Having hip pain that makes it almost impossible to fall asleep or wakes you up in the middle of the night is awful. This kind of pain could be the result of a variety of conditions, or it could simply be from the position you are lying in. If you are having hip pain at night, read on to learn more about how to manage this symptom and get a good night’s sleep.
Whether it is a stabbing pain in the side of your hip, a dull ache in the back, or one of the other many symptoms of hip pain, having pain while trying to sleep is no fun. The good news is that there are a lot of ways this pain can be treated. One of the first steps to treating hip pain at night is to determine what is causing it.
What’s Causing My Nighttime Hip Pain?
Hip pain at night can be caused by a variety of conditions, but the most common ones include:
Bursitis – Small fluid filled sacs called bursae cushion the joints of the hip during movement. When these sacs become inflamed bursitis occurs. Symptoms may include pain at the outside of the hip, sharp pain that may later develop into an ache, pain that is worse when getting up after sitting for long periods of time, and pain that is worse when you lie down or sleep on the affected bursa.
Arthritis – The type of arthritis that affects the hip most often is osteoarthritis, but other arthritis forms can cause hip pain at night too. Symptoms of arthritis in the hip include pain in the groin, buttocks, knee, or thigh; pain that is worse in the morning or after resting for long periods of time; pain bending over; grinding sounds with movement; or pain that keeps you from sleeping.
Sciatica - This condition creates tingling, numbness, and/or pain that runs from the lower back and buttocks into one or both legs. When trying to sleep, you may feel a burning sensation or have jolts of pain that keep you up or wake you up once you’ve fallen asleep.
Tendonitis – This condition results from painful irritation or inflammation of the tendons in the hip. The pain is often gradual and worsens over time. Symptoms may include pain that gets worse with use or pain after moving if you’ve been inactive for a long period of time, clicking and popping sounds during movement, and pain when sleeping.
Pregnancy – Extra pressure is placed on your hips and spine during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester.
How to Manage Nighttime Hip Pain
A variety of options are available to manage hip pain that occurs at night. For immediate relief, try changing your sleep position. Experimenting with different positions or pillow placement will often ease the pain. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications as well as ice or heat therapy may also help reduce pain in the short-term.
If you are regularly experiencing hip pain, you may need solutions for long-term pain relief. Consider changing your mattress or putting a foam pad on top to help evenly distribute your weight. A firm mattress can be especially painful for those who have hip bursitis. Medical intervention may also be necessary. Getting regular massages, physical therapy, or chiropractic treatment will often help alleviate symptoms.
Sleep Positions to Alleviate Hip Pain
Sleep Strategy 1 – If you are a side sleeper, try placing a pillow between your knees and ankles. Resting your top leg on your bottom leg without a pillow causes your thigh to drop across your body which can have an impact on hip pain. Having a pillow between the legs slightly separates them and takes strain and stress away from soft tissues.
Sleep Strategy 2 – If you sleep on your back try sleeping with a pillow underneath your knees. This can release tension in the buttocks and lower back as well as the front of the hips.
Sleep Strategy 3 – If you struggle sleeping on your side because the outside of your hip becomes sore from the pressure of laying on it, consider covering your mattress with something softer. Try sleeping on a thick, soft duvet cover to see if it is beneficial before spending money on a more expensive mattress topper.
Consult With a Hip Pain Professional
Chiropractors are trained to take an in depth look at your entire body and treat any underlying conditions that could be resulting in your nighttime hip pain. We can give you personalized, specific treatments to better manage your condition including adjustments, stretching, lifestyle modifications, sleep position recommendations, and more to alleviate your pain. Prioritize your health. Schedule an appointment online or call (949) 649-8790.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.