Why does my shoulder wake me up at night?

Shoulder discomfort can not only be excruciating but exert a notably adverse impact upon one’s mobility. When such discomfort occurs at night, you might experience difficulties sleeping. Consistent insomnia could precipitate various potentially serious issues, such as, a weakened immune system, high blood pressure and diminished cognitive skills, like memory or focus.

Considering such facts, identifying what is causing your nighttime shoulder pain and finding the best treatment are critical undertakings. Located in Plano TX, the Plano Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Spine Center, sometimes abbreviated as POSMC, invites you to read on to learn specific conditions that might induce nighttime shoulder pain, their causes and possible treatment options.

Common Nighttime Pain-Inducing Shoulder Conditions


Tendons are soft tissue structures that attach muscles to bones. Significant amounts of stress are placed on shoulder tendons whenever you lift or carry something. Moreover, if you are physically active and play sports, such as baseball and basketball or a contact sport, like football, even greater pressure is placed on such physical components.

Additionally, the simple aging process could precipitate this malady characterized by inflamed tendons that produce symptoms, including stiffness and swelling in the impacted area. Medical professionals opine that the condition tends to worsen during the evening because laying on your shoulder reduces blood flow to injured areas.

Rotator Cuff Damage

The rotator cuff is a collection of muscles and soft tissues connecting your upper arm and shoulder blade. This structure could incur tears via the aging process, traumatic injuries, such as, automobile mishaps or from chronic overuse. These physical ailments can precipitate severe pain and mobility issues. Sleeping on your side often places greater pressure on the structure, which exacerbates accompanying inflammation.


The shoulder is filled with fluid-laden sacs called bursa, which provide cushioning for the shoulder joints. When these parts become inflamed, a condition called bursitis ensues. Laying on your side compresses bursa. Such action significantly worsens associated pain and inflammation.

Potential Treatment Options

The specific treatment employed by your doctor will depend upon several issues, such as, your age, physical condition, the exact underlying condition and said malady’s severity. However, possible remediation techniques, include:


In mild to moderate instance of nighttime shoulder pain, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs might yield a certain degree of relief. Severer manifestations might necessitate the use of more powerful substances, like corticosteroid injections.

Changing Your Sleeping Position

This might sound silly and simplistic but has yielded favorable results for some. However, sleeping on your stomach or back might alleviate the pressure placed on your shoulder.

Physical Therapy

In instances where the condition in question has precipitated weakness or mobility problems, a course of physical therapy may lessen nighttime discomfort. These exercises will be designed to strengthen fatigued shoulder structures and help you regain lost mobility.


The most serious manifestations of any of the preceding conditions might require surgical intervention. Specific operations might be performed to repair damaged tendons and removed scarred tissues.

Contact Us

If you have been diagnosed with any of the aforementioned maladies or continue to experience nighttime shoulder discomfort, we invite you to contact us. Our Plano TX clinic employs board certified orthopedic shoulder specialists who can perform a comprehensive examination and might be able to identify the issue and offer possible therapeutic options. Our website is https://www.posmc.com/.

Call POSMC today!

To schedule an appointment with one our specialists, contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.

POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!