Side Sleepers Neck and Shoulder Pain

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side sleeper neck and shoulder pain

Secrets to Side Sleepers’ Bliss: Banish Neck & Shoulder Pain for Good

Tossing and turning all night from nagging neck or shoulder pain is frustrating and exhausting. At Kaly, we know many side sleepers struggle with this. 

The good news is that adjusting your sleep position, pillow, and mattress can make a big difference. 

Read on to discover proven ways side sleepers can reduce joint pain and wake up rejuvenated.

Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain for Side Sleepers

Sleeping on your side can put extra stress on the neck and shoulders in a few key ways:

  • The neck is rotated to one side for hours, straining muscles and ligaments
  • One shoulder supports more body weight, compressing joints
  • An unsupportive pillow fails to keep the head and spine aligned

Over time, these forces lead to intense muscle tightness and joint pain. Arthritis, old injuries and conditions like bursitis or frozen shoulder also worsen discomfort.

Choosing the Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

Switching to an ergonomic pillow designed for side sleepers can dramatically reduce neck and shoulder pain. The right pillow should:

  • Keep your neck and spine in a neutral position without excessive bending. Look for a pillow about 3-5 inches thick to align the neck properly.
  • Support the space between your shoulder and neck. Contoured pillows with “cut-outs” accommodate this gap to reduce shoulder strain.
  • Cushion your upper shoulder and arm. A body pillow or cushions can prevent strain from directly lying on your shoulder joint all night.
  • Maintain loft and avoid flattening. Memory foam, latex or microfiber pillows retain supportive shape better than down or feathers.

Take time to test different pillows and find your ideal fit. At Kaly, we help connect patients with physical therapists who can advise on optimal pillow types and positioning.

Additional Tips for Side Sleepers

Along with a high-quality pillow, also try these tips to relieve neck and shoulder discomfort:

  • Use pillows strategically – Placing a pillow between your knees and ankles takes stress off your hips and spine.
  • Consider shoulder supports – Special braces, wraps or tucked towels can offload pressure from your upper arm as you sleep.
  • Watch arm position – Keeping your arm extended out can strain the shoulder. Experiment with positions to see what feels best.
  • Adjust mattress firmness – A mattress that’s too soft or firm can contribute to joint pain. Finding the right balance reduces pressure points.
  • Do shoulder stretches – Gentle exercises in the morning help relieve tightness. Our providers offer personalized exercise plans.
  • Apply heat – Sore joints often benefit from heat packs or warm showers before bed.

Small adjustments tailored to your needs make a big difference in waking up pain-free.

When to Seek Medical Care for Neck and Shoulder Pain

It’s important to consult a doctor if you experience:

  • Sudden, acute pain after injury
  • Persistent numbness or tingling down your arm
  • Noticeable loss of strength or mobility
  • Intense pain at night disrupting sleep

A physician can pinpoint underlying conditions requiring treatment beyond pillow adjustments, like spinal stenosis, adhesive capsulitis or bone spurs. Kaly connects patients with top orthopedists, neurologists and pain management specialists for expert diagnosis and care.

The Kaly Advantage for Neck and Shoulder Relief

At Kaly, we make it easy to find proven solutions for stubborn neck and shoulder pain through benefits like:

  • Access to top local orthopedic doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists
  • Ability to book appointments online 24/7
  • Secure sharing of medical records across practitioners
  • Custom exercise plans for joint stability and pain relief
  • Advice on ergonomic equipment and sleep aids
  • Ongoing support through in-person and telehealth visits

Don’t let neck and shoulder pain disrupt your nights. Kaly has the tools and expertise to identify the source of your pain and construct a tailored treatment plan that works. Contact us today so you can rest easy!

Frequently Asked Questions on Side Sleeper Neck and Shoulder Pain

What is the best sleeping position for neck pain?

Sleeping on your back or side are ideal. Side sleeping helps maintain the neck’s natural curve if using a supportive, high-loft pillow.

What type of pillow is best for shoulder pain? 

Choose an ergonomic pillow with contours or cut-outs to support the neck and shoulders. Memory foam and latex pillows provide optimal cushioning.

Should you sleep with a pillow between your shoulders?

It’s fine to place a small, soft pillow or rolled-up towel between your shoulders and neck while sleeping on your side. This protects the shoulder joint.

Can improving your posture help neck and shoulder pain?

Yes, practicing good upright posture takes strain off the neck and shoulders. Our physical therapists provide personalized advice and exercises.

What mattress is best for side sleepers with shoulder pain?

Aim for a medium firmness mattress that cushions your shoulder without sagging too much. Added toppers can help fine-tune comfort.

At Kaly, our holistic approach helps side sleepers find lasting relief. Contact us to finally resolve nagging neck and shoulder pain!