Do you wake up in the morning with aching knees that make you feel like your legs have not been replaced by body-piercing pins and needles only waiting to spring at any moment? Are the creaking noises from your chairs unbearable to the point that even sitting on them would give you pain? Well, relief is something you are about to get! The case of knee pains at night is often treated without a clear understanding of what might be causing your pain. However, there are several cases when this happens and we'll discuss them here starting with an explanation of what causes knee pains while sleeping and how they can be overcome using simple home remedies and tips for getting a good night's sleep at last.
Why is Knee Pain Worse at Night?
There are a couple of reasons why your knee pain is worse at night:
Pain seems to be more severe at nighttime. As you lie down and begin to shut your mind off, you start to be more aware of your pain than when you're preoccupied during the day by all the other things that are going on around you.
As a result of an active day and an increase in physical activity, your knee joints may experience some swelling. When you lay down to rest after a long day, your muscles and surrounding tissues tighten up. The synovial fluid that moves around the knee joint will slow down causing further swelling.
Common Causes of Knee Pain While Sleeping
Knee pains during sleeping can be caused by a variety of issues, including common conditions such as arthritis, or chronic pain which are influenced by general health and age. Another reason might be linked to your mattress keeping you up at night! We've listed some of the more common causes below.
A torn meniscus is a tear in the cartilage in the knee that happens after a quick, sudden movement. It is common among athletes who play football, hockey, or tennis. The symptoms are a popping sound followed by knee pain and swelling. People who have suffered a torn meniscus may feel like their knee will give out or like their knee is locked in a bent position and they're unable to straighten it.
Chondromalacia is an inflammation of the knee joint. Symptoms include knee pain and stiffness, which worsen after sitting for a long period, when going up or downstairs, or getting up from a sitting position. It may also cause you to have a grinding sensation when you straighten your leg completely.
There are two main types of arthritis, Osteoarthritis, and Rheumatoid. Osteoarthritis can affect the knee, a common area where it occurs and is the most common form of arthritis in this joint. When cartilage in the knee starts to wear away from everyday use all those little movements that you make over time add up and cause bones to rub against one another. Symptoms include pain, swelling, loss of mobility, and stiffness that can severely affect your quality of life if left untreated for too long.
Knee bursitis is a condition where at least one of the bursae becomes inflamed, typically the main one over the kneecap although there may be others affected in tandem. This can be very painful and have you limping around as a result. How do you know if you're suffering from this condition? There are many symptoms including mild pain, pain when kneeling, swelling and stiffness when walking, or increased pain when walking.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
If you are a runner or participate in an activity that requires you to repeatedly bend your knee, then you might want to look into going for long walks and stretches because you may injure the iliotibial band. The IT band extends from the outside of your hip down past the outside of your knee and up along the upper side of your shin bone. So, when this muscle becomes tight it will rub against your kneecap and possibly cause swelling due to the friction, or irritation from other injuries which could be caused by falling repeatedly or running too fast on an uneven surface.
Home Remedies for Knee Pain at Night
When you're unable to sleep because of acute or chronic pain, it can feel like the mind is set against you. Your mind will start to fight itself as your body begs for rest with every inch of its being. Every time there appears to be a glimmer of hope that perhaps you will soon get some much-needed rest, your mind just brings in even more doubts, fears, and worst-case scenario thoughts! All you want is to be able to sleep without pain but then when or if this finally happens, the moment stretches out too long and everything seems heightened by the cut-off of sleep. But not all hope is lost!
In this Section, we cover various natural home remedies that are easy and effective at reducing knee pain naturally so you can improve your overall quality of life!
Heat or Cold therapy
A hot therapy relief heating pad for your knee joint is the perfect way to put an end to your stifling, stabbing pain. Instead of using cold packs - which numb the area and constrict blood vessels in your knee, try something a little different! Heat and cold therapy can be used to treat numerous conditions that cause one's knee to ache. Using a herbal heated or cooled pad before bedtime has proved to be very effective in reducing inflammation of the joint; addressing certain conditions, and easing the discomfort of bruised knees specific injuries with hot and cold therapy pads. Just make sure not to fall asleep with heating or cooling devices strapped onto your legs!
Pain medication for injuries comes in two different varieties: over-the-counter and prescription. Over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen reduce pain by reducing swelling. They work best for mild to moderate pain caused by a torn meniscus, iliotibial band syndrome, knee bursitis, gout, and chondromalacia. Some people with knee osteoarthritis may find relief with an NSAID but will likely need a prescription from their doctor to help manage chronic conditions in general.
Knee massage to help with sleeping is something you can have done through a physical therapy session or even self-massage before bed. An easier way to get your daily massage in is by scheduling regular sessions with a partner who will perform self-massage on your knee and back. Conditions that are helped by this type of massage include rolled ligaments, iliotibial band syndrome, torn meniscus, knee bursitis, and chondromalacia.
Support and Comfort
Using knee pillows is an excellent way to support your body and relieve any pain that may be present. These small, lightweight pillows are designed specifically to fit under your knees to alleviate pressure on your hips, back, knees, or another point of discomfort. Some of the most common ailments knee pillows are used for include torn meniscus, iliotibial band syndrome, knee bursitis, knee osteoarthritis, and chondromalacia. However, just about anyone of all ages can find restful comfort at night when using a knee pillow.
Your doctor might recommend that you wear compression clothing to relieve swelling caused by knee conditions like gout and osteoarthritis. Since the swelling will be relieved quickly, without medication, this may be a safer choice than pain medications for those with health concerns such as food allergies or heart disease.
Tips for Improving Sleep With Joint Pain
When trying to solve a stubborn knee pain problem, it helps to use some tried and true methods. Here's what helped the other people who came before you:
Take a Warm Bath Before Bed
Like the heat from a herbal heating pad, a warm bath will soothe your muscles and with the bonus of creating a relaxing atmosphere. Try taking a warm bath before bed to help get your mind and body in the mood for sleep.
Check Your Sleeping Posture
Sometimes, it only takes a simple adjustment to your sleeping position to create a significant change in the way you feel from head to toe. When you regularly sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side with a pillow placed between your knees.
Lose Excess Weight
Feeling extra pressure from excess weight on your knees can cause you to suffer knee injury and pain. While losing weight can help offset this pressure, the best way to go about losing weight is to check in with our expert medical advisors who will be sure to provide the right remedy based on your unique situation.
Change Daily Routines
Most people have heard the saying, "Nothing changes if nothing changes." The bones in your knee need time to rest and heal. Instead of always walking or exercising in the evenings, try changing up your routine by reducing physical activity. This way, your knee doesn't stay warm for too long which can lead to inflammation and soreness.
Swelling invariably follows the path of least resistance. By elevating your legs, fluid has less chance to pool in them which makes it more unlikely for swelling to occur.
Safely Managing Knee Pain
When it comes to sleep, let your doctor be the one who tells you exactly when you have to get in bed and what time you need to get up. With this regimen, you should be feeling less stressed while improving the quality of both your work and family life. If there is anything that is keeping or causing stress at bedtime, don't hesitate to talk to someone about helping address those issues and hopefully come up with a solution that makes optimal sense for your long-term health!