by tension or stress.

Hot and Cold Therapy

Applying ice packs

When experiencing arm and shoulder pain after sleeping, applying ice packs can help reduce inflammation and alleviate discomfort. Cold therapy works by constricting blood vessels and numbing nerve endings, thereby reducing pain signals. To apply ice packs, wrap them in a thin towel and place them on the affected areas for approximately 15-20 minutes at a time. Be sure to take breaks between cold therapy sessions to prevent skin damage.

Using heat therapy

Heat therapy is another effective method for relieving arm and shoulder pain. Applying heat to the affected areas helps increase blood flow, relax muscles, and reduce stiffness. You can use a heating pad, warm towel, or hot water bottle to provide heat therapy. Just ensure that the temperature is comfortable and not too hot to avoid burns. Apply heat for 15-20 minutes and repeat as needed to relieve pain and promote relaxation.

Alternating hot and cold therapy

In some cases, alternating hot and cold therapy can be particularly beneficial for arm and shoulder pain after sleeping. This technique, known as contrast therapy, can help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote healing. Start with a cold pack for 10 minutes, followed by a hot pack for another 10 minutes, and repeat the cycle a few times. Always end the therapy with a cold pack to help reduce any remaining inflammation.

Effective Remedies for Arm and Shoulder Pain After Sleeping

Massage and Self-Massage Techniques

Shoulder and neck massage

Massaging the shoulders and neck can provide immense relief from arm and shoulder pain. A professional massage therapist can target the specific areas of tension and apply techniques to release tight muscles and promote relaxation. If you prefer self-massage, you can use your hands, fingers, or a massage tool like a handheld massager to knead and press the muscles in your shoulders and neck. Remember to start with gentle pressure and gradually increase it to a comfortable level.

Self-massage with a foam roller or tennis ball

Using a foam roller or a tennis ball can be an effective way to self-massage your shoulders, upper back, and arms. Lie on the foam roller or place the tennis ball against a wall, and apply controlled pressure by rolling or leaning against it. This can help release tension and knots in the muscles, providing relief from arm and shoulder pain. Adjust the intensity as needed and avoid any areas that cause excessive discomfort or pain.

Trigger point therapy

Trigger points are specific areas of muscle that are hyperirritable and can cause referred pain in other parts of the body. Trigger point therapy involves applying pressure to these points to release tension and alleviate pain. You can use your fingers, knuckles, or a massage tool to apply pressure to trigger points in the arms, shoulders, and upper back. However, it is important to apply pressure within your comfort level and avoid causing excessive pain.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help alleviate arm and shoulder pain caused by inflammation. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can effectively reduce pain and swelling. However, it is important to follow the dosing instructions and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any underlying medical conditions or if your pain persists for an extended period.

Topical pain relievers

Topical pain relievers come in various forms, including creams, gels, and patches, and can be applied directly to the skin over the affected areas. These products usually contain ingredients like menthol, capsaicin, or lidocaine, which help numb the area and provide temporary relief from pain. Topical pain relievers are particularly useful for localized pain and can be used alongside other treatment methods for better pain management.

Joint supplements and vitamins

Certain joint supplements and vitamins may offer additional support in managing arm and shoulder pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are commonly used to ease joint discomfort and promote joint health. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil supplements, are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce pain and inflammation. Before starting any supplements or vitamins, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure their safety and effectiveness for your specific needs.

Improving Sleep Environment

Creating a comfortable and supportive sleep space

Creating a comfortable and supportive sleep environment is crucial for preventing arm and shoulder pain after sleeping. Ensure that your mattress provides adequate support and cushioning for your body, and that your pillow keeps your head and neck in proper alignment. Use high-quality bedding materials that are soft and breathable to enhance your overall sleep comfort.

Regulating room temperature and humidity

Regulating the room temperature and humidity can also contribute to a better sleep environment and alleviate arm and shoulder pain. Keep the room temperature between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 19 degrees Celsius) for optimal sleep comfort. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier, depending on your needs, to maintain an appropriate level of humidity in the room, as dry air can lead to discomfort and aggravate pain.

Reducing noise and light disturbances

Noise and light disturbances can disrupt your sleep and contribute to arm and shoulder pain. Use blackout curtains or blinds to block out any unwanted light from outside, and consider wearing earplugs or using a white noise machine to mask disturbing sounds. Creating a quiet and dark sleep environment promotes deeper and more restful sleep, reducing the likelihood of waking up with pain or discomfort.

Establishing a regular sleep routine

Establishing a regular sleep routine can help regulate your body’s internal clock and improve the quality of your sleep. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Engage in relaxing activities before bedtime, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath, to signal to your body that it is time to wind down and prepare for sleep. A well-established sleep routine contributes to overall better sleep health and can help minimize arm and shoulder pain.

Physical Therapy and Exercises

Range of motion exercises

Engaging in range of motion exercises can help improve flexibility and reduce arm and shoulder pain. These exercises involve moving your arms and shoulders in various directions to maintain or increase their natural range of motion. Simple exercises like arm circles, shoulder rolls, and wall slides can help stretch and strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, promoting better mobility and reducing discomfort.

Strengthening exercises for the arms and shoulders

Strengthening exercises specifically targeting the arms and shoulders are beneficial for improving stability and reducing the risk of pain. Activities such as push-ups, bicep curls, tricep dips, and lateral raises can help strengthen the muscles in these areas, reducing strain and providing support. Start with light weights and gradually increase the intensity as your strength improves, consulting with a fitness professional if needed.

Posture correction exercises

Poor posture is often a contributing factor to arm and shoulder pain. Incorporating posture correction exercises into your routine can help strengthen the muscles that support proper alignment and reduce pain. Exercises such as scapular retractions, wall angels, and plank variations can improve postural awareness and strengthen the muscles of the back, shoulders, and core. Consistency and proper form are key to reaping the benefits of these exercises.

Yoga or Pilates for improved flexibility

Yoga and Pilates are popular forms of exercise that can aid in improving flexibility and reducing arm and shoulder pain. These practices focus on stretching, strengthening, and improving posture, all of which contribute to better musculoskeletal health. Participating in regular yoga or Pilates classes, either in-person or through online resources, can help you develop a well-rounded exercise routine and foster a mind-body connection for overall well-being.

Professional Treatment Options

Chiropractic care

Chiropractic care can be a valuable treatment option for arm and shoulder pain after sleeping, especially when caused by misalignments or subluxations in the spine. Chiropractors use manual adjustment techniques to realign the spine, promoting optimal nerve function and reducing pain and discomfort. They may also suggest exercises, stretches, and lifestyle modifications to support long-term pain relief and prevention.


Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the flow of energy and promote healing. For arm and shoulder pain after sleeping, acupuncture can help alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and restore balance in the body. Many individuals find acupuncture sessions to be relaxing and beneficial for managing pain in a holistic manner.


Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy, is a healthcare profession that focuses on physical rehabilitation and injury prevention. A physiotherapist can assess your condition, provide targeted exercises and stretches, and utilize various therapeutic techniques to reduce arm and shoulder pain. These may include manual therapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and heat or cold therapy. Physiotherapy aims to restore function, improve mobility, and alleviate pain through evidence-based interventions.

Orthopedic consultation

If your arm and shoulder pain persists despite trying various self-help measures, seeking an orthopedic consultation is recommended. An orthopedic specialist can evaluate your symptoms, conduct diagnostic tests if necessary, and provide a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific condition. They may recommend further imaging studies, prescribe medications, or discuss surgical options if conservative treatments prove ineffective. Their expertise in musculoskeletal disorders ensures a personalized approach to address the underlying causes of your arm and shoulder pain.

Lifestyle Changes to Alleviate Arm and Shoulder Pain

Maintaining a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for reducing stress on your joints, including those in your arms and shoulders. Excess body weight can contribute to increased strain on the muscles and joints, leading to pain and discomfort. Adopting a balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, alleviating pressure on your arms and shoulders and reducing the risk of pain after sleeping.

Ergonomic adjustments at work and home

Ergonomic adjustments in your everyday environment can significantly alleviate arm and shoulder pain. Evaluate your workspace and make necessary adjustments to ensure proper ergonomics. This includes keeping your computer monitor at eye level, using an ergonomic chair with good lumbar support, and positioning your keyboard and mouse at a comfortable height. At home, maintain proper body mechanics when performing household tasks and consider using ergonomic tools or assistive devices to minimize strain on your arms and shoulders.

Avoiding repetitive arm movements or heavy lifting

Repetitive arm movements and heavy lifting can put excessive strain on the muscles and joints, leading to arm and shoulder pain. If possible, try to minimize activities that require repetitive movements or lifting heavy objects. If these activities are unavoidable, take frequent breaks to rest and stretch your arms and shoulders. Practice proper lifting techniques, using your legs and core muscles rather than relying solely on your arms. By being mindful of these actions, you can reduce the risk of pain and potential injury.

Managing stress levels

Stress can have a significant impact on your musculoskeletal health and contribute to arm and shoulder pain. Incorporating stress management techniques into your daily routine can help reduce tension and promote relaxation. Find activities that help you unwind and destress, such as practicing mindfulness, engaging in hobbies, or spending time in nature. Additionally, incorporating stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can help alleviate physical and mental tension, minimizing the likelihood of arm and shoulder pain.

By implementing these preventive measures, utilizing various treatment options, and making necessary lifestyle changes, you can effectively alleviate arm and shoulder pain after sleeping. It is important to listen to your body, consult with healthcare professionals when needed, and prioritize self-care to ensure optimal musculoskeletal health and restful nights of sleep.

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