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How to Relieve Rotator Cuff Pain at Night with Physical Therapy

How to Relieve Rotator Cuff Pain at Night with Physical Therapy

Receive top-rated treatment for rotator cuff pain at our practice in Oceanside, NY. Call (516) 764-7760 to schedule an appointment with our providers.

Humans need healthy sleep for several reasons. During sleep, your body organizes and stores information from the day while enacting essential healing processes. Chronic and injury-related pain can worsen at night, reducing your sleep quality and its benefits.

Patients with shoulder injuries frequently ask how to relieve rotator cuff pain at night. The Hospital for Special Surgery reports that anywhere from two to four million Americans suffer rotator cuff pain annually. Considering the prevalence of these issues, understanding how to properly reduce nighttime pain is essential. 

Scheduling top-rated physical therapy in Oceanside, NY, offers long-term pain reduction for patients suffering rotator cuff pain at night. Contact our physical therapists to treat nighttime pain today.

What Is Rotator Cuff Pain?

The rotator cuff supports shoulder movement. This collection of tendons and ligaments attaches to the ball and socket joint of the shoulder, enabling its mobility.

Over time, the rotator cuff muscle can experience natural wear and tear or a traumatic injury that causes inflammation. Injuries or chronic degradation can cause severe pain in the shoulder cuff, especially at night. Rotator cuff issues can also significantly limit your daytime mobility.

Common Causes and Symptoms of Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Joint Pain

Several conditions can cause rotator cuff pain. Most commonly, these ligaments and muscles become irritated due to natural wear and tear, conditions like arthritis, or a traumatic injury. You’ll notice rotator cuff issues if you experience a dull ache that turns into significant shoulder pain or suddenly reduced motion.

Why Pain Worsens at Night

It’s common for rotator cuff and shoulder joint pain to increase at night. Anything from your sleeping position to hours of stagnation can increase shoulder pain at night. Since most people sleep on their back, this additional pressure on your shoulder blade and joints can increase pain at night.

Risk Factors for Rotator Cuff Pain

Since Physiopedia notes that 20% to 40% of rotator cuff injuries are asymptomatic, knowing the risk factors for rotator cuff pain can help you identify this chronic issue. Below are some of the top risk factors for rotator cuff issues.


A patient’s age significantly impacts their risk for rotator cuff pain or shoulder-related injuries. Patients over 50 present an increased risk for shoulder problems that cause worsened pain at night. Individuals older than 50 should exercise caution while performing difficult or abnormal arm movements. 

Traumatic Injuries

Many patients experience delayed pain after a traumatic injury. Whether you sustained a work or car accident-related injury, traumatic events offer one of the main causes and risk factors for shoulder pain. 

It may take time to notice the physical implications of these incidents. Therefore, seeking physical therapists the moment you feel pain at night can help you address pain quickly.


Depending on your profession, you could be at a higher risk for rotator cuff pain. For example, individuals with physically demanding professions should remain vigilant of joint health and preservation.


Genetic factors can increase your potential for developing shoulder issues. If your family’s medical history includes a prevalence of shoulder injuries and chronic pain, you might consider preventative physical therapy.


High-performance athletes present an increased risk for any injuries, especially shoulder and joint pain. Serious athletes require athletic training services that promote joint preservation and injury reduction.

Ways to Reduce Nighttime Shoulder Joint Pain

Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology reports that anywhere from 18% to 26% of American adults experience shoulder pain yearly. Thus, these patients want to know how to relieve rotator cuff pain at night. Below are the top ways to reduce your nighttime shoulder joint pain.

Change Your Sleeping Position

Your sleep position significantly impacts rotator cuff pain at night. Certain positions increase the pressure on your injured shoulder. 

Avoid sleeping on your back and, instead, sleep on your healthy shoulder. Additionally, consider a reclining position and propping up your affected shoulder with a pillow.

Apply Hot and Cold Therapy

Hot and cold therapy offers a pre-bedtime solution to pain. Over-the-counter lotions or prescription topicals offer some additional relief for your nighttime shoulder pain. Ask your physical therapist if hot and cold therapy is an appropriate solution for you.

Take Anti-Inflammatory or Pain-Relieving Drugs

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs provide increased pain relief at night. Many of these medications offer anti-inflammatory effects, which reduce the irritation that causes increased shoulder pain. Start by taking low-level drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin before opting for prescription drugs.

Seek Professional Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Services

Physical therapy and chiropractic services can significantly reduce shoulder pain. Explore these long-term solutions for your chronic pain.

Alleviate Shoulder Joint Pain with Physical Therapists From Comprehensive Healthcare Group

Alleviate Shoulder Joint Pain with Physical Therapists From Comprehensive Healthcare Group

If you’re wondering why your shoulder hurts, call professionals from Comprehensive Healthcare Group to diagnose your issue and provide long-term treatment plans. Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available.

For more information on how to relieve rotator cuff pain at night in Oceanside, NY, call (516) 764-7760 and schedule an appointment with Comprehensive Healthcare Group.

FAQs About How to Relieve Rotator Cuff Pain at Night

Below are some frequently asked questions about how to relieve rotator cuff pain at night.

Why Is Rotator Cuff Pain Worse at Night?

Rotator cuff pain is worse at night because of the position someone sleeps in or the obstructions to nighttime healing processes caused by pain. Physical therapy, medications, or topical treatments can help relieve this pain.