Do you experience morning pain in your shoulder due to a clavicle fracture?

The pain may be described as a deep soreness, and is evident when the patient gets up to exit the bed.

It will also be evident if they move the arm around in bed. This morning pain or soreness may feel as though the patient had spent the entire night sleeping smack on the shoulder with everything getting scrunched.

However, this pain upon awakening can easily occur if the patient has spent the entire night sleeping on their back, with their arm lying straight out at their side.

What is it about a clavicle fracture that causes morning arm pain or soreness?

Five months ago I sustained a hairline fracture of my clavicle. I asked the physical therapist what causes the morning soreness.

He said it’s due to the injured area overnight becoming stiff and accumulating fluid (even though you may not see any swelling).

The soreness quickly dissipates or reduces once you’re up and about (i.e., moving the shoulder, even if it’s in a sling; there is still more movement than if you’re lying there in a deep sleep).

I asked him why this morning pain is greatly reduced if I sleep with my arm propped up on a pillow that’s on my chest. He said it’s because of making it more comfortable.

That last answer doesn’t quite explain it for me, but I decided to post this article anyways, because his first answer makes sense.

The PT added that despite morning pain in the patient who has a clavicle fracture, this soreness does NOT mean that anything was injured overnight.

Sports Doctor’s Response

“Fractures or broken bones typically cause pain when there is abnormal movement of the broken bone ends rubbing against each other,” says John-Paul H. Rue, MD, orthopedic sports medicine surgeon with Orthopedics and Joint Replacement at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.

“It’s possible that at night, without realizing it, you may be rolling over on your shoulder or somehow causing increased pressure on the fracturef clavicle, causing stress at the fracture site, and maybe even movement, leading to pain.”

Dr. Rue specializes in prevention and treatment of sports and exercise injuries. His primary focuses are knee, shoulder and elbow injuries including ACL and cartilage injuries, rotator cuff injuries and overuse tendonitis.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/Rustle