Shoulders and Side Sleeping and Pillows

IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
So I'm a very skinny/boney creature with pointy joints. And because my right wrist is under a lot of strain, I generally sleep with a brace on it at night, because otherwise I wake up and i've slept with it curled in and close to my chest. Lately I've also been wrestling some tennis elbow and shoulder pain. The tennis elbow is from my work station and I've done a decent amount to mitigate it, and it has mostly gone away, but the shoulder is new, and the pain is around my collar bone, which I mush at night when sleeping on my shoulder. some notes

- My right hand/arm get a ton of use from both work and drawing
- I dont have other joint pain, in my non drawing hand or other parts of my body
- I've done a ton of other things to alleviate problems, I switched to a vertical mouse, I have a split keyboard, I lowered my keyboard with a drawer, I do exercises at night to stretch things out.
- I live in texas and have relatively crappy insurance, so I'm not going to risk covid to have a useless chat with my doctor about this at the moment
- most of this pain will let up if I force myself to "sleep" on my back, but as a general insomniac, what happens is I lay on my back for like 6hours mostly awake, and then I finally curl up on my shoulder for 2 and sleep.

Amazon has a bunch of pillows that are ridiculous shaped and I was wondering if anyone else here has tried them.

I could sleep on this.. pelvic bone pillow, for instance:
https://www.amazon.com/Elviros-Cervical-Ergonomic-Orthopedic-Contoured/dp/B088WNMNX1?th=1

I could drive my fiancé crazy with a pillow parking garage ramp that costs 350 fucking dollars and takes up half the bed:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTB5BFB/?tag=ww11128-20

There's even pillows with amethyst dust, in the covers, cause you know, crystals do shit?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N38CD20/


Anyway, just like with the non-stick pans (thanks for the advice there, the new pans are great) I dont want to waste a ton of time on amazon reviews, but I also dont want to waste a ton of money on pillows in trial and error. turns out pillows can get kinda pricey. I figure the forum has aged enough that you all are rickety too, so maybe someone has gone through this already.

spool32

Posts

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited November 17
    As someone who is now 40 who exists in a rapidly decaying state. I've had to try to get used to sleeping in different positions depending on what hurts. It's hard to think of it as a "need to lay like this all night" thing though, because like you I end up staring at the ceiling. I switched to it just being a goal that I lay on my back for an hour, with no pressure to fall asleep. I've found it relaxing and I do sometimes fall asleep.

    My right shoulder and L5/S1 disc are garbage. Shoulder comes out of socket when I sleep on it and my back wakes me up if I stay in bed more than 6 hours.

    The best pillow option I have found has been a firm memory foam pillow that I bolster by putting a folded towel under inside the case - increasing the thickness and firmness. My right shoulder/collarbone do the worst when my head isn't fully supported because I shift my shoulder to prop up my neck.

    I want to try one of those buckwheat husk pillows or whatever because they sound awesome, but like you I am not made of money.

    For now I lay on my back an hour, roll to my side if I can't sleep and grip a body pillow like it's a floatation device.

    Edit: A friend of mine with Ankylosing Spondylitis swears by the Snoogle brand pillows. They're originally for pregnancy but she has significant sleeping pains and if I could find one for someone 6'3" I'd try it.

    dispatch.o on
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    im a side sleeper with a bum shoulder. I have a nest pillow from the mattress company. soft but supportive

    camo_sig.png
  • djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    I like a very solid pillow, so have this sort of "memory foam" pillow though the rest of my family thinks I may as well be sleeping on some 2x4s. It's pretty cheap, at any rate.

    Also, re: keyboards, I used to have one of the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboards and that did fine for a long time, but eventually I started getting wrist pain again. So I switched to one of the ridiculous-looking Kinesis ones and while it did slow me down for a couple of weeks until I got the hang of things, I haven't had typing-related wrist pain since.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    As someone who is now 40 who exists in a rapidly decaying state. I've had to try to get used to sleeping in different positions depending on what hurts.

    :x this is not the future I was promised, why cant they shoot some sort of science juice into my nerves and stop this madness.

    Thats two for firm memory foam. I have a very cheap memory foam pillow from walmart, but it goes flat instantly so I'll look and see if maybe replacing that will do some good.

    Snoogles look comfy as hell, but I figure I'll try some smaller form factors before I take over the bed. We only have a queen and, just like with the pillow parking garage ramp, I think it may disrupt my partners arm placement.


    @djmitchella , I too have a kinesis board, though I have the split gaming keyboard. I'm working my up to using it at an angle, but so far that helped with the elbow pain. My day is mooostly clicking, so the mouse was a huge impact. If you dont have a vertical mouse, the logitech ones are solid and they do help. I've also switched my mouse usage, with relative success, to my left hand. Still takes conscious effort some days, but painting is important enough deal with it.

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited November 18
    If be curious if anyone has used a buckwheat pillow and what they thought of it if that's not taking this off topic.

    MichaelLC on
    Echo wrote: »
    Something working on the first try is a source of great suspicion.
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    i jury rig something like the second pillow out of a combination of regular pillows. i cannot, or at least strongly prefer not to, sleep straight on my side anymore for a variety of reasons...

    and the best I've been able to come up with is sleeping at a sort of 45 degree angle by having a pillow up against my back, and keep my arm im sleeping on stretched out to my side, that way I'm not sleeping flat on my back but also not putting my entire body on my shoulder

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited November 18
    MichaelLC wrote: »
    If be curious if anyone has used a buckwheat pillow and what they thought of it if that's not taking this off topic.

    I really like mine but I legitimately don't like sleeping on soft things. It's not "cushiony," it instead conforms the way you want it and then is a pretty stiff head rest.

    And on topic to the original question, one of the reasons I don't like soft bedding is I have torn both my shoulders and can't sleep on my side at all. I've really found the best system is trying to comfortably sleep on my back, which took quite a bit of adjusting.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited November 18
    Iruka wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    As someone who is now 40 who exists in a rapidly decaying state. I've had to try to get used to sleeping in different positions depending on what hurts.

    :x this is not the future I was promised, why cant they shoot some sort of science juice into my nerves and stop this madness.

    Thats two for firm memory foam. I have a very cheap memory foam pillow from walmart, but it goes flat instantly so I'll look and see if maybe replacing that will do some good.

    Snoogles look comfy as hell, but I figure I'll try some smaller form factors before I take over the bed. We only have a queen and, just like with the pillow parking garage ramp, I think it may disrupt my partners arm placement.


    @djmitchella , I too have a kinesis board, though I have the split gaming keyboard. I'm working my up to using it at an angle, but so far that helped with the elbow pain. My day is mooostly clicking, so the mouse was a huge impact. If you dont have a vertical mouse, the logitech ones are solid and they do help. I've also switched my mouse usage, with relative success, to my left hand. Still takes conscious effort some days, but painting is important enough deal with it.

    Yeah, I'm 43. Aging is a hell of a thing! I had a friend in his early 30s start talking about how creaky he's getting and was like, I don't know that I should say anything here...

    I have a giant head and a crappy right shoulder, so I like a pretty skinny pillow because otherwise my neck gets sore. I've got a small buckwheat pillow that has a wool layer on top. Super nice.

    On buckwheat pillows, there are different varieties, but I would definitely opt for one with a zipper that you can open to adjust the amount of buckwheat hulls so that you can customize the firmness.

    Edit: Also, the buckwheat pillows are heavy. My wife has a giant one and it's a pain to move around.

    Corvus on
    :so_raven:
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Are you a side sleeper? do buckwheat pillows generally encourage you to sleep in a particular position since they don't shift?

    I assume with its heaviness I wont be able to sleep with my arm under the pillow, which I should try to stop doing anyway, probably.

  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    Iruka wrote: »
    Are you a side sleeper? do buckwheat pillows generally encourage you to sleep in a particular position since they don't shift?

    I assume with its heaviness I wont be able to sleep with my arm under the pillow, which I should try to stop doing anyway, probably.

    I do side sleep. I also use a knee pillow to keep my knees spaced, and that has really helped my comfort for issues unrelated to the pillow for my head.

    I feel like I could sleep on my back if I wanted to, the buckwheat is pretty comfortable for that. You could put your arm under the pillow I guess, but I don't think it would be comfortable.

    :so_raven:
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    my old brain farted , I have the Caspar Pillow. Its nice since it is a two part pillow. The middle is a firm core, and that goes inside a separate soft outside

    camo_sig.png
    Iruka
  • BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    Iruka wrote: »
    Thats two for firm memory foam. I have a very cheap memory foam pillow from walmart, but it goes flat instantly so I'll look and see if maybe replacing that will do some good.
    If allergies aren't an issue you could also try a latex pillow. They're very different from most pillows as they're rather springy and "push back" some rather than simply conforming to your head/neck. Assuming you find a loft and firmness that is to your liking you don't have to worry about them going flat and leaving your head hanging in an awkward position. The biggest downside is that some people can't get over that springiness.

    Rollers are red, chargers are blue....omae wa mou shindeiru
    Iruka
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    I personally use a memory foam "wedge pillow." I did for my terrible acid reflux, but it also helped with some shoulder and neck pain.

    Medicline

    medclinerefluxreliefsystemv1.1.jpg

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @zepherin You have one! A pillow parking ramp!

    Amazing! How long have you had it, does it compress over time? Do you have any lower back strain with this?

    I am really captivated by design but really would feel like a bed hog with it, and feel like this might support my hips enough.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited November 19
    Iruka wrote: »
    zepherin You have one! A pillow parking ramp!

    Amazing! How long have you had it, does it compress over time? Do you have any lower back strain with this?

    I am really captivated by design but really would feel like a bed hog with it, and feel like this might support my hips enough.
    About 3 years.

    I have not had any compression or lower back strain, but on a king bed it’s a bit of a bed hog, or more correctly sometimes my wife wants >60% of bed and she pushes the pillow over which is not optimal.

    Although if you get a doctors note you can use FSA money on the pillow parking ramp.

    Also while it’s a good sleeping pillow it’s not good for snuggling and sexy time.

    zepherin on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Damn. If its a hog on a king, its not going to work on my queen, we have trouble with space as it is. That's too bad, though, because its very intriguing.

    zepherinLucedes
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited November 20
    Just to consider.

    You may be less of a disturbance to your partner if you don't have to flop around all night, and it may actually not use that much more space than you sprawling out and rolling around trying to get comfortable.

    https://medcline.com/products/shoulder-relief-pillow

    says it takes up 1/2 of a queen size mattress, which seems pretty fair to me.

    dispatch.o on
    Elvenshae
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I passed my partner the picture of the parking ramp and he is willing to give it a shot, but I think I'm going to try at least one of these cheaper solutions first before taking the plunge. Its really good to know that it wont fall flat after a year though, that would be a real pain.

    If I get some amazon gift cards for Christmas, I'll splurge on it if buying something else hasn't improved my situation by then. My current pillows are old as fuck, so maybe I just dont know how bad they are because I've refused to let them go for like 9 years.

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    I really hope it works and you can report back some incredible solution. Be our champion. Solve the riddle of the shitty shoulder.

    Iruka
  • HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    I side sleep and also weird half stomach with my upper torso twisted and an arm under the pillow sleep. (I also tend to flop around like a suffocating fish during the night if I'm not comfortable/too warm)

    I have shredded memory foam pillows and they work really for me.

    HOWEVER

    That's only after I realized I need to pay attention to them. They get deformed and I need to rotate them now and then to get the support back under my neck. Not doing this combined with hitting my rowing machine too hard ruined my shoulder and neck for literally three weeks (though I'm coming up on 40 so I'm sure being an Old plays into that).

    But now that I know that I have to rotate them and occasionally take the time to separate the pieces of memory foam and reshape it they've been utterly fantastic.

  • NaphtaliNaphtali Null Registered User regular
    mts wrote: »
    my old brain farted , I have the Caspar Pillow. Its nice since it is a two part pillow. The middle is a firm core, and that goes inside a separate soft outside

    I have two of these, and they're hit or miss for me. I can go through a string of a few weeks using one (side sleeping) and then suddenly it just isn't enough support. I found they don't stack well either and one isn't always enough height for me between the mattress and head depending on how it shifts during the night (5'11"). I do toss and turn a bit myself.

    I have this memory foam pillow and it has one firm and one softer side, but they're both pretty firm. Most of them time it does the trick for me.

    I've tried side-sleeper pillows with weird ridges and cutouts for your shoulder and none of them worked for me, they were just too awkward.

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  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    Naphtali wrote: »
    mts wrote: »
    my old brain farted , I have the Caspar Pillow. Its nice since it is a two part pillow. The middle is a firm core, and that goes inside a separate soft outside

    I have two of these, and they're hit or miss for me. I can go through a string of a few weeks using one (side sleeping) and then suddenly it just isn't enough support. I found they don't stack well either and one isn't always enough height for me between the mattress and head depending on how it shifts during the night (5'11"). I do toss and turn a bit myself.

    I have this memory foam pillow and it has one firm and one softer side, but they're both pretty firm. Most of them time it does the trick for me.

    I've tried side-sleeper pillows with weird ridges and cutouts for your shoulder and none of them worked for me, they were just too awkward.

    try washing it. I recently washed mine and it like doubled in size and made it way more firm especially if I stick it in a smaller pillowcase

    camo_sig.png
  • NaphtaliNaphtali Null Registered User regular
    I'll give that a whirl, thanks mts.

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  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    Naphtali wrote: »
    I'll give that a whirl, thanks mts.

    yea, it should help. I thought the same thing as you that it was mostly great but some times it didn't seem enough, but since I washed it, it has been awesome. make sure to throw a tennis ball in the dryer with it and fluff it up before reusing

    camo_sig.png
  • CelloCello Registered User regular
    Oh geez, so, I also have tennis elbow (in both elbows!) and flip a lot between side sleeping and back sleeping, and have chronic neck and back pain I've been working on in physiotherapy for like a year, so, big mood.

    I don't have any magic cures per se, but finding a pillow that will work for your shoulder height did help mitigate some of my sidesleeping pain. I've run through so many fucking pillows and while I know the real answer is "don't forget to do your stretches and strength exercises, you dummy, you fool," I did find that switching to the Tempur Pedic Neck Pillow helped (it has two heights for side and back sleeping which is nice, as well as raised bits on the side if you want to put your forearm along it). I found over the last 6 months it has compressed a bit and isn't as firm as I need to keep my shoulder from collapsing inward and fucking up my neck though. Maybe I didn't get the right height? Hard to tell having bought it online without testing it in a store because pandemic, honestly.

    My more expensive dumb purchase, however, was an adjustable frame for my bed I got in the summer in a pique of not wanting to wake up in as much pain anymore (my lower back was being especially problematic and PayBright was *right there*). The one I got has a "zero g" mode which makes it harder for me to flail around like I normally do in my sleep, as it forces you into a sort of raised "astronaut" position, and since I've started trying to focus on only using that at night in the past month (as well as my cheaper $30 Costco memory foam pillow) my neck pain has been drastically better. Not sleeping on my side seems to be the best factor here I guess!

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  • NaphtaliNaphtali Null Registered User regular
    mts wrote: »
    Naphtali wrote: »
    I'll give that a whirl, thanks mts.

    yea, it should help. I thought the same thing as you that it was mostly great but some times it didn't seem enough, but since I washed it, it has been awesome. make sure to throw a tennis ball in the dryer with it and fluff it up before reusing

    Well, I didn't have a tennis ball but dang if the washer and dryer did the trick to the pillow. Slept on it last night and it was a dramatic improvement, one of the best night's of sleep I've had in a while.

    B.net: Naphtali#1830 | Steam | Nintendo ID: Naphtali | PSN: EI-Naphtali | Wish List
    Irukadispatch.odjmitchellaHappylilElfBouwsTzepherinElvenshaeMichaelLCCalica
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    Naphtali wrote: »
    mts wrote: »
    Naphtali wrote: »
    I'll give that a whirl, thanks mts.

    yea, it should help. I thought the same thing as you that it was mostly great but some times it didn't seem enough, but since I washed it, it has been awesome. make sure to throw a tennis ball in the dryer with it and fluff it up before reusing

    Well, I didn't have a tennis ball but dang if the washer and dryer did the trick to the pillow. Slept on it last night and it was a dramatic improvement, one of the best night's of sleep I've had in a while.

    glad it worked for you

    camo_sig.png
    zepherin
  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    edited November 24
    Cello wrote: »
    Oh geez, so, I also have tennis elbow (in both elbows!) and flip a lot between side sleeping and back sleeping, and have chronic neck and back pain I've been working on in physiotherapy for like a year, so, big mood.

    I don't have any magic cures per se, but finding a pillow that will work for your shoulder height did help mitigate some of my sidesleeping pain. I've run through so many fucking pillows and while I know the real answer is "don't forget to do your stretches and strength exercises, you dummy, you fool," I did find that switching to the Tempur Pedic Neck Pillow helped (it has two heights for side and back sleeping which is nice, as well as raised bits on the side if you want to put your forearm along it). I found over the last 6 months it has compressed a bit and isn't as firm as I need to keep my shoulder from collapsing inward and fucking up my neck though. Maybe I didn't get the right height? Hard to tell having bought it online without testing it in a store because pandemic, honestly.

    My more expensive dumb purchase, however, was an adjustable frame for my bed I got in the summer in a pique of not wanting to wake up in as much pain anymore (my lower back was being especially problematic and PayBright was *right there*). The one I got has a "zero g" mode which makes it harder for me to flail around like I normally do in my sleep, as it forces you into a sort of raised "astronaut" position, and since I've started trying to focus on only using that at night in the past month (as well as my cheaper $30 Costco memory foam pillow) my neck pain has been drastically better. Not sleeping on my side seems to be the best factor here I guess!

    I've been dealing with chronic golfer's elbow (medial epicondyle tendonitis on the other side of the elbow) this year and chronic lower back pain and shoulder issues for years. Finally got around to working with a PT for the tendonitis, and picked his brain about the other issues. He gave me a whole litany of exercises and stretches to do. And let me tell you, after a couple months of doing them religiously, I was able to sleep on my back without pain for the first time in a decade. When I slack off for a month, the pain starts coming back a little bit. So at least in my mind, nothing you can buy will work as well as doing the hard work to fix the imbalance your/our bodies have gotten in by neglecting them.

    So my recommendation might be to seek out a different PT if your current routine hasn't been helping, even if at least just for a consult (remotely if necessary, most are doing telehealth these days). The first PT I tried for my elbow kinda worked, but the pain still continued. I switched PTs to one that was closer to home when the office shut down, and he gave me way different and more exercises and there was a definite improvement with the new routine, so it could be worth looking into that.

    Simpsonia on
    Cello
  • CelloCello Registered User regular
    edited 5:57AM
    Simpsonia wrote: »
    Cello wrote: »
    Oh geez, so, I also have tennis elbow (in both elbows!) and flip a lot between side sleeping and back sleeping, and have chronic neck and back pain I've been working on in physiotherapy for like a year, so, big mood.

    I don't have any magic cures per se, but finding a pillow that will work for your shoulder height did help mitigate some of my sidesleeping pain. I've run through so many fucking pillows and while I know the real answer is "don't forget to do your stretches and strength exercises, you dummy, you fool," I did find that switching to the Tempur Pedic Neck Pillow helped (it has two heights for side and back sleeping which is nice, as well as raised bits on the side if you want to put your forearm along it). I found over the last 6 months it has compressed a bit and isn't as firm as I need to keep my shoulder from collapsing inward and fucking up my neck though. Maybe I didn't get the right height? Hard to tell having bought it online without testing it in a store because pandemic, honestly.

    My more expensive dumb purchase, however, was an adjustable frame for my bed I got in the summer in a pique of not wanting to wake up in as much pain anymore (my lower back was being especially problematic and PayBright was *right there*). The one I got has a "zero g" mode which makes it harder for me to flail around like I normally do in my sleep, as it forces you into a sort of raised "astronaut" position, and since I've started trying to focus on only using that at night in the past month (as well as my cheaper $30 Costco memory foam pillow) my neck pain has been drastically better. Not sleeping on my side seems to be the best factor here I guess!

    I've been dealing with chronic golfer's elbow (medial epicondyle tendonitis on the other side of the elbow) this year and chronic lower back pain and shoulder issues for years. Finally got around to working with a PT for the tendonitis, and picked his brain about the other issues. He gave me a whole litany of exercises and stretches to do. And let me tell you, after a couple months of doing them religiously, I was able to sleep on my back without pain for the first time in a decade. When I slack off for a month, the pain starts coming back a little bit. So at least in my mind, nothing you can buy will work as well as doing the hard work to fix the imbalance your/our bodies have gotten in by neglecting them.

    So my recommendation might be to seek out a different PT if your current routine hasn't been helping, even if at least just for a consult (remotely if necessary, most are doing telehealth these days). The first PT I tried for my elbow kinda worked, but the pain still continued. I switched PTs to one that was closer to home when the office shut down, and he gave me way different and more exercises and there was a definite improvement with the new routine, so it could be worth looking into that.

    Oh no, my PT is great! Lucky to have one of my oldest friends go into the profession who is also conveniently the best I've seen.

    The problem has mostly been isolation - I am still waiting on some weights I ordered a few months ago to continue with the tennis elbow stuff since I can no longer use the gym's freeweights, and I had a decade of back problems that all piled up to the point where we had to fix parts at a time - just walking around used to be agony, but now it's just stiff if I don't do my exercises, or my lower back acting up when I get up in the morning (we're working on that and on the neck too). My upper back used to be hell and now it's pain-free.

    I've had to really space out our appointments due to the pandemic, so unfortunately I'm not as up on the exercises as we would have been normally, but PT has absolutely been an improvement!

    Cello at
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