When Shoulder Pain Disrupts Sleep

Andrew F. Kuntz, MD
Andrew F. Kuntz, MD

Peaceful, undisturbed sleep.

Isn’t that what we’re all looking for?

Unfortunately for many, shoulder pain and the nagging discomfort that accompanies it have led to countless sleepless nights.

Sleep is a critical component to good health. Tossing and turning throughout the night can cause you to be less active and mentally exhausted during the day. It can even reduce the time it takes your body to recovery from injuries.

One of the most common shoulder injuries, a torn rotator cuff is often the source of intense pain and restlessness. The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that connect the upper arm to the shoulder blade. You may have gotten this

from wear and tear over time or from some type of quick motion that led to a tear.

It’s Time to Get Your Zzz’s

The good news is that there are things you can do on your own and with your doctor to break the cycle. With changes to your lifestyle – and possibly medication – you should be able to get back to enjoying a good night’s rest.

Man dealing with insomnia"Depending on the type of injury, adjustments in sleeping posture, anti-inflammatory medication, heating pads and ice packs can all help to relax a painful shoulder," said Andrew F. Kuntz, MD, shoulder surgeon at Penn Orthopaedics. "However, if those non-operative treatments are unsuccessful, it’s time to seek medical attention."

If you have shoulder problems, the Penn Shoulder Service provides comprehensive care and surgery. Surgery is typically recommended if:

Symptoms last more than six to 12 months

  • Your tendon tear is bigger than three centimeters
  • You experience significant weakness/ loss of function
  • Your tendon tear was caused by a traumatic injury

The team will work with you to customize a treatment plan to help you feel better and sleep better.

"If you're tired of the pain and wakefulness, the specialists at Penn Medicine can help,” said Dr. Kuntz. "Our nationally and internationally recognized orthopaedic specialists create and use the latest advances in shoulder diagnosis, treatment, surgery and rehabilitation to get you back to living pain-free."

The Region’s First Musculoskeletal Center

The Penn Musculoskeletal Center is a team of doctors, nurses and physical therapists who take a whole-body approach to diagnosing and treating joint pain. These experts work together as a seamless unit to provide a wide range of treatments, not just surgery, and help you return to an active, pain-free lifestyle.

About this Blog

Get pain management and fitness tips from our orthopaedic doctors, stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in the orthopaedics field, and hear from patients like you, who achieved what once seemed impossible. 

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