Sleeping on a bad shoulder is like rocks rubbing together

I was lying in bed the other night on my side, and I realized just how far my body has come since beginning the upward climb out of pain and fatigue.  You see, my right shoulder used to incredibly unstable and now — well — it’s not.

For years — literally years — I couldn’t lie on my right shoulder. If I did, it would hurt and feel like two rocks were rubbing together in the joint. It was the very definition of a bad shoulder.

I could lie on my left shoulder, but my right shoulder would still feel like it was balancing awkwardly on top of my shoulder joint.  I’d still get that rocks-rubbing-together feeling, but nowhere near as strongly as when lying the other way.

So I just spent a lot of time sleeping on my back and on my left shoulder.

When the alarm went off in the mornings, though, I had another extra special challenge. I couldn’t reach over and turn the alarm off with my right arm.  There was just no strength to do it.  If I lay on my left side and reached over with my right arm, the shoulder would have no strength/coordination to hit the snooze button. That rocks-rubbing-together feeling would get acute, and my arm would just drop.  So I had to slide on my back over to the alarm and hit it with my left hand.

For years, that was life with my right shoulder, and nothing seemed to help.  Until finally, one day, I tried a session of Rolfing — and I started feeling stability in the joint like I had been dreaming of and waiting for!  With some dedicated daily Egoscue exercises, some workstation changes to support better shoulder stability, and a whole lot of stubbornness, these days my shoulder only gets knocked out of whack when my hockey stick wedges under it and gets jammed by another player.  And when it does get knocked out of position, the effect lasts about 10 minutes rather than 6 years.  Not too bad at all!

What kind of irritation have you suffered and (hopefully) beaten back? In a previous post, Sylvia mentioned that the use of her cane has gone down dramatically in a few short weeks. I know of other clients who no longer have to worry about hand and wrist pain at the end of a long day…what about you?


About the Author

Matt Hsu is a trainer and orthopedic massage therapist. He fought a long battle with chronic pain all over his body and won. He blends the principles he learned in his journey, empirical observations with clients, and relevant research to help others get their lives back.