Night time pain

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I've had frozen shoulder for about 4 months now, due to being asthmatic cannot take anti inflammatories and GP says without pain medication physio will be too painful so i'm just left in pain at the moment, day time is not too bad unless I move arm suddenly then the pain is excruciating along the nerve, main problem is night time,  other shoulder is also sore ( but still have movement) so lying on either side is painful ( i'm supported by about 4 pillows at the moment)  also after about 3-4 hours if  I move I wake up due to pain across the collarbone which is very painful if I move.. anybody found a sleep solution .... exhausted 

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16 Replies

  • Posted

    I’m sorry to hear your plight, it does sound very much familiar though. I was in the exact same situation, I couldn’t take anti inflammatories either. This may not be something you want to do but ask your doctor for strong pain meds (opioids) It will help with the sleep and getting Physio done. 

    I slept and still have to on  occasion in a recliner chair, it definitely helped a lot as I wasn’t rolling onto my shoulders in my sleep. 

    Just be careful with treatment, I had surgery on one side and developed an even worse neurological condition in both arms that makes Frozen shoulder look like the cold. Talk to and get as many opinions as you can. 

    Good luck. 

  • Posted

    I’m so sorry for your excruciating pain. 

    One thing that did help, although temporarily, is ice. No more than 20mins at a time. More than that could damage skin tissue.

    Apply or pack all over shoulder, bicep, and rib cage. 

    This waa my go to when I was up nights

    • Posted

      Sorry about that. 

      Hope this might help lessen you pain.

      It does get better.

  • Edited

    I have had two frozen shoulders since March 2018. One was sore earlier but both seemed to lock up within a month of each other. Couldn't sleep as cannot sleep on back and couldn't lie on shoulders. My doctor put me on Amitriptyline tablets taking 10mg about 8pm at night. Used to be used for depression and has side effect that suppresses nerve pain transfer to the brain. My right shoulder has slightly more movement range and less pain so was able to lie on that side. I am deaf in my right ear so also started using foam plugs in my left ear to cancel out noise around the house. Eg two teenage boys and a wife who stay up a little longer than I do! Two weeks ago I stopped taking it as my shoulder had slightly more movement and I wanted to see if I could do it without medication. Both shoulders still sore in morning but am getting 7 or 8hrs sleep most nights while waking sometimes, possibly more to do with thoughts about work than shoulder pain. My doctor and physio said once I had a diagnosis from specialist of FS that there was no point in carrying on with Physio. Cortizone made no difference in either shoulder so managing pain and leaving them to thaw out over time was my decision. Started running again and although a bit sore I can run enough to train 3 times a week for a 10km run. This is training to finish only, with no further injuries! Cant take my boat out fishing yet but may try once summer gets here. I know everyone seems to have different experiences with FS, much like my other condition Menieres Disease, so it is a case of trying something to see if it works. I do recommend being careful getting up from couch. I reached down to get my shoes at the same time as getting up, fell forward and put both arms out to stop me. Thought I was going to pass out from the pain. Pain subsided after 10 minutes or so. Only upside to FS is you learn to be less clumsy and give more clearance to walls, doors and people! In theory anyway. Hope you can find something that works for you in the short term and that your shoulders eventually settle down a bit.

    • Posted


      It is strange that your Doc and Physio said no point in carrying on with Physio once diagnosed with FS ? so what they want to offer you then ? painkillers. Exercise is difficult to do however, only with a little at a time is anything going to change for the better. Physio once said to me you will not get better without physio and I believe he is right. My struggles continue however, trying to remain positive as I do not fancy the alternative. Best Regards

  • Posted


    ive had frozen shoulder since may 2018 ive had lots of hydrotherapy and in jan had a ultra guided injection. The pain eased and ive started to get movement back 7 months on my pain in my neck arm shoulder is painful again. it feels like nerve pain and im waiting to go backto the royal orthopaedic to see whats going im hoping they be able to give me another injection. i sleep ok but after doingmy chores the pain is awful i put an ice pack to help. can anyone give me some advice please

    • Posted

      Christine, Painkillers are vital for you to cope. They will not be the be all and end all however, will give you a few hours between especially before bed. I put a small towel in a basin pour in hot/warm water and bath my sore areas for about 20 mins. This is definitely the beginning of the healing process. In between if you are sore use ice packs or ice water to bath the same areas and this will only numb the pain for a few hours relief. hope you are improving soon.

  • Edited

    Hi, this is my 2nd frozen shoulder, first one (3years ago) I had for 8 months, with the 2nd steroid injection working, but took about 18 months to get full range of movement. most of my pain with this one was in the muscle in my arm.

    I'm devastated when 4 months ago, I got a FS on my left side. I cannot tolerate strong painkillers, have to manage on 2 paracetamol 4 times a day. I don't know if you'd be ok to use pain plasters, but I'm using Salonpas each evening they do help a little.

    I've had 1 steroid injection up to now, which hasn't worked, doubt I'd have another for a long while, it was to toooo painful.

    this 2nd FS feels more like there's a nerve trapped, it's more painful in my shoulder joint and scapula.

    I'm a but fed at the moment, knowing it's a long road to recovery!

    • Posted


      Stay strong and I know that is not easy with your pain. How you best manage it on a daily basis is crucial. We are perhaps feeling very similar pain however, try doing nothing with your arms and rely on others to lift heavy objects, for me a kettle is in that category........I once read that you need to cease all activities with your hands and arms for a few weeks ha ha easier said than done, after all toileting, putting on clothes are a real challenge for me and we have not the luxury of a 24/7 nurse .

      Keep up your spirits and do the hot/warm then cold bathing as my reply to Christine and hope you are clear of this soon.

  • Edited

    I just wanted to post something from a different angle, more by way of encouragement to others than as a direct response to taffypot.

    As mentioned, there seems to be a wide variation between diagnoses of frozen shoulder.

    It sounds as though I've been lucky to be able to treat the condition with physio and exercises only, and it's not kept me awake or stopped me doing most things. It's still taken some months to regain full movement, and it took me a good while to begin with to get to know the nature of the pain, and gain confidence around knowing how far and where to push exercises without exhausting myself both mentally and physically.

    The Physio was very helpful initially with diagnosis, and suggestions for exercise. I had FS in one shoulder 2 years ago, and am currently in the last stages of treating the other shoulder back to full movement. Both times, it came on during winter, possibly through getting the shoulder cold overnight (first time was after a trek in the Himalayas). My tips would be to get a definite diagnosis, and, depending on the amount and nature of your pain, devise ways of gently and gradually, once a day or so for 5 minutes or whatever you feel comfortable with, pushing your shoulder in the directions it doesn't want to go, without putting yourself through so much pain that you lose heart. There's an element to begin with of thinking you're achieving quick results, and then finding little difference next morning when you come back to your exercises, but keep spirits up and persevere - for me, I now know that I can work gradually back to normal over weeks and months. I know there's mention of FS healing without any treatment, but I'd be fairly sure that the right exercises speed up the process.

  • Posted

    Hi taffypot I can relate to all of your symptoms and feel your pain I really do. Currently I have both shoulders frozen for 10 weeks now. Have been for Laser and shock treatment however, not convinced and now just stay with Arcoxia 120mg and Pregabalin 75mg twice daily. This only eases my nerve and muscle pain for a few hours to allow me to attempt some physio and like you and others, awake in the middle of the night with dry stabbing like pains at shoulder elbow and wrist joints. My fingers have started to feel sore and I can barely write my name.

    Unfortunately I believed I was making steady progress up until a few days ago however, was guilty of carrying a few lightweight bags of groceries and now have set myself back a few weeks. Agree with the statement that you need painkillers before physio. By the way I believe my condition came on after carrying heavy bottles of water for 4 months then stopping. My body didn't like the change and I now suffer the consequences. At the same time I was losing 18kg during that same period in a tropical climate. Welcome feedback on any of the above and best of lucjk to all getting over this horrible condition.


  • Posted

    wow, i wanted to complain about my frozen shoulder to someone other than my husband but i feel worse for you poor people!

    i have a frozen shoulder and i don't take any medication bc i don't want that in my liver. After a very slight injury from moving my arm in a weird way , i was afraid i tore something so i didnt't move it much for a few weeks. it got worse and worse. i went to the dr who didnt help much . it felt like my whole shoulder had grown adhesions and was immovable. we have a new puppy and i slid on the pp pad and tore through inches of the adhesions. it hurt so much i couldnt talk. but then i realized that this was the cure. every night i spent hours ripping out the adhesions by rocking my shoulder in larger and larger circles. im 98 % better. the pain is much better now but it gives me nightsweats practically every night. i dont notice much pain during the day , just a little achy from the torn adhesions. ripping out the adhesions is much more painful the the original injury. Be brave and rip them out. they grow back every night but much weaker . after about 4 nights each section seemed to be healed.

    • Posted

      ho god kathleen

      your a brave bunny doing that. i tried to break the adhesions myself at work and could not get free

      even the physio had me squirming on the bed as she tried . had to resort to hydro dilation. i could feel them snapping as he pumped saline into the joint 80ml . that took care of the painful side 85% and ROM 70%. that was july 18 after 7 months of pain.

      i am still fighting the ROM and the night aches worse luck. got called for capsular release 2 weeks ago by surgeon. having a think on this one for a while.

      thats the left joint

      just recovering from sub acromial decompression surgery on right and 14 month onset of FS to the other.

      was it the slip the put you on the road to recovery by accident. i put me shoulder through hell each day being a first fix carpenter ( heavy stuff ) but cant seem to break the cycle or scars. do i need the aid of ya puppy to have a fall. to be honest i hang by me arms of an evening in me gym i built and force weights against the scar limit

      glad you found an a way out of this hell

      keep safe colin

  • Posted

    I was kept awake at night from my outer upper arm aching. The ache was located in my upper outer arm between my elbow and my shoulder. The ache was deep and it was intense. It would start aching at night I did not have to be asleep for it to ache, and it would wake me up at night with the pain. I did notice that when awake I could lift up my arm and the pain would stop for the moment, but when I put my arm down it would hurt again. This went on for months and months, I had had it a couple of times before also. I finally went to the doctor for this and she told me I had frozen shoulder and that it would eventually go away on its own. I had physio and it did not help.

    Eventually I discovered what worked for me and the pain stopped. I found that if I sleep on my back (with no or low pillow) with my arms straight out from my body with my elbows bet up towards my head (visualize how a baby sleeps on its back) the pain subsided. After sleeping in this position for a short period of time the pain went away and has not returned, I don't always sleep in this position but it is now the most comfortable sleep position for me.

  • Posted

    Hi Taffypot

    Here's my input. i am now getting better and stronger with my frozen shoulder. i had the cortisone shot but didn't help me at all. i slept on the sofa for 5 months with a pillow wedged down the side of me to rest my arm on. i had a heating pad, microwaveable long and thin about 18" by 4" that has been my saving grace woke up every 1 1/2 hours and just kept heating it up again. id stand up as well ad do a few exercises. i did try the physio but to be honest found it too hard because I was still in the freezing stage. I scoured the internet willing to try anything and finally found Dr Adam Field. you can youtube him he has 2 very simple videos. he does the exercises with you and is very encouraging. they have helped me so much. once you start thawing the pain goes away. I started freezing up in March of last year very very slowly then by June /July it was the worst. The end of October i started easing up very very slightly and with the videos i've gotten stronger. my arm has decent mobility reaching around my back is still difficult but at one time i couldn't even comb my hair or put it in a ponytail. i can now do that!

    cut a long story short the heat really helped. Tried acupuncture slight relief but only for a few days. i do go to the chiropractor and that helps. take a look a Dr Field please.

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