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How to Sleep With a Frozen Shoulder

 Person sleeping holding pillow

It’s an uncomfortable sensation that you might already be all too familiar with — the dreaded frozen shoulder. What can start as feelings of stiffness, discomfort and limited mobility in one or both of your shoulders can quickly transform into chronic feelings of achiness and a loss of range in shoulder motion that can last anywhere from a few days to up to one to two years.

Adding CBD products may help ease the feelings of discomfort or tension that come with a frozen shoulder.

Dealing with the limitations and discomfort of a frozen shoulder can have major impacts in all areas of your life — you might find yourself struggling with your usual day-to-day activities and hobbies as you deal with soreness or loss of mobility in shoulder movement. You might also find it difficult to sleep or to find a comfortable sleeping position when experiencing frozen shoulder pain or discomfort.

But your frozen shoulder shouldn’t stop you from getting a full night’s rest. In this guide, you’ll learn what causes this uncomfortable condition and how to sleep with a frozen shoulder.

Sleeping With a Frozen Shoulder

It’s a classic catch-22 — while sleep and rest are essential to support the body’s healing process, finding the best sleeping position when faced with a frozen shoulder problem can feel impossible. But, we have some tips for better sleep that might help.

Posture and how you hold your body play a major role in frozen shoulders, and it’s important to make sure that you’re optimizing your sleep to aid your body’s ability to heal, especially because sleep can help reduce soreness-spiking inflammation.

When sleeping with a frozen shoulder, it’s recommended that you do your best to avoid laying on it and putting unnecessary pressure on the afflicted area. Using a pillow to prop up and support your affected arm can help to reduce pressure or strain on the soft tissue of the upper arm and the upper arm bone that might hinder the healing process.

Rest is necessary to ensure your body has the fuel and energy it needs to support and manage your frozen shoulder pain and healing process. However, you might find that the discomfort and achiness caused by your frozen shoulder may be making sleep difficult and lead to restless nights filled with hours of tossing and turning.

If you’re facing a night of counting sheep, consider trying natural sleep remedies like CBD products to help you achieve the healthy, restful sleep that your body needs:

  • Zebra CBD’s Sleep Support Tablets – CBD tablets promote mental balance and help to stimulate sleep with their blend of premium CBD oil to help relax the body; L-theanine to soothe your racing mind; and a calming mix of chamomile, valerian root and melatonin to help you fall asleep and stay asleep all night.
  • CBD and CBN Sleep Support Gummies – Feature calming CBD, CBN — also known as the sleepy cannabinoid — and sleep-inducing melatonin to promote healthy sleep cycles and cut down on restless tossing and turning. You’ll get all the benefits of the best CBD products for sleep paired with melatonin, all in a bioavailable and tasty gummy — and your frozen shoulder will thank you! If you’re wondering what sets CBN vs CBD apart, you can learn more about the two to have a better understanding of what you’re taking and how it benefits you. And while you’re at it, why not discover more about the similarities and differences between CBD and melatonin for sleep?

What is a Frozen Shoulder?

A frozen shoulder is a term for a range of symptoms that includes shoulder soreness, stiffness, discomfort, loss of shoulder motion or mobility and tension in either one or both shoulders muscles, shoulder joint, or shoulder blade.

When you have a frozen shoulder, the joints and connective tissue (or capsule) of the shoulder are kept lubricated and limber by synovial fluid, allowing for a wide range of easy, strain-free motion.

When the connective tissue stiffens or the surrounding synovial fluid is lost, the area can tighten up and uncomfortable adhesions can form, leading to the sensation of the shoulder feeling locked up or frozen.

A frozen shoulder can progress slowly over the period of a few weeks to a few months, usually unfolding in three distinct stages:

  1. Freezing Stage – This initial stage is marked by acute strain and discomfort with any movement of the shoulder, which is often worse at night. During this stage, those afflicted usually still have full mobility of the affected arm, though they understandably may begin to use that arm less frequently to avoid aggravating it. As the arm is used less and less, it grows stiffer and mobility decreases.
  2. Frozen Stage – During the frozen stage, the discomfort faced in the freezing stage begins to recede. However, the shoulder will lose a significant range of mobility and become stiff. It may be difficult to perform even simple activities that require the ability to freely move the shoulder while in this stage.
  3. Thawing Stage – Gradually, the connective tissue of your shoulder will begin to soften and relax and your range of motion should return to normal during the thawing stage. You may still experience some lingering discomfort and should make sure to reintroduce gentle, targeted shoulder movement during this time to ensure you return to full use of the affected arm.

While the duration of this type of shoulder condition varies from person to person, it typically lasts between a year to three years from the onset of symptoms to recovery.

What Causes a Frozen Shoulder and What is it Like to Experience One?

Frozen shoulders can be caused by any number of things and you might not be able to pinpoint what led to yours. Some common links to frozen shoulders include:

  • Being between the ages of forty to sixty
  • Overuse or shoulder injury to the rotator cuff that worsens over time
  • Long periods of immobility, such as the time following major surgery or injuries

When faced with a frozen shoulder, you might have difficulties doing any activities that require the use of your shoulder or your entire arm, such as:

  • Lifting items
  • Reaching overhead
  • Stretching your arms out

While your shoulder is healing, it’s best to avoid any movement that might yank or jerk your shoulder, which would aggravate the afflicted area even further and slow down the healing process. To that end, try to find workarounds to avoid overusing your frozen shoulder and don’t be afraid to ask loved ones for help.

How Do I Soothe a Frozen Shoulder?

While you’re dealing with the discomfort and stiffness of the freezing and frozen stages, you’ll find yourself looking for ways to soothe your frozen shoulder in any way you can.

While much of the healing process for a frozen shoulder involves patience and waiting for your shoulder muscle to slowly heal with time, there are several steps that you can take to help ease your discomfort in the meantime.

1. Stretch it Out

One of the best ways to tackle the irritation and stiffness of a frozen shoulder is with gentle, targeted exercises aimed at loosening the tense tissue and restoring a full range of motion. If you have enough movement, yoga for relaxation and sleep can be beneficial for stretching out the muscles.

Make sure to check with your medical practitioner or physical therapist before starting a new exercise regime and don’t push yourself — aggravating or overusing the affected shoulder could lead to prolonged discomfort and slower healing times.

Consider trying some of the following therapeutic and low-impact exercises to help loosen and soothe the affected area, suggested by Harvard Health Publishing:

  • Armpit stretch – Place your affected arm on a chest-height shelf or ledge and slowly bend your knees, allowing the armpit of the affected arm to stretch and open gently.
  • Cross-body reach – Gently stretch the affected arm across the chest.
  • Finger walk– Facing a wall, slowly walk the fingers of the affected arm up and down the wall, allowing the arm to lift and lower gently.
  • Pendulum – Lean over and allow the affected arm to hang as your shoulders relax. Swing the arm carefully in a circle ten times in each direction, widening the circles or adding light weights as your range of motion and strength returns.
  • Towel stretch – Hold a folded towel behind your back with both hands and use it to gently pull the afflicted arm up, allowing it to open and move slowly.
  • Outward and inward rotation– Use exercise bands to slowly rotate your arm either outwards or inwards to promote flexibility and ease any muscle strain.

2. Soothe Your Strain With CBD

Adding CBD products may help ease the feelings of discomfort or tension that come with a frozen shoulder. A frozen shoulder can be a very uncomfortable condition and is easily aggravated by any number of everyday motions that you might perform without a thought. Zebra CBD is your trusted CBD expert, offering the most effective CBD formulas on the market in the form of premium hemp extracts.

When dealing with soreness or stiffness from your frozen shoulder, seek out products that will provide a feeling of soothing, restorative comfort to the affected area. Zebra CBD’s CBD Roll On Relief offers targeted relief to the areas that need it most, like tackling achy muscles.

If you’re looking for a tasty way to bring CBD into your frozen shoulder recovery regimen, Zebra’s Joint and Muscle CBD Gummies promote joint mobility and soothe tense joints and muscles — perfect for when you’re dealing with the soreness and stiffness that can come with a frozen shoulder.

For a supplement that packs together CBD and joint-friendly ingredients, consider Zebra’s CBD Joint and Muscle Tablets. The CBD and botanical ingredients inside these chewable tablets provide much-needed comfort and support to your joints and muscles. Each tablet contains Boswellia, turmeric, vitamin D and ginger root to promote happy, healthy ache-free muscles.

Using CBD to Help Sleep While Dealing With a Frozen Shoulder

When trying to ease feelings of achiness and discomfort stemming from your frozen shoulder, your primary goal should be to make sure you’re getting the kind of restful, deep sleep your body needs to do its job — healing your stiff and tense connective tissues — properly.

If you’re finding it difficult to sleep because of soreness and irritation, rely on Zebra CBD and browse our wide selection of pesticide- and herbicide-free CBD to help soothe any aches and promote a restful, calm night of restorative sleep.


Harvard Health Publishing. How to release a frozen shoulder.

Mayo Clinic. Tuesday Q&A: Frozen Shoulder Develops Slowly and Can Take Months to Heal.

NHS. Frozen Shoulder.

Harvard Health Publishing. 7 Stretching and Strengthening Exercises for a Frozen Shoulder.

The Bone and Joint Center. Do’s and Don’t’s for Frozen Shoulder Patients.

Co-founder of Copycat Copywriters, Adam has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies on a wide array of topics, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

About the Author

Adam Biederman Image

Adam Biederman

As co-founder and lead writer of Copycat Copywriters, one of Adam’s primary areas of expertise is within the budding CBD and cannabis space. He has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies, producing a collection of white papers, press releases, blog posts, articles and ebooks about a wide array of industry-related subjects, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

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