Hip pain when sleeping can either wake you up from a peaceful slumber or keep you from getting some shuteye in the first place. There could be many reasons for its occurrence, including a bad mattress, poor sleep positioning, or an overuse injury.
Today, we’ll give you the lowdown on the things that could be causing your nightly hip pain. We’ll also tackle some ways to manage the issue so that you can have a restful night’s sleep.
What Can Cause Hip Pain at Night?
If you experience pain in the hip at night, it might be because of the following issues:
If hip pain keeps you up at night, the culprit could be your mattress or sleep position. A too-hard or too-soft mattress could target pressure points, which might cause your hip to hurt.
Then, there’s poor sleep posture, which can get your hip and back hurting in no time. Sleeping on your back might keep hip pain at bay, for the most part. However, if you’re a side-sleeper, you may need to position a pillow between your knees to ease the pressure on your hips.
Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that can be found around most joints, including the hip. They function to cushion the joint upon movement. When bursae become inflamed, that is known as bursitis.
Signs and symptoms of this condition may include:
- Sharp initial pain that slowly develops into an ache
- Pain on the upper thigh and outer hip
- Pain that comes after sitting too long, climbing stairs, taking a long walk, and doing squats
- Pain that worsens when you sleep
The third trimester of pregnancy, in particular, puts immense pressure on the hips and spine. That’s why it’s important to take stretch breaks and don supportive shoes if you’ve been sitting for long periods. Doing so can help reduce pain in the hips and lower back area.
As mentioned, when sleeping on your side at night, you might need to tuck a pillow between your legs to reduce the stress on your hips. A pillow or rolled-up blanket positioned on your back also works for providing cushion while side-sleeping. This gives pregnant women the additional support they need when resting.
Tendons are what connect bones and muscles, allowing for ease of movement. When the tendons in the hip area get inflamed, that is known as hip tendonitis.
You may experience the following symptoms if you have the condition:
- Aching in your groin, particularly after a long time sitting down or walking
- Pain in the buttocks, especially if the hamstring tendons are also affected
How Do I Stop My Hip From Hurting When I Sleep?
There’s nothing worse than having hip pain while sleeping. Should you find yourself in this predicament, consider the following options for managing the pain:
1. Change to a different sleeping position.
If your current sleeping position doesn’t do your hip pain any favors, try shifting to one that does. It may not lead to instant relief, but it could reduce the pain enough for you to get a good night’s rest.
Besides, at this point, you’d be more than happy for any kind of relief to get a decent shuteye.
2. Maintain proper sleep hygiene.
This basically involves activities that contribute to a good night’s sleep. While it won’t stop hip pain from affecting sleep quality, it won’t impact it at a level where you’ll be tossing and turning all night from the pain.
A routine that encourages restful sleep should include:
- Sleeping and waking up at the same time daily
- Avoid using your phone or watching television before bed
- Keeping your sleeping area cool
- Avoid drinking alcohol before sleep
- Avoid going to bed on a full stomach
3. Inspect your mattress.
If your hip pain when sleeping on either side worsens at night, it could have something to do with your mattress. Your regular one might not be equipped to handle your hip pain, so switch it up for something that can.
Whether it’s for back or hip pain, there are mattresses structured specifically to address this problem. You don’t have to purchase a new mattress just yet; you can try using another bed to see if it provides some pain relief.
If that still doesn’t work, that’s when you go shopping for a new mattress. There’s quite a lot to choose from, including ones that forego pain-causing springs. Body pain issues usually respond well to latex or memory foam mattresses, so you might want to try those out.
4. Use wedge-shaped pillows.
We’ve talked about the right mattress choice being a possible solution, but what about the proper pillow? It’s been said that placing a wedge-shaped pillow below your hip reduces hip pain.
In the absence of such a pillow, you can fold your blanket or favorite pillow into a wedge shape.
Other pillow-related solutions include:
- Sleeping with your pillow between your knees to ease the pressure on your hips
- Putting one or several pillows under your knees to reduce the stress from piriformis syndrome
5. Stretch before bed.
Lower back and hip pain while sleeping is sometimes caused by tight, tense muscles. You can help relieve the tightness in these areas by performing stretches before bedtime.
Don’t make this a part of your pre-bedtime routine right away, though. Your physician should give the all-clear to make this a daily practice before you incorporate it.
Different levels of hip pain also require different stretches, which is why it’s a good idea to always consult a medical professional beforehand.
6. Evaluate your daily activities.
It could be that your hip pain at night results from the activities you do during the day. In this case, you want to make some changes in your daily routine.
You could maybe lay off on the activities that require too much bending and lifting. Alternatively, you could incorporate hip and back strengthening exercises into your routine to prevent hip pain when sleeping on either side.
7. Make rest a priority.
If you are recovering from a hip or lower back injury, you want to lie low for a couple of days to rest. We know you’re itching to get back in the thick of things again, but more important matters require your attention.
Should rest prove insufficient to rid you of those nightly bouts of pain, talk to your doctor.
8. Stretch before working out.
Hip pain can benefit from the right exercises. However, these workouts should be accompanied by appropriate warm-up stretches. Some stretches structured around hip pain include Pilates and yoga. Aside from providing relief, these warm-ups also strengthen the core area.
In case these at-home solutions fail to do the job, consult your physician immediately. He or she should be able to provide non-invasive lifestyle changes that work for addressing hip pain.
Should those fail to accomplish their intended goal, you may lean on medical treatments for pain relief.
9. Try physical therapy.
Those recovering from a hip injury can benefit significantly from physical therapy. This may involve a physical therapist prescribing exercises that strengthen the hip. You may perform these exercises yourself or with a therapist.
A therapist may also prescribe other options for addressing the pain in case your current treatment plan fails to deliver.
10. Take NSAIDs.
There are over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, including naproxen and ibuprofen, that might relieve hip pain. You want to discuss these medications with your physician so that you can take them safely.
Your doctor may also suggest topical NSAIDs should he or she deem those more effective for you. Then, there are heat and ice treatments, which may be enough to relieve your pain. Again, your doctor should have the answer concerning these matters.
How Do I Know if My Hip Pain Is Serious?
Hip pain that disrupts your sleep routine regularly should be reported to the doctor. Your physician might evaluate your hips’ range of motion and check for swelling around the area. If the motion is reduced, you could have arthritis.
Hip pain resulting from an injury is something you need to get checked immediately. In this case, a trip to the emergency room could be in order.
What Are the First Signs of Hip Problems?
The following are common early signs of a hip problem:
1. Hip Pain
One of the earliest signs of a hip problem is discomfort and soreness around the hip or groin area. This often happens after exercise, long periods of sitting and standing, and during sleep.
When it comes to hip problems, limping is a pretty serious sign. That’s because it could be indicative of an acute or chronic condition.
If you have trouble putting on your shoes and socks, there’s a good chance you have a hip issue. The same goes if you find difficulty picking something up from the ground.
Hip Pain When Sleeping: How to Deal With It?
We’ve mentioned 10 solutions that might address your nightly hip pain issues effectively. Most of them involve consulting your doctor as soon as the first signs of a hip problem surface. This should offer you the best chance to prevent hip pain when sleeping and doing other activities involving constant hip and lower back movements.