Shoulder pain whether it stems from some sort of impingement to recovering from rotator cuff surgery can be incredibly uncomfortable. Throughout the day you are conscious and able to do what you can to minimize pain but the six, seven, eight-plus hours that you're spending sleeping can often times aggravate your shoulder, especially if you're the ones that can only sleep on your side, and unfortunately, sleep on the side that you're having shoulder pain with.
When you are a side sleeper, specifically a side sleeper on the side that is uncomfortable, there's constant pressure on that shoulder which may be increasing inflammation and in the morning, it's super stiff and causing you to have more pain.
So here's a great solution that works with a lot of our clients. We call it a shoulder gully. Basically you are creating a pathway for your shoulder to sleep on without nearly as much pressure.
To do this you will need 3 or four pillows: One/two pillows for your head and two pillows under your trunk. Creating a gully, this being where the shoulder and elbow can rest. Easing the pressure.
While side sleeping, overall isn’t great, creating this pathway, will relieve a lot of pressure in this position. So again, two pillows underneath the trunk, one or two pillows here at the neck keeping everything in neutral will decrease the stress on the shoulder.
Dr. Jason Han