The importance of sleep cannot be overstated. Recent research has discovered links between poor sleep and “hypertension, obesity, type-2 diabetes, impaired immune functioning, cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, mood disorders, neurodegeneration and dementia, and even loneliness.” The causes for poor sleep are vast, but as it relates to physical therapy, sometimes pain can be the cause. Have you ever had a night you just can’t seem to get comfortable because your neck, back, or shoulder hurts? Next thing you know, the alarm clock is ringing, and you’ve barely slept at all. You drag through the next day at work, aren’t productive, and then go home only to experience the same poor night of rest again. Let’s look at ways to improve sleep that is disrupted due to shoulder pain. Sleep position is the most important piece when it comes to shoulder pain. An improved sleep position can truly make the difference maker between a restful and unrestful slumber. The following sleep position modifications may help provide additional support to the arm/shoulder to reduce pain.
As a physical therapist, one of the biggest complaints I receive about low back pain (LBP) is about how it can impact one’s ability to sleep through the night. According to research, low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in adults in the U.S., and the most common reason for lost work days.1