When you notice your hips start to hurt in the dead of night, getting a good night's rest can be challenging. There may be many potential causes for this pain, and some may be more manageable than others. Still, you'll want to explore all the possibilities and find the root cause before using stretching techniques or medications. If hip pain prevents you from finding a comfortable sleeping position, continue reading on because we're going to cover some of the most common reasons for hip joint pain at night and offer advice on how you can get a deeper sleep without affecting your day-to-day activities.
Common Causes of Nighttime Hip Pain
Several things can cause hip pain at night. The most common conditions are discussed below.
Pregnant women know how pregnancy can take a toll on their bodies. One area that is affected by this process is the hips, causing many pregnant women to experience what is known as pelvic pain. While many factors play into this discomfort, the physical changes in your body will stress your lower back and gluteal area, resulting in a weakened hip joint which causes bone-related pain. This relaxation leads to the loosening of ligaments and connective tissues, leading to what those familiar with it best describe as pelvic girdle pain (PGP) during pregnancy.
If you often wake up with hip pain, changing your sleeping position might be a good idea. If you are a side sleeper, you may be putting excess pressure on your hip. Try flipping onto a slightly different side or laying on your back until the hip pain is gone. You could also invest in placing a pillow under or between your knees for support. Another aspect that should be considered is what type of mattress you use. If your mattress is too soft or too firm, it won't give you adequate support for the amount of stress and pressure the hips to undergo from moving or simply standing in place all day long.
Your body has many fluid-filled sacs that protect your joints by offering a cushion between bones and muscles. These fluid-filled sacs are called bursae; in some cases, they can become inflamed, causing pain day and night. Since bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa, it becomes aggravated if the patient has been sitting for long periods or following any form of physical activity. Sleeping on the affected side becomes very difficult due to the constant pain caused. Fortunately, with rest, medication, and sometimes patience, this condition can heal, and patients may be able to sleep usually again.
Osteoarthritis of the hip is a condition that takes time to develop and unavoidably will only worsen over time. Symptoms are worsened by rising inflammation, increased pain, and extreme stiffness and irritation in the patient. Several methods of alleviating pain, such as heat, exercise, and medication, have proven effective. With osteoarthritis of the hip being a chronic problem, it will never go away.
Hip tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons (which connect bone to muscle), causing you to feel achy and sore when moving or even waking up in the morning. It's caused by overuse or injury.
Best Sleeping Positions for Hip Pain
One should never assume there is just one way to sleep when it comes down to relieving hip pain. The position of your body on any given night will very much depend on the source of your discomfort. For example, if you're suffering from lower back pain, you may prefer sleeping with a pillow between your knees. Alternating between being placed on your side and then back while in bed every two hours could help alleviate any knee or hip pains altogether! Pillows keep our bodies aligned to reduce any strains caused by poor posture during our waking hours throughout the day when we're moving around.
Tips for Sleeping with Hip Pain
You can go beyond changing your sleeping position to manage your nighttime hip pain. Learn more about the best tips and treatment methods we have at the ready to help you get a good night's rest without hassle.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen are great options for reducing hip pain at night. Consuming a painkiller like this can reduce your hip pain so that you can fall asleep more quickly, leaving you more refreshed during the day. However, it's always a good idea to check with your doctor first because some medicines may serve as a trigger for specific side effects.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
We all want a good night's sleep, but it's hard when our schedules fill up that day and leave little to no room for rest. One way to ensure you're resting at night is by practicing good sleep hygiene. It means avoiding your phone or computer for an hour before bed, going to bed at the same time every night, and staying away from caffeine and alcohol. A consistent nighttime schedule will signal to your brain that it's time for sleep, helping you fall asleep faster and stay asleep all night.
Exercises & Physical Therapy
Talk to a physical therapist and tell them you have hip pain while sleeping. Let your physical therapist know that you are experiencing discomfort in different ways, like having trouble sleeping at night or waking up with significant hip pain. Stretching and exercising in a routine will help relieve tight muscles, letting your physical therapist ease the pain in your dysfunctional hips.
It is easier said than done, but you need to do it. You can avoid the sleep troubles that are slowing you down by implementing simple home routines to help keep your stress levels low. Participate in low-impact exercises like yoga, swimming, or walking (which reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow). Engage in daily meditation or mindfulness activities and take a quick break for five minutes of deep breathing during the day. Hip pain can suck the energy out, so give yourself time to rest!
Using an aromatherapy heating pad or hot water bottle is a great way to relax the muscles that have been affected by hip pain, and this relief can be used anywhere from home to the office. According to Arthritis Foundation, warm temperatures also increase blood flow, which relieves inflammation and can help speed healing time. As stated in Good Housekeeping, heat is also great for reducing stiffness after waking up, which could mean less pain if you have arthritis. However, remember that you should always wear a shirt and keep the heat at least ten inches away from your skin so as not to cause any severe burns!
Reduce Hip Pain at Night
Hip pain at night can make sleeping a difficult task. The first step is to identify the cause of your pain, whether arthritis, an injury or tendonitis--knowing the cause will make treatment more successful. Some treatments are simple—a herbal heating pad, anti-inflammatory medication, and gentle exercise. Before you begin treatment, talk to your doctor so he can develop a plan specific to your needs and goals.