Why Do My Shoulders Hurt When I Wake Up
How often do you wake up feeling stiff and sore? If you’re like me, it happens more than once each morning. And if you have no history of shoulder problems then the most likely answer has to do with your sleeping habits. You may be one of those people who sleeps on one side only, as opposed to someone like my wife who prefers to sleep on her back. Or perhaps you sleep on your stomach at night, which can put extra stress on your shoulders during sleep. Either way, your body is less stable when you sleep this way. In addition, many people lie on their backs for long periods of time, such as when watching TV or reading a book. All these things contribute to making your shoulders feel tight and stiff when you wake up.
The reason why we get stiff in the mornings is because our muscles are not used very much while we sleep. Our bodies conserve energy by shutting down muscle activity during sleep. This is called “catabolism,” where our bodies break down tissue instead of building new muscle tissues. The result is that there’s little movement or activity going on in our joints and muscles while we sleep. So even though we aren’t moving around much, our muscles still need nutrition from food in order to rebuild themselves. It’s like trying to run away from home without any breakfast – you’ll probably end up getting lost!
When we sleep, our bodies also store some nutrients inside our fat cells so they don’t waste them. But when we wake up in the morning, all of these fatty stores are released into our bloodstreams. These fats are then transported throughout our bodies to help replenish various organs. For example, it’s important to eat healthy fats (such as olive oil) to keep our heart functioning properly. During the day, however, our bodies require different types of fats that are found in foods such as fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, etc. We call these essential fatty acids, because they are required for good health. One type of essential fatty acid is omega-3, which helps prevent cardiovascular diseases and cancerous tumors. Another type of fatty acid is omega-6, which keeps our skin looking young and helps us maintain proper blood levels by controlling inflammation. However, the problem arises when we consume too many saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Saturated fats increase bad cholesterol in our bodies, causing high blood pressure, strokes, and other health issues. Trans fats are unsaturated but are processed and transformed into saturated fats through hydrogenation. They are difficult to digest and cause serious health risks. Cholesterol is needed to build cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, and nerve signals; but too much cholesterol increases the risk of developing coronary artery disease. Omega-6 fatty acids are needed for good health, but its over consumption leads to arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rashes, ulcers, cancers, diabetes, obesity, depression, and other ailments.
So what should we do about this? How can we make sure our diets contain enough of both essential fatty acids and protein? Well, there are several easy ways to do this. First, try eating foods rich in omega-3 and omega-6 oils at least two times per week, along with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Second, avoid frying foods in vegetable oil, since the harmful trans fats are produced when polyunsaturated oils are heated to extremely high temperatures. Third, choose low-fat dairy products rather than whole milk, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream, and other high-fat dairy items. Fourth, drink lots of water every day to hydrate yourself. Finally, exercise regularly so you burn off excess calories.
Now let’s say you’ve been doing everything right but are still waking up in pain. Perhaps you sleep on your side, but rotate your arm across your chest in an awkward motion that puts undue strain on your shoulder joint. Maybe you sleep on your stomach, which forces your shoulder forward toward your elbow. Whatever the case, here are some tips on how to relieve the discomfort associated with shoulder stiffness after a night’s rest:
Wear a foam roller under your pillow. Roll out your shoulders and upper arms before bedtime to loosen up your muscles. Then roll it again just before you go to bed. A foam roller will provide gentle compression against your skin to reduce swelling and improve circulation.
Use a heating pad. Heating pads work well for relieving stiffness caused by cold weather. Just place it between your mattress and box spring, using something soft underneath to protect your sheets. Make sure you use a non-allergenic pad. Alternatively, you could use an electric blanket set to a lower temperature setting.
Take anti-inflammatory medications. There are many prescription and over-the-counter drugs available today that can help reduce the amount of inflammation you experience in your shoulder area. Ibuprofen and aspirin fall into this category. Talk to your doctor first to see whether these medications would benefit you.
Restart your daily routines gradually. Start by taking short walks or stretching exercises in the morning. Gradually increase the length of time spent walking or exercising until you reach your regular routine. Also, start slowly when lifting weights or working out. Remember, you want to ease yourself into physical activities.
Try applying heat therapy. Heat therapy works best when combined with massage therapy. Simply apply warm compresses to your shoulder area. Keep them moist by covering them with a towel. Try elevating your affected shoulder above your heart level. Avoid putting weight on your painful shoulder.
A few days later, follow up with your chiropractor. Your chiropractor may prescribe an ultrasound treatment, which uses sound waves to stimulate the flow of blood and lymph fluids within the body. Ultrasound treatments can significantly decrease pain and inflammation in the injured areas. Although ultrasound therapy is commonly used as part of a rehabilitation program, it can also be used as a standalone therapy for acute injuries.
You shouldn’t have to endure the inconvenience and discomfort caused by stiffness and aches in your shoulders every time you wake up. Take the following steps to stay healthier and happier – starting now!
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