Ask Jo: My Shoulder

Every so often a blog reader asks a question or leaves a comment and I think others would like the answer to the question too-then I answer them here on the blog.  Today is one of those days.

After I told you all that I was cancelling my shoulder surgery I got lots of comments from people.  Some comments were congratulatory, some were commiserating, some were sharing their experience. Several, including one from my sister-in-law asked how exactly do you sleep.  They too had trouble with a shoulder and they too were hoping to get some type of relief.

Jill said, “I’m so intrigued by this because my husband has frozen shoulder right now. I have told him it’s a good thing that he doesn’t need to fasten a bra!! Ha ha. Would you be able to post a link to something that would show how to put your arm under the pillow? So glad you are getting relief! I hope you don’t have to do the surgery!

Terry said, “I am glad you are feeling better Jo. I sleep with a pillow under my left arm for shoulder support and one between my knees for left hip support. Getting older really stinks sometimes :)

Janine said, “I sleep with three pillows… for my head, one between my knees, and the latest one is to hug a travel size pillow with my arm when I sleep. I was having trouble with my hands and arms going to sleep at night. I talked to my chiropractor about it, and he suggested sleeping and hugging a pillow. I haven’t had my arms or hands go to sleep since I started doing that. I don’t blame you for canceling the surgery. I had rotator cuff surgery four years ago this coming Dec. It took me 2 and a half years to get back to normal. I hope you found your answer.”

Paulette said, “I’m glad your shoulder is feeling better. When you were describing your shoulder a while back, your symptoms it sounded very familiar to me. I’ve had frozen shoulder in both shoulders, first the left and 10 years later the right. It did go away both times on its own but it took many months. So when it happened on the other side, I knew it was going to take mostly patience and time. Hubby had it last year and his has gone went away now too. The pillow support was a big part of being able to sleep more comfortably for me as well. I still use it even though I’m fully recovered.”

I tried and tried to figure out how to take some pictures of myself laying down.  (As I write, no one is home with me so impossible to take pictures)  I ended up googling a bit and found this video.  This lady goes a bit to the extreme but in general I tucked the pillow underneath my arm, had one at my stomach and more or less hugged the pillows as she shows.

I did that for several weeks and have now only use one.  Honestly, it was a miracle for me.

If you’re sleeping in pain, taking her suggestions is definitely worth a try.  I am so thankful that I stumbled upon something that is working for me.  Sleeping without pain is life changing.

After watching the video I decided to give one the Buckwheat pillows a try.  I found them on Amazon here.

Do any of you use one?  Opinions on them?  I hope it makes sleep even better for me…dare I hope.  It’s improved so much already.

I’d love to hear a report back from anyone who tries sleeping with a pillow to relieve shoulder pain.  I’m hoping it might work for one of you too!!

15 thoughts on “Ask Jo: My Shoulder”

  1. I appreciate your blog on ‘shoulder problems’ because I have had the same for a long time on the right side and get by on pills and cry a lot. I am often up at night not being able to sleep. I’ve been doing the shoulder prop thing since you blogged about it and I thank you very much for doing that. It’s helped me tremendously and I am able to sleep through the night and not have such pain almost daily in my shoulder. I was afraid I was going to have to stop quilting. So far things are greatly improved. The pillow prop is working for me. Hope it holds. Of course it would help if I didn’t want to quilt ALL DAY LONG but that doesn’t happen anyway anymore. Somebody always seems to have a need family wise but things WAY BETTER.

    1. Diann…Please try keeping a sewing machine at lower height. If I sew with a machine in a cabinet-and have a higher chair. There is not as much weight that my shoulder is trying to support. I have MUCH less shoulder fatigue.

  2. JO I look forward each day to your posts. Just this morning I was telling my husband about your shoulder and the pillow (he has shoulder issues as well). He asked me just what you did with the pillow. And here’s your answer! I just forwarded this post to him.
    I use a buckwheat pillow. We bought a whole bag of the hulls and I make my own. I make a smaller size, maybe half a standard pillow. I love how I can move the filling to get support wherever I want it. It’s fine for back sleeping or side sleeping, just squwunkle the filling to how you need it to be.
    Love your blog even though I rarely comment.

  3. I don’t have the shoulder issues you do but I do have arthritis in my neck, I have a pillow that is basically hollow in the middle. It gives me support in my neck and I am able to sleep on my back or side with this pillow. I also sleep hugging a pillow at night, it keeps my hands from falling asleep because something is being pinched. And I sleep with a pillow between my knees for support. I hate when I forget to bring my pillows when we are on the road and either staying with friends or in a hotel.
    Getting older is tricky business, thanks for sharing how you are dealing/handling it.

  4. Thanks Kathy for your comment, as my Dave is having neck issues also. We were just to the doctor yesterday. We discussed using a different pillow but that is a far as the conversation went. I will try to find finding something that sounds basically what you described. Jo, I have used a Buckwheat pillow for probably over 20 years and I love it. They have refills that you can buy, (and then make your own pillow…a less expensive way to go.).

  5. I had a fall almost 2 years ago and broke my arm and the ball of my shoulder. Had a reverse shoulder replacement than lots of physical therapy. Can do most everything except hook my bra in back. I sleep with my arm supported with a pillow and it really does help.

    Great video and I’m going to have my hubby watch it as he is having neck issues. Getting older is not for the faint of heart.

  6. Jo, I have used a buckwheat pillow, half size, since the early 90’s for neck pain due to arthritis. My neck pain is long gone. I sleep on my side or front. When I travel, the pillow does too. I hope it works for you.

  7. Jo, I’m so glad the pillow has helped! It did the same thing for my shoulders many years ago. I put a pillow on either side, on top of the pillow for my head. They kept the shoulders up, rather than sinking down. Just like a real miracle…and it was! I met a lady who said her orthopedic doctor told her to never let anyone operate on her shoulders. Lots of opinions & advice out there. For my neck issues, I made a roundish rectangle prone pillow that fit under my neck on top of the head pillow. It isn’t super firm but offers good support. It’s helped so much, too. I wish you & all the commenting folks continued relief from pain, hurtful mobility, etc. Wonderful encouragement and support here! How is school going in 4th Grade Math near Houston?

  8. I am wondering about all the “can’t hook my bra” comments! Are y’all hooking your bra in the back? I have always hooked my bra in the front, then turned it around so the hook is in the back and then put the arm straps up. Have I been doing it wrong? (But even if it’s “wrong”, you can do it this way and surely it will be easier on you!)

  9. I have had two spinal surgeries (on my neck due to car accidents, neither of which were my fault!). I sleep with a Nurse Jamie pillow and have several on hand because I don’t want to ever be without one. I buy them on HSN whenever I get a 20% off coupon. Just another option if anyone is interested. That video was very interesting but I couldn’t get my husband (who does have shoulder issues) to watch it. I am open to anything that might help! Wishing everyone less pain and good sleep!

  10. I have tendonitis in my left shoulder and arthritis in my neck. I sleep either on my right side or back, with a pillow between my legs and one in front to support my left arm – and we have a waterbed, so my body is always supported wherever it needs to be. I’m finding that I have less pain since I’ve started using the “arm” pillow!

  11. Rosie Westerhold

    I don’t understand why women don’t hook their bras in the front and then rotate to back as Sally says. That’s the way I’ve ALWAYS put on a bra! Guess I leaned it from my mom. I never knew women did it any other way. Sure is a lot easier!

  12. WOW I have a shoulder issue. Mostly just the one. I tried this configuration, one under my chest, and one between my knees. Ran out of pillows then! But OH wow I think I slept pretty good. FOR THE FIRST NIGHT IN A WHILE. As a nurse we often positioned people in bed w the arm and knee pillows, I have never seen the under the Chest Pillow. But it makes sense.

  13. Thank you for sharing and looking up videos to help your readers that is very kind of you.
    I was hit by car car while crossing a street, while in high school, I have had neck issues ever since ( now going on 70 ) what has helped me is either don’t carry a purse or only use a small light weight cross body bag that I only carry id, credit card, phone.

    I also use pillows many pillows I buy new pillows and keep the older ones to be able to position myself comfortably as for me the exact position and pillow placement might vary just a bit.

    I do have arthritis in my back and neck I do worry that my home remedies may not work as I age.

    I had terrible neck pain in my high school years and I just can not imagine enduring that degree of pain in my old age.

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