Hip pain can wake you up during the night and can make it very difficult for you to fall asleep again. Hip pain at night may be caused by the position you sleep in. Since you don’t move much during sleep, your joints swell, which can lead to stiffness and pain. But hip pain could also be caused by other conditions.
In this article, we will learn more about what may be causing your night-time hip pain, as well as how you can manage the symptoms and sleep better.
Poor sleep posture can cause pain. If you regularly wake up at night from hip pain, the way you’re sleeping or your mattress could be to blame. Try sleeping on your back, and if you’re used to sleeping on your side, sleep on the side that doesn’t hurt. You can also put a pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned.
Check also the kind of mattress that you’re sleeping on. A mattress that’s too soft or too hard could hit your pressure points, which may lead to a sore hip.
Bursitis is a painful condition that occurs when the bursae — small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints — become inflamed. The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip.
Symptoms of bursitis include:
- Pain on the outside of the hip and upper thigh
- Pain that starts as sharp pain, especially when the area is touched
- Pain when you get up after sitting for a long time
- Pain that worsens when you take a long walk, climb a lot of stairs, or squat for awhile
- Pain that’s worse at night when you lie down or sleep on the affected hip
People with bursitis don’t have pain while standing.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, septic arthritis and osteoarthritis (OA) are types of arthritis that can cause hip pain at night. OA is the most common type of arthritis in the hip.
People suffering from hip arthritis experience the following:
- Pain in the groin
- Pain in the buttocks, thigh, or knee
- Pain that worsens after resting or sitting for a while
- Hip pain that makes it hard for the patient to sleep
- Pain when bending over, getting up from a chair or taking a short walk
- Grinding sound with movement, or hip locking or sticking
Hip tendonitis occurs when the tendon in the hip is inflamed. Tendons are tissues that attach muscles to bone, allowing for movement. If you are suffering from hip tendonitis, you may experience a dull, deep ache in your groin, especially when climbing stairs or standing up. You may also experience pain in your buttocks if your hamstring tendon is also inflamed.
Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle, located in the buttock region, spasms and causes buttock pain. Sciatic pain is tingling and numbness that runs from the lower back to the buttocks, and sometimes down the leg and into the foot. If you have sciatic-piriformis syndrome, you may feel a burning sensation in your calf when you’re trying to sleep. Or you may have throbbing pain in your foot that jolts you awake or keeps you up.
Ways to prevent hip pain at night
To avoid getting hip pain at night, you can try these things throughout the day and before bedtime:
Strengthen the hip, thigh, pelvis and gluteal muscles with exercises that involve moving these areas from side to side. Low-impact exercises, such as swimming, water aerobics or walking, may help reduce your hip pain and improve your sleep. You may also want to try tai chi or yoga.
Also, avoid sitting for long periods of time throughout the day. Rest from activities and exercises that might be aggravating the hip and tendons, such as running or hill walking. Try standing up while working from time to time just to keep your muscles loose and flexible.
A physical therapist can recommend specific exercises to increase hip strength and flexibility.
Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin may help reduce pain and control inflammation. You can purchase NSAIDs over the counter or online.
You can also apply ice to the hip after exercise to prevent pain and swelling. You can use an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas and put it on the affected area with a towel in between. Having a massage can relax the muscles in the back and hips.
When to see a doctor
If your hip pain occurs regularly and you always find yourself waking up at night, or if the pain becomes worse and spreads to other parts of the body, you need to see your doctor.
They may check for tenderness and swelling around your hip. They’ll also give you some tests to assess the range of motion of your hip for signs of arthritis and tendonitis. In some cases, they may also take blood or fluid samples, or order X-rays to rule out various conditions.
If your hip pain is caused from a recent injury, go to the nearest urgent care facility or to an emergency room (ER).
Also seek immediate care if you have any of these symptoms:
- A joint that looks deformed
- The inability to move your leg or hip
- The inability to put weight on the leg with the sore hip
- Intense pain or sudden swelling in your hip
- Fever, chills, redness or other signs of infection
Got a question, or anything I can help with? My name is Steve Stretton, and I’m the owner and manager at Gelpacks.com. You can drop me a line here. Good luck!