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August 10, 2020 6 min read

Arthritis Pillow

Arthritis is a condition that affects the body’s joints, causing pain both while moving and while stationary. It can also disrupt sleep patterns, causing you to wake up often in the night. While not a cure, an arthritis pillow can aid in sleep by alleviating symptoms, reducing how frequently you wake through the night.  

Arthritis is common; up to 23% of American adults struggle with the condition.1 


infographic arthritis in us statistic

In this post, you’ll find information on the relationship between arthritis and poor sleep, how it can affect your overall health, and how an arthritis pillow can help you get a full, restful night’s sleep. Read through for a comprehensive guide to the best body pillow for arthritis and other sleep tips, or simply use one of the links below to jump straight to the section you’re most interested in. 

Let’s first take a look at the way arthritis affects sleeping patterns. 

How does arthritis affect sleep?

Many people are aware that arthritis pain can be disruptive during the night, causing you to sleep poorly; in fact, up to 80% of people struggling with arthritis also struggle with poor sleep. However, what many are not aware of is that the relationship between arthritis and sleep goes both ways: poor sleep can actually make arthritis worse.2


infographic arthritis and sleep problems

This is likely because arthritis is a type of inflammation, and your body uses the time while you’re asleep to mitigate the worst effects of inflammation.3 So, not only does having joint pain in your back, knees, hands, or neck cause you to toss and turn all night, that tossing and turning is actually contributing to the pain and inflammation as well. 

Breaking out of this vicious cycle can be difficult, and many people turn to medication to help them get to sleep. While that may be a good option for some arthritis sufferers, others might not find it as helpful for their condition. For instance, heavy doses of sleep medication may cause you to fall asleep in an uncomfortable position, which could lead to issues such as shoulder pain at night.

This is why many people instead turn to shoulder pain pillows and other arthritis relief systems to ameliorate the worst of their nighttime symptoms. The right pillow can not only help you find sleep in a more comfortable and accommodating position, but can actually directly reduce arthritis pain through unique design and supportive structure. However, not just any pillow is suitable for arthritis. It’s important to know what to look for. 

What is the ideal pillow for arthritis pain?

Finding the ideal arthritis pillow can depend on a variety of factors, like the nature of your arthritis pain, your favored sleeping position, and even your budget. The MedCline Shoulder Relief System is specially designed for side sleepers. Side sleepers experiencing shoulder can benefit from the features built into the MedCline Shoulder Relief Pillow. These include:

  • The full-length Body Pillow, which provides leg and hip support for side sleepers. Side-sleeping without leg support may lead to lower back pain, which can worsen symptoms of arthritis if you experience inflammation in that area. The best body pillow for arthritis alleviates strain by offering firm but plush support, and the MedCline Body Pillow delivers. (Note: The system is not recommended for those with back or hip injuries, as the 10-degree angle of the Bed Wedge may not be comfortable.)
  • Shoulder Relief Bed Wedge keeps you rested at a 10-degree angle. The Bed Wedge Pillow on the Shoulder Relief System is designed with a cavity provided beneath the pillow into which you can insert your downward arm; you’ll experience side sleep shoulder relief from the best pillow for arthritis on the market.
  • The fluffy Insert Pillow keeps you held comfortably aloft, offering ample cushion and bolstering the Bed Wedge to keep you from falling into an uncomfortable crevice at night. 

At MedCline, we strive to produce effective, comfortable, supportive, and ideal pillows for those suffering from nightly shoulder pain. In addition to using a shoulder pain pillow, however, there are tips you can use to ease yourself into a comfortable night of sleep.

Sleep tips for arthritis

Getting a good night’s sleep with arthritis can be difficult. However, there may be more than arthritis at play if you find that you are consistently struggling to fall asleep at night. 

Sleep tips for arthritis infographic

In addition to using an arthritis relief pillow like the MedCline Shoulder Relief System, there are a few CDC-recommended sleep hygiene tips that you may want to consider implementing in order to get a better night’s sleep.4 

  • Set a consistent bedtime. Schedules can vary, and it’s hard to know exactly when you’ll be able to get to sleep between work, kids, or other responsibilities, but it’s still important to try to keep a consistent bedtime each night. Having that consistency helps signal to your body when it’s time to start winding down and get to sleep.
  • Turn off your electronics before bed. The harsh blue light emitted by screens, along with the mental stimulation from the content you’re viewing, can signal to your brain that it’s time to be awake.
  • Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. If you’re overheating, there are bright lights coming in from other rooms, or loud noises nearby, you may not be able to sleep. A white noise machine or fan can help with these difficulties. 
  • Avoid large meals and caffeine before bed. Digesting a large meal can cause your body to be more alert, and may even cause sleep-disrupting acid reflux or heartburn. Caffeine is a stimulant that can force you to stay awake as well. 

Arthritis Pillow FAQs

Before you’re ready to order a MedCline Shoulder Relief System, take a look at a couple of our frequently asked questions. You can find a full list of questions with clear, digestible answers on the MedCline FAQ page. 


woman waking up without arthritis pain

How to use an arthritis pillow?

The MedCline Shoulder Relief System is simple to use, and sleeping positions in the system are comfortable and intuitive. You can get started on your first night alleviating arthritis symptoms. Here’s how it works:

  1. First, place the system on your bed. Lay the flat portion of the Bed Wedge down on your bed. Setup should only take a few minutes from unboxing to completion. Note that the system takes up about ½ the width of a queen size bed. 
  2. Next, position yourself in the Shoulder Relief System. If you choose to lay on your side, put your arm through the hole in the Bed Wedge. You may then rest your shoulder on the Insert Pillow or move around within the arm pocket to find what’s most comfortable for you. Lay your arm gently below the system onto the bed surface, taking pressure off your shoulder. The Body Pillow portion of the system provides comfort for your other arm, provides additional knee support, and takes pressure off your lower back. The MedCline system is also one of the best pillows for rheumatoid arthritis, as pressure is taken off your lower hand at night. 
  3. Finally, find the perfect comfortable sleeping position. Some users find that the MedCline Shoulder Relief System provides immediate comfort the first night they use it. Others take time for the comfort foam to mold to their body shape, providing the perfect restful position and relieving shoulder and arthritis pain. 

Once you’ve settled into a sleep routine and have found the most comfortable position in the Shoulder Relief System, experience reduced arthritis symptoms, and have a better night’s sleep.

What types of pillows are best for side sleepers?

The best pillows for side sleepers offer a comfortable, supportive base, limited but cushioned sleep angle, and support for your lower arm. The MedCline Shoulder Relief System is specifically designed to be comfortable for side sleepers. 

Thanks to the space beneath the Bed Wedge, your lower arm can rest gently below you preventing your arms from falling asleep at night. The weight of your body is suspended by the Wedge and Insert Pillow, so you won’t wake up with a shoulder that’s stiff from being slept on all night. 

Thanks to the arm hole beneath the Bed Wedge, your lower arm can rest gently below you.

Break the Arthritis Sleep Pain Cycle with a Shoulder Relief Pillow

Arthritis pain can be disruptive, causing you to miss out on sleep, which can in turn worsen arthritis symptoms: a painful cycle. Break the cycle by investing in a Shoulder Relief Pillow that offers gentle, consistent support, making it one of the best pillows for shoulder arthritis available. 

Plus, the Shoulder Relief System isn’t just another pillow wedge. Invest in your sleep health today! If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to our team of MedCline Sleep Specialists at 800-610-1607. We are also available via email at (M-F 8:00-4:00 PST).

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  1. “Arthritis” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),, accessed July 2020
  2. “Sleep and Pain” Arthritis Foundation,, accessed July 2020
  3. Mullington, Janet M. et al. “Sleep Loss and Inflammation,” Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2010,
  4. “Tips for Better Sleep” CDC,, accessed July 2020