Finding Comfort: The Best Sleep Positions for Shoulder Pain Relief

by Jul 26, 2023Injuries


Shoulder pain can disrupt your sleep, leaving you tossing and turning in search of a comfortable position. Whether your shoulder pain stems from an injury, arthritis, or overuse, finding the right sleep position can make a significant difference in your overall comfort and quality of rest. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best sleep positions to alleviate shoulder pain and promote a peaceful night’s sleep. And if you’re seeking professional help in managing your shoulder pain, Westcoast SCI Physiotherapy Port Coquitlam offers expert guidance and treatment tailored to your needs.

On Your Back:

Sleeping on your back is widely regarded as one of the best positions for those experiencing shoulder pain. This position allows for proper alignment of the spine and reduces pressure on the affected shoulder. To optimize this position for shoulder pain relief, consider the following tips:

  1. Pillow support: Place a supportive pillow under your head and neck, ensuring it adequately supports the natural curve of your spine. For additional shoulder support, use a smaller pillow or a rolled towel to cushion the affected shoulder.
  2. Arm placement: Keep your affected arm close to your body, preferably resting it on your abdomen. Placing a pillow under your arm can provide extra support and prevent unintentional movements during sleep.

On Your Non-Painful Side:

If sleeping on your back doesn’t suit you, the next best option is to sleep on your non-painful side. This position can help alleviate pressure on the affected shoulder and promote better sleep quality. Follow these recommendations to enhance comfort:

  1. Pillow selection: Use a supportive pillow that aligns your head and neck with the rest of your body. Look for a pillow that keeps your head level without tilting it upward or downward. Placing a small pillow between your knees can help maintain proper spinal alignment and reduce strain on your shoulders.
  2. Arm positioning: Bend your knees slightly and draw them toward your chest. Then, bring your non-painful arm forward and rest it on a soft pillow. Avoid tucking your hand under your head, as this can strain your shoulder.

Avoid Sleeping On Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is generally discouraged for individuals with shoulder pain. This position can lead to misalignment of the spine and increased pressure on the shoulders, exacerbating pain and discomfort. However, if sleeping on your stomach is the only way you can fall asleep, try the following modifications:

  1. Soft pillow: Use a soft, thin pillow or no pillow at all under your head to minimize strain on your neck and shoulders.
  2. Arm positioning: Keep your arms by your sides rather than extending them overhead or to the side. Placing a small pillow under your lower abdomen can help maintain better spinal alignment.


Finding the best sleep position for shoulder pain is crucial for a restful and rejuvenating sleep. While individual preferences may vary, sleeping on your back or non-painful side generally offers the most relief. Remember to choose supportive pillows, position your arms correctly, and maintain proper spinal alignment. If you’re seeking professional assistance in managing your shoulder pain, Westcoast SCI Physiotherapy Port Coquitlam is here to help. Their experienced team can provide personalized treatment plans and guidance tailored to your specific needs, ensuring a restful sleep and a path to recovery.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not substitute professional medical advice. Consult a qualified healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

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