Man suffering from frozen shoulder: How to sleep with a frozen shoulder

How to sleep with a frozen shoulder

Sleeping with a frozen shoulder can be quite challenging. Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness, pain, and limited mobility in the shoulder joint. It can occur due to various reasons, such as injury, overuse, and underlying medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorder, or heart disease. The condition typically progresses through three stages, namely the freezing stage, frozen stage, and thawing stage, which can take up to several months to a few years to resolve.

Sleeping with a frozen shoulder can be uncomfortable and may cause further damage if not done correctly. If you are wondering about how to sleep with a frozen shoulder then here are some tips and exercises that can help you sleep with a frozen shoulder:

Sleep in the right position:

The way you sleep can affect your frozen shoulder. It is essential to sleep in a position that reduces the pressure on your shoulder. The best position to sleep with a frozen shoulder is on your back. You can use a pillow to support your head and neck and place another pillow under your affected arm to keep it slightly elevated. Avoid sleeping on the affected shoulder or on your stomach as it can put extra pressure on your shoulder and worsen the pain.

Stretching exercises:

Gentle stretching exercises can help reduce stiffness and improve mobility in your shoulder joint. It is essential to perform these exercises before going to bed to help you relax and sleep better. Here are some simple stretching exercises you can try:

A. Pendulum exercise: Stand with your unaffected arm holding onto a chair or table for support. Let your affected arm hang down and swing it gently back and forth, side to side, and in a circular motion.

B. Shoulder circles: Sit or stand with your arms at your sides. Slowly lift your affected arm forward, then up, then back, and finally down in a circular motion. Repeat in the opposite direction.

C. Doorway stretch: Stand in a doorway and place your affected arm on the door frame at shoulder height. Slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in your shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat several times.

Exercises for Frozen Shoulder

Heat therapy:

Applying heat to your shoulder before bedtime can help relax your muscles and reduce pain. You can use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm towel to apply heat to your shoulder for 15-20 minutes before going to bed. Make sure the heat is not too hot and does not burn your skin.

Cold therapy:

Cold therapy can help reduce inflammation and swelling in your shoulder. You can use a cold pack, a bag of frozen peas, or a towel soaked in cold water to apply cold therapy to your shoulder for 15-20 minutes. Make sure you wrap the cold pack in a towel to protect your skin.

Relaxation techniques:

Stress and anxiety can make your frozen shoulder pain worse and disrupt your sleep. It is essential to practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga before going to bed to help you relax and sleep better.

Avoid sleeping on the affected side:

As mentioned earlier, avoid sleeping on the affected side as it can worsen your pain and discomfort. You can use a body pillow or wedge pillow to help you maintain the right position and avoid rolling onto your affected side.


In conclusion, sleeping with a frozen shoulder can be challenging, but with the right exercises and techniques, you can improve your sleep quality and reduce your pain and discomfort. Remember to consult your doctor or physiotherapist before trying any new exercises or techniques to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your condition. With patience and persistence, you can overcome frozen shoulder and regain your mobility and function.

Also Read: Golfer’s Elbow Symptoms, Causes & Physiotherapy Treatments

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