If you have pain in your hip and shoulder, sleeping on your side is bound to make it worse. When you sleep on your side, a good deal of your weight rests on your hips and shoulders. If you have pain in these areas, you may wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a ton of bricks!
Of course, you can condition yourself to sleep on your back, but this is not easy to do. Fortunately, there are some more convenient choices for reducing pain in affected areas. Read on for tips or side sleepers with hip and shoulder pain.
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Invest in a Good Mattress
The mattress you use should not be too firm or too soft. If the mattress is too firm, it will irritate your pain. If it’s too soft, it won’t provide support for your shoulders and hips, so they are forced to carry your full bodyweight.
There are many mattress varieties out there and you may want to try a few to determine the one that’s right for you. But generally, the best mattress for people with hip and shoulder pain is one that provides lumbar support in the lower back area while relieving pressure on the hips and shoulders. A hybrid latex mattress is typically the best bet as it combines memory foam and innerspring features for optimal comfort and support. An adjustable bed is also very effective for good sleep.
Make Good Use of Pillows
Good pillows that are strategically placed will also reduce pain.
Those with hip pain will benefit from placing a pillow between their legs as they sleep. You can place a small pillow between your knees and thighs or use a longer one that extends down to your ankles.
The pillow will keep your pelvic bone inline, straighten the spine and keep the knees evenly stacked. It will prevent the weight of your leg from pulling on your hips and irritating the joint area.
If you have shoulder pain, it’s best to invest in a supportive pillow that holds your neck in place. This will prevent you from incurring additional pain that can radiate to the shoulder area.
Do Stretches Before You Go to Sleep and As Soon as You Wake Up
If you wake up stiff in the morning, stretching exercises will get the blood flowing in injured areas so you are ready for the day. They will reverse the compacted position your muscles were in making it easier to move around.
When it comes to stretching the hips, lunges are recommended. You can also try exercises where you lie on your back and rock from side to side to gently work the hip area.
To stretch the shoulders, neck rolls or a cross body stretch may be effective. If you have a good range of motion, try to clasp your hands together behind your back with one arm reaching down from the shoulder and the other reaching up from the middle of the back on the opposite side.
The exercises you do before you go to sleep should be more soothing so you don’t elevate your heart rate to the point where you can’t get the healing rest you need. You may try some gentle stretching, or you can even use a massager on painful areas.
Should Side Sleepers Try to Sleep on Their Stomachs?
While sleeping on your side is bad, sleeping on your stomach is even worse. It is not recommended that you try this position to change things up.
Sleeping on your stomach can cause a whole slew of problems. It forces you to turn your head to one side which puts added pressure on your neck and shoulder area. It also leaves the spine weighted down and unsupported which can aggravate hip pain.
It’s best to avoid sleeping on your stomach altogether, but if you must, place a pillow under your pelvic area to take some of the strain off your back. You should also use a supportive pillow under your head.
Note: The healthiest position to sleep in is on your back.
Joint pain is not easy to deal with, especially if you are in the habit of sleeping on your side. These tips and tricks should help minimize pain, so you get the healing sleep you need and wake up ready to take on the world. Which of these will you be integrating in your routine?
Read also: What if I Can’t Sleep During a Sleep Study?