The Dreaded High Shoulder

Have you ever woken up in the morning with one of your shoulders sort of sticking up, unable to relax, and painful to move?

I haven’t, but plenty of my patients have.

I’ll be honest: I’m not sure why on Earth this happens to people most of the time. Even the person with the high shoulder usually doesn’t have any idea why they can’t relax their shoulder, and why it hurts so much. Most people shrug the good shoulder and say something like “Well, I guess I slept wrong”.

Which brings up a great question: How is sleeping so complicated that adults are still doing it wrong? Beats me!

Still, this dreaded high shoulder exists and it inflicts millions of Americans every year (that is a crude estimation based on nothing more than guesswork, by the way).

What I do know is that your nervous system controls and coordinates all the activity in your body, including your neck and shoulder muscles. And I also know that an adjustment to the area in question usually gets that shoulder to settle down and relax and become much more comfortable. So, if you are dealing with this problem, give us a call and maybe we can make that shoulder go back where it belongs.

Beating Chronic Pain with Adequate Sleep

Sleep is when your body recovers from the current day and prepares for the next. Without it, the never-eneding process in your body of destroying and rebuilding cells will become out of balance in favor of destruction. Sleep is when the body does it’s healing, and when a lot of important processes happen that are needed to stay healthy and to grow occur. If you’re not getting restful, recuperative sleep, then you are missing out on your body’s preferred time set aside for housekeeping and maintenance.

According to the Chronic Pain Foundation, 2/3 of chronic pain sufferers also experience sleep problems.

Pain interferes with normal sleep and interrupts the body’s sleep-wake cycle, causing fatigue and stops your body from healing quickly and fully.

Chronic pain is associated with depression, which also often causes sleep disturbances.

Let’s look at some important aspect of good sleep hygiene:

  • No eating in bed
  • No watching TV in bed
  • Do not use the bed for any activities not made for the bed
  • Do not consume caffeine late in the day
  • Avoid medications that cause insomnia – pain Medications often interfere with sleep, and can cause fatigue or irritability.
  • Avoid napping too much.
  • Avoid bright light prior to going to bed – this activates the brain via the retina and the altered circadian rhythms then interrupt sleep.
  • Do something relaxing before bedtime.
  • Go to bed at night and wake up in the morning on a regular schedule.
  • Exercise regularly, BUT do not exercise right before bed.


Dr. Romano is a board certified and licensed chiropractor in Maryland. He practices in Frederick, Md at 1780 North Market Street. He has an interest in the science of pain and it’s relationship to chiropractic. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Doctorate in Chiropractic. Dr. Romano and Dr. Schooley are available to speak to groups about pain, sleep, the importance of a healthy nervous system, and other health topics.