Shoulder pain at night – where does it come from and what can be done against it?

Do you suffer from shoulder pain that is particularly pronounced during the night and sometimes continues over the first half of the day?

Then this pain can pose some puzzles to you. Because normally the rule applies that resting the affected part of the body allows it to recover and the pain recedes.

But what can you do when the night is causing shoulder pain to get worse and sleep does not provide any relief?

In this guide you will find out how to deal with this pain and how best to avoid medication.

This goes hand in hand with the recommendation that the doctor should always be the first point of contact in the event of severe complaints .

In order to get to the bottom of the pain, you first and foremost have to find the causes. Only then is targeted treatment possible to alleviate the symptoms over the long term.

If shoulder pain occurs primarily at night, in most cases it is due to inflammation of the structures around the shoulders. This includes the tendons and bursae.

During the night the muscles are in a relaxed state. In this case, however, this is a disadvantage for the shoulder and leads to the symptoms occurring.

The head of the humerus rises a little due to the slack muscles. The space under the shoulder roof is narrowing and there is no longer enough space for the structures.

First of all, this manifests itself in the fact that the tendons and bursa are somewhat irritated. After getting up, you will notice this from slight discomfort when performing the movement. After a while, this slight irritation can develop into complete inflammation.

During the day the pain subsides. This is because the shoulder is now moving . It is supplied with more blood and the ability to move is improved. The affected structures are better cared for and the shoulder can recover a little.

If you lay down to rest at night, the blood circulation in the affected areas decreases. The pain then increases again and is most noticeable in the morning after getting up.


The pain can be a major limitation during the day. After all, it takes some time before you can insert the shoulder pain-free.

First of all, you should try to get used to your sleeping position . One reason is that the arm is too low. In order to open the shoulder a little and to give the structures more space, it is advisable to put a pillow under your arm. To do this, you should lie on your back and the elevated position will open your shoulder.

Another cause of the inflammation is the poor blood circulation. Before going to bed, you could promote blood circulation by applying an appropriate ointment . A horse balm, for example, stimulates blood circulation and this can prevent inflammation. But you can also use other natural remedies, such as omega-3 or the devil’s claw.

If these natural remedies do not help yet, you can also choose pain relievers such as ibuprofen for a limited period of time . This could alleviate the acute inflammation somewhat. However, you should limit the use of these agents to a maximum of one week.

In addition, you should also reduce the load on the shoulder and find out whether everyday life could lead to the pain. If the shoulder is exposed to high stress at work or during sports, this can manifest itself in pain at night.

So try to cut back on sporting activities and take a little less time at work. In the case of severe pain, it is also advisable to take sick leave in order to avoid serious late effects and to allow the shoulder time to regenerate .


If the pain does not subside with the methods described and there is no improvement in sight, the doctor should be consulted immediately. A swelling or redness of the skin are clear signs that a doctor must perform the investigation.

As part of the examination, the doctor will often have an X-ray of the shoulder made. He can use this to check whether there is osteoarthritis or a calcified shoulder. Osteoarthritis is a serious risk, especially at an advanced age.

If the doctor finds an inflammation, it is treated with cortisone injections . These serve to contain the inflammation and relieve the acute pain.

Depending on the findings, other treatment methods, such as focused shock waves or LASER radiation, can also be used. This stimulates and promotes blood circulation.

Physiotherapy will most likely also be prescribed to prevent future discomfort . With this, the muscles are strengthened by means of various exercises This keeps the shoulder stable during the night and reduces inflammation.

If you only suffer from minor irritations to the shoulder in the morning, you can still use a strengthening program to ensure that the muscles are strengthened. This may prevent inflammation.


If your shoulder feels particularly restricted in the morning and you suffer from severe pain, there is probably an inflammation. This is caused by the fact that the muscles are too weak and the important structure of the shoulder is not given enough space.

With a pillow under your arm, you can favor the sleeping position to counteract inflammation. Muscle building is also advisable for mild complaints .

However, if these natural aids do not work, the doctor is always the right person to talk to. Only this can make a detailed diagnosis and determine the exact treatment methods.

Then the shoulder pain during the night will hopefully be overcome in the long term.

Jamie Clark

Hello, I’m Jamie Clark, 32 years old, and I have been living in the USA for a few years.
Since I was a child, I have suffered from a house dust allergy, severely affecting me. I felt the effects both while exercising and while sleeping. Constant sneezing after getting up and difficult breathing were the consequences. The allergy has also developed into asthma, which is still a sporting restriction today.

Leave a Comment