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How do you fix a shoulder that’s keeping you awake at night and making you unable to reach over your head during the day.

Any time that pain somewhere in your body is keeping you from getting sleep, it’s time to take action! In addition, when shoulder pain is affecting your ability to perform normal tasks required for everyday living, such as reaching for a glass or dish overhead, etc., again, it’s time to take action so that you can get back to living life the way you want to.

So, let’s get into why this is likely happening.

There are a few different reasons why your shoulder would keep you awake at night and keep you from lifting and reaching overhead. The most common reason would be that you have compression or pinching of the rotator cuff.

The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles that attach to the front and back of your shoulder blade at one end and to the “ball” of the shoulder at the other end. The rotator cuff muscles are very important to the proper movement of your shoulder. The job of these muscles is to pull the “ball” of the shoulder down and in so that the rotator cuff muscles don’t get pinched between the “ball” of the shoulder and the bone that comes off your shoulder blade (acromion). The acromion forms a roof over the rotator cuff as the rotator cuff sits between the acromion and the “ball” of the shoulder.

When the rotator cuff becomes compressed between the “ball” of the shoulder and the acromion, this creates irritation and swelling of the rotator cuff muscles, which creates pain in the shoulder. In turn, the pain in the shoulder causes the rotator cuff muscles to shut down and the muscles around the shoulder to become stiff and tight.

The reason for the increase pain at night is that there is less blood flowing to your muscles since your arm is inactive during sleep. This decrease in blood flow brings out the stiffness, tightness and finally pain at night while attempting to sleep.

The reason for the inability to reach overhead is due to the constant irritation of the rotator cuff muscles as they run between the “ball of the shoulder” and the acromion mentioned above.

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The good news is this is a very treatable condition that rarely requires surgery. The best way to address this issue, in order to take back your sleep at night and use your arm overhead again, is to see one of our expert physical therapists at Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy.

Call Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy today at 717-245-0400 to schedule your free screen, which is a one-on-one session with one of our physical therapists. During the free screen, we will spend time listening to how your pain began and the specifics of what you are experiencing. From there, we can tell you what the next best step is to help you get rid of your shoulder pain so that you can get back to living your life, without missing out on all the things you need, want and love to do.

If you would rather I send you additional free information on shoulder pain and how you can get your shoulder mobility and function back, as well as get some sleep, please email me at smiller@cardinmillerpt.com, and I will send you some additional free information.

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* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Steve Miller is the owner of Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy and can be reached by email at smiller@cardinmillerpt.com. His column will appear bi-monthly in the Thrive section of the Sentinel and on Cumberlink.com.

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