Shoulder Pain? DO NOT SLEEP In These Positions

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/07/2024

Shoulder soreness has recently become a hot topic as individuals search for viable remedies to tackle this common complaint.

Delve into the intricacies of referred and non-referred shoulder pain, exploring potential causes and providing actionable remedies. Also, learn how to identify potential dietary triggers for inflammation – a critical factor in many cases of shoulder pain – and balance omega-6 vs omega-3 ratios.

Referred Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can be referred to as pain from a blocked bile duct, which puts pressure on the phrenic nerve.

Adopting a keto diet and practicing intermittent fasting can help reduce this pressure.

Additionally, purified bile salts or a Gallbladder Formula may be necessary for relief.

Woman with muscle knot in neck

Understanding Referred Pain in the Shoulder

Referred pain is the discomfort felt in one area of the body but originating from another source, such as shoulder pain caused by issues with the gallbladder or liver.

Another good example is located in the bile duct. The bile duct transports bile from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine, but when blocked or inflamed, it can put pressure on the phrenic nerve and cause referred shoulder pain.

Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting for Reducing Pressure

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that promotes healthy digestion by increasing bile acid production and breaking down fats more efficiently. Because it supports the health of the bile duct, going keto can help relieve associated pain.

Intermittent fasting allows the digestive system to rest and recover, reducing pressure on the bile duct. Intermittent fasting in combination with the ketogenic diet can be the most effective way to alleviate symptoms associated with the bile duct.

If dietary changes don't provide relief, consider supplementing your diet purified bile salts after consulting with a physician.

Non-Referred Shoulder Pain Solutions

If you're experiencing shoulder pain that's not referred to, try hanging exercises to stretch out muscles and improve joint health.

Hanging Exercise Technique for Non-Referred Shoulder Pain

To do an essential hanging exercise you must find a sturdy horizontal or pull-up bar, grasp it with both hands, and let your body hang freely to stretch your shoulders.

Hanging exercises can reduce inflammation, promote healing, and alleviate shoulder pain by decompressing joints and improving blood flow. Consistence practice of hanging can result in the following benefits:

  • Pain relief: Regularly practicing hanging exercises can provide long-term relief by maintaining proper joint alignment and preventing muscle imbalances.

  • Mobility improvement: Hanging stretches increase the range of motion and can help with tightness or scar tissue formation.

  • Injury prevention: Consistent practice strengthens supporting muscles and reduces the risk of injuries from sudden movements or excessive strain.

Inflammation Causes & Remedies

Shoulder pain can be caused by inflammation in the joint, which can be addressed by identifying dietary causes and incorporating natural remedies.

An improper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet can cause inflammation that may manifest as shoulder pain.

Omega Ratios Importance

  • Maintain a healthy balance: Increase your intake of omega-3 fats while decreasing your intake of omega-6 fats to reduce inflammation.

  • Increase omega-3 intake: Incorporate more fish like salmon or mackerel into your meals, or consider taking a high-quality fish oil supplement.

  • Cut back on omega-6 sources: Reduce consumption of processed foods containing vegetable oils such as soybean and corn oil high in omega-6 fats.

Stinging Nettle Root Benefits

Stinging nettle root is an herbal remedy traditionally used for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Combining stinging nettle root with a keto diet and intermittent fasting can further enhance its effectiveness in reducing inflammation and relieving shoulder pain.

Vitamin D3 & K2

Combining vitamin D3 with vitamin K2 can help reduce inflammation-related joint pains and promote better overall joint health.

Aim for 600-800 IU of vitamin D daily for adults, but consult your healthcare provider before starting any supplementation plan since individual needs may vary. Natural sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, cheese, and fortified dairy products.

Vitamin K2 is crucial in supporting bone and joint health by ensuring calcium is deposited adequately into bones and teeth rather than accumulated into joints and tissues.

Shoulder Pain Preventing Sleep

If you are experiencing shoulder pain, getting a good night's sleep can be difficult.

The discomfort can keep you up all night and make you tired and irritable the next day. Shoulder pain is a common problem that affects many people, from athletes to office workers, and can keep you up at night even if you are tired.

Shoulder pain can be caused by factors such as rotator cuff injuries, adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), rheumatoid arthritis, or even sleeping in an awkward position for too long. It could also result from dislocations or fractures around the glenohumeral joint, which connects your upper arm bone with your shoulder blade's socket.

Incorporating Diet & Lifestyle Changes

In addition to traditional treatments, incorporating diet and lifestyle changes into your routine may help relieve shoulder pain.

As noted earlier, following a ketogenic diet has been shown to improve joint health by reducing inflammation. At the same time, intermittent fasting helps with weight loss, which reduces pressure on joints, including shoulders. Adopting intermittent fasting and a keto diet can support pain relief in the shoulders and help with overall well-being.

Get a Good Night's Sleep with These Shoulder Pain Relief Tips

Don't let shoulder pain keep you up at night - try these sleep positions for relief.

Neutral Head Position is Key

Keeping your head in a neutral position while sleeping helps prevent strain on your neck and shoulders, so invest in a supportive pillow to keep everything aligned.

Tuck in Your Shoulder

If you're dealing with shoulder pain, try tucking your affected shoulder slightly forward while sleeping on your side to reduce compression and alleviate discomfort.

Roll with Rolled Towels

  • Neck support: Place a towel under your neck for extra support and spinal alignment.

  • Ribcage support: Put another rolled towel under one side of your ribcage to encourage better posture and less shoulder pain over time.

Worst Sleep Positions For Shoulder Pain

Don't make shoulder pain worse by sleeping in the following positions.

The Dangers of Stomach Sleeping

Sleeping on your stomach is a no-go if you want to avoid compressing nerves and restricting blood flow to your shoulders.

Arms-Raised Position's Impact on Nerves

Keep your arms down to prevent added stress on your brachial plexus and promote optimal relief.

For better sleep and less pain:

  • Use supportive pillows for side sleepers to maintain a neutral spine alignment.

  • Avoid awkward positions that twist or contort your body.

  • Invest in a high-quality mattress designed for proper spinal support.

  • Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises before bedtime.


Shoulder pain relief can be achieved through various solutions, including understanding the role of the bile duct and phrenic nerve for referred shoulder pain, practicing hanging exercises for non-referred shoulder pain, and identifying dietary causes of inflammation while maintaining a balanced omega ratio and taking stinging nettle root supplements.

Complementing these solutions with vitamin D3 and K2 benefits can further reduce inflammation, and all of these methods can be enhanced with consistent practice and a keto diet with intermittent fasting.


1. Relieving Shoulder Pain: What Works?

Effective relief for shoulder pain includes physical therapy, stretching exercises, dietary changes, and adjusting sleep positions.

A keto diet, intermittent fasting, and vitamin supplementation may help alleviate inflammation-related shoulder pain.

2. Rotator Cuff Tear: Warning Signs

Persistent pain when lifting or lowering your arm and weakness in the affected shoulder are common warning signs of a rotator cuff tear.

Consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis if you experience these symptoms alongside a limited range of motion or difficulty performing daily activities.

3. Red Flags for Shoulder Pain

Severe swelling or bruising around the joint, deformity in appearance, inability to move the arm without intense discomfort, and fever accompanying localized tenderness or warmth at touch are red flags indicating underlying severe issues related to shoulder pain.

Seek immediate medical attention if any red flag symptoms arise.

4. Will Shoulder Pain Ever Go Away?

Shoulder pain can resolve over time with appropriate treatment such as therapeutic exercises and lifestyle modifications like improving sleep posture.

However, some cases may require more advanced interventions, such as surgery, depending on the severity and underlying causes.

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