Severe Shoulder Pain Causes Sleepless Nights

For the past two and half months, I have been experiencing extreme (right) shoulder pain. No efforts from visiting doctors have either alleviated the pain or given me a reason for it, and it’s getting worse. Some days I cannot even move my arm. It’s severe shoulder pain and it’s causing sleepless nights.

I woke up with the pain and my guess was I slept funny. Our mattress sucks right now and I cannot afford a new bed. I must’ve been in a position where my arm was caught underneath me, twisted and wrapped up. Now, I cannot move it and doing so causes immediate pain and tears.

I did go and see my doctor for this and I’m waiting for an MRI scan which could take up to two months. In the meantime, my doctor gave me some helpful advice on how I can try to alleviate the pain I’m experiencing.

It’s funny the things we take for granted, like simply having the ability to move our hands, arms and legs. We just don’t think about what would happen if we got injured. I know that I didn’t.

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How To Help Severe Shoulder Pain 

  • Apply heat or cold to help with the pain. Use a reusable heating pad, a rice bag for the microwave or hot water bottle.
  • Do not directly put ice on the injury but put the ice in a towel and place it on your skin.
  • Improve the way you sit. Your posture can play a big role in shoulder injuries.
  • Change your position frequently
  • Keep using the arm to avoid frozen shoulder.
  • Sleep on your good shoulder at night.
  • Put pillows under the sore shoulder to act as a buffer for the pain.

In order to heal your sore shoulder, like mine, doing exercises is a must.  You can hop online to find several exercises that work to help rebuild the strength in your shoulder.

Have any of you experienced this kind of pain in your arm, shoulder, and elbow? Β 


  1. Kimberly|Manhattan Sports Therapy September 10, 2015 at 2:06 am

    Yeah, I experienced the same shoulder pain problem. It happened when I fell from bicycle. I hid the pain for so long because I was scared to tell it to my parents. I afraid to be reprimanded from my carelessness. But when my mom discovered my agony, she then brought me to a clinic to have my therapy.

  2. Larry Myshyniuk January 25, 2014 at 10:20 am

    yep.. have the same problem.. quit eating meat (some of the problem was gout).. started eating meat again.. (no problems now).. ate a lot of oatmeal (cleans you out)… AND did a LOT of weight lifting … (very light at first).. and the key was MASSAGING the shoulder joint to make sure there was blood flow and to loosen up the ligaments…. the exercise really helped a lot..
    and you are right. doctors are idiots… and they do NOT know a lot about shoulder injuries.. one doctor wanted $880 JUST TO LOOK AT MY SHOULDER (university of utah.. what a joke)….
    fight the inflammation with cinnamon and tumerick.. add fish oil to your diet (lubricates the joints).. chia, sesame and sunflower seeds GROUND UP, in my oatmeal…. EVERYDAY.. is better than fish oil.. (in my experience)..
    AND… walmart has "coleman" air mattresses for $22(single), and about $50(queen size)… CLEAN, COMFORTABLE, EASY TO INFLATE and DEFLATE, ADJUSTABLE ….. I will probably never sleep on a stupid conventional mattress again (oh yes, no dust or mattress mites or BUGS)…. good luck the exercise is key., and the seeds

    1. jodishaw - Site Author January 26, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      What worked for me was getting a life band bracelet and a memory foam mattress. My shoulder pain is now gone. The band on my wrist emits electromagnetic elements and for some reason it works great!

  3. Jodie Rodgers November 10, 2013 at 8:56 am

    It's been a while since you posted about your shoulder…whatever happened? I have this same debilitating pain that goes from left to right shoulders…the only difference is when left side is acting up it is in rotator cuff…right side is always in back shoulder muscle and soft tissue. I could go days without sleep die to pain that keeps me awake! A year now! Drs haven't ordered MRI's but I'm about to throw down and make them do them! I cannot breathe because if pain and my blood pressure sky rockets with each episode…please let me know.

    Ps…I'm a Jodie too!

    1. Jodi - Site Author November 11, 2013 at 3:27 am

      Hey Jodie, my shoulder still hurts me at night, my hubby massages it. I have done lots of work to rehab it though, lifting soup cans, stretching, pushing it to the limits, pain management consists of nothing more than tea and Tylenol for the pain as I was on meds and it got ugly. Keep forcing your doctors to do what's right, and I cannot stress enough the fact you have to do shoulder exercises to keep it moving. Otherwise you get what I got which was frozen shoulder syndrome. I wish you the best of luck hun and hope you get recovery and more pain free nights ahead of you! πŸ™‚

  4. Larry Myshyniuk February 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    sorry to see sooo many people in pain.. like my pain.. my chiropractor (a good friend).. couldn't do a damn thing about the problem.. I used advil and got relief.. (so it was inflamed).. and I don't use drugs or medicines that can hurt my health.. soo ;; I discovered that cinnamon and tumerick are GREAT natural anti inflammatorys… (about a tablespoon a day in food)… then I found out about GOUT.. cut out meat (mostly).. and was told to drink cherry juice..which gave me unbearable flatulence.. so I found out that pomegranate juice does the same thing (I think its actually better)… and have relieved my symptoms about 65%… so I went to the gym.. and couldn't do ANYTHING.. pain EVERYWHERE.. down my biceps.. my triceps.. soooo .. I started out very light.. and did LOTS of reps.. and little by little I BECAME STRONGER.. the key was to start with a light weight.. do 3 sets of 8 or 10 reps.. AND THEN go up 5 or 10 lbs.. and do 3 more sets of 8 or 10 reps.. your muscles heat up nicely.. and SOME of the pain has gone from my shoulders.. HOWEVER two weeks have gone by and no exercise.. and the pain is coming back… so I am off to the gym again to concentrate on my shoulders… I drive and write a lot.. so my shoulder posture is bad.. (getting better with the exercise)… I think the problem is COMPOUNDED by 1. lack of exercise 2. GOUT 3 side sleeping and bad pillow mattress combos 4. injury to the rotator cuff.. and ligaments and tendons..

    I have found that one injury leads to another.. which leads to another problem.. (NO SLEEP was a killer).. the fatigue empedes healing.. and you certainly don't WANT to exercise when you are tired.. AND you favor the shoulder because of the pain..

    I am going to buy a side sleeper pillow.. continue the spa.. eat cinnamon and tumerick.. and READ more about this problem.. it is DEBILITATING.. good luck…………………… Larry

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author February 9, 2013 at 9:05 am

      Thanks Larry, I did lots of rehab and mine is better for the most part now. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on our blog. πŸ™‚ Nice to welcome a new face!

  5. Glynda Lomax April 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I am experiencing the same shoulder pain. I woke up with it in the left shoulder in Jan., thought it was related to spinal misalignment, so I went for three months to chiropractor. Spine is fine now, but shoulder hurts really bad almost every day. Now it is spreading to the right side. It is exactly the same pain as you all described, goes down my arm and also to elbows and occasionally the wrists. So far, my dr. has no clue. I use capsaicin patches and cream, and lots of Naproxen, plus herbal anti-inflammtories, but that only gets it down to a bearable level. Left arm will not raise above shoulder now. When the pain is really bad, I cannot grip anything on the side the pain is in, it's as if that whole arm stops working.

    I do type almost constantly, since I am a writer and also do ministry online, so I am emailing all day and evening.

    I would love to know a more effective treatment for this, the pain is almost unbearable at times.

  6. Dawn June 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    i seem to have the same problem my doctoor did an MRI and sent me to the optomitrist but he saud he couldn't see anything wrong my rotory cuff is still ib tacked and then he gave me a shot of cortizone and lanicane it hjelped for 3 weeks and came back againi sleep with my arm under my pillow on my right side and it hurt's on my upper right side of my back and under my arm the pain goes away during the day but come's back at night when i try to sleep i think it is the way i sleep that causes the pain or my mattress but it is still new don't know what to dio either can any one suggest something

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author June 14, 2011 at 12:53 am

      Hi Dawn, thanks for commenting. I totally understand. We just got a new mattress and it helps some but my arm locks up now. Although I will tell you, I have been feeling better. I started swimming and doing rotator exercises to strengthen my shoulder. I can now raise it above my waist a little. Are you on the computer at all for any length of time? One thing I noticed was that I got a keyboard to plug into my laptop, an eregomic one and it has helped a ton. I am no longer leaning over the keyboard on the laptop which puts presser on the cuff and joints in the elbow and wrist.

      I hope you feel better soon hun! If I hear of anything else, I'll let you know and thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  7. KeriLynn June 2, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Have they done an MRI to check for pinched nerves?

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author June 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      Hi keri, thanks for leaving your comments. They haven't done an MRI yet. I have an appointment with a specialist next week, so I guess I need to just wait and see. I'm in a lot of pain though and it's been hard but I'm trying to manage. Thanks a lot for asking. I'll keep you guys posted.

  8. mike May 26, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I forgot to mention I have been to several doctors who are clueless. been tested for gout, RA, etc and all tests have come back negative. If someone knows what the cause is I'd love to know.

  9. mike May 26, 2011 at 8:19 am

    I have had the same problem going on for 5 years now. Feels like someone has a screwdriver in the shouider joint. some days I can't even use my right arm. I seldom use a computer so I don't think thats it, and I haven't strained anything. I thought it was an alergy to or toxin something I ate or drank but have not found anything. I am starting to think it is a virus or some unknown toxin. My 22 year old son has now stated to have the same symptoms.

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author May 26, 2011 at 9:32 am

      Oh I'm sorry to hear that. My hubby was wondering about toxins too like mold which we had. It's almost like I have nerve damage.

      I hope you feel better and thanks for commenting!

  10. Marilyn @ A Lot of L May 26, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Have you tried a Registered Massage Therapist? Both my husband and I have had different issues with our arms and/or shoulders, and a RMT has been our life-saver.

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author May 26, 2011 at 9:35 am

      I haven't gone that route yet only b/c we don't have a ton of money but that is an option I nay dive into

  11. Kelly @ CityMom May 26, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Oh Jodi I'm sp sorry to hear of your pain issues. I have a couple of suggestions. Sadly they probably all cost money but depending on your health plan it may be doable.

    I suffer from chronic neck & shoulder pain and the best thing I can recommend is physio therapy. It not only relieves the pain but also strengthens the area to avoid injury in the future.

    Also I know of a program called Jaws that does speech to text. I don't know the cost though so it may nOt be an option. Worth looking into.

    Good luck & hope ur feeling better soon!

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author May 26, 2011 at 9:37 am

      Oh thanks for the info on the program I will look into it and I'm looking into massage therapy or physio I have no health care tho

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