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  • Nicki Ferramosca

What Could Be Causing Your Shoulder Pain

Updated: Jul 22, 2022

Waking up with shoulder pain? What a pain in the neck… no really, it might just be a pain that is coming from your neck!

Waking up in the middle of the night or in the morning after what seemed like a good night’s sleep with pain in your shoulder can be so frustrating. We hear this a lot. (aka you are not alone)! There are several factors that may be contributing to this discomfort. Let’s talk through a few things you can do to determine what might be the cause! Of course, coming in to see a physical therapist with us is a great first step too.

Is the pain coming from your neck? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Is pain your only symptom or do you have other symptoms like numbness, tingling or weakness? Are you having headaches? These symptoms may indicate a neck issue including pressure on the nerve root in the spine (that travels to the shoulder), stiffness at the joints in the spine or other issues that may have been there that are just irritated at this time.

Have you recently changed your sleeping position, pillow or amount of sleep? These may factor in with waking up uncomfortable (and stiff). If your shoulder is feeling uncomfortable, you may want to avoid sleeping on that side until things calm down or we can determine what is the cause of the pain. Does your pillow put your neck or shoulder in a weird position by being too flat or too thick? That may put pressure on the shoulder that you can correct by a more comfortable pillow. Sleep quality and quantity can really affect how our body feels in the morning and throughout the day so make sure you are getting enough sleep!

Another thing to consider is whether you have started a new workout routine or have added an exercise into your routine that may be the culprit of this shoulder discomfort. Do you do anything new at the gym or home that may have irritated the shoulder (including maybe the rotator cuff tendons or top part of your biceps)?

These are questions you can start with and we can help you find the answers. You don’t have to settle with waking up with shoulder pain!

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