Hip Pain While Sleeping on Your Side

hip pain at night

As you start drifting off, it begins. You can feel a pain in your hip. It could be a sharp shooting pain or a dull ache, but it’s there, and it’s unrelenting. It may hit when you lie down or build gradually as the night progresses. Whatever the case, nighttime hip pain is preventing you from getting the sleep you need to function the next day. 

But don’t worry – there’s hope. You don’t need to suffer forever since there are ways to eliminate or at least reduce the problem you’re currently having. We’re going to talk about some of the most common causes of hip pain at night to try and help you figure out where it may be coming from. After that, we’re going to present some possible solutions to your problem, so stick around. You may end up sleeping comfortably tonight, without any pain whatsoever.

What Causes Hip Pain While Sleeping

As we stated above, we’re going to go through some potential causes of your hip pain. Keep in mind that even though this list covers many candidates, there are still others that we don’t cover. Hip pain while sleeping on your side could be the result of issues that seem unrelated at first glance. A pinched nerve in the back may end up causing hip pain, for example. 

Another thing to note is that self-diagnosing is rarely a good idea, no matter how much advice you may find on the internet. Nothing beats talking to your physician and getting a professional opinion about your situation. 

what causes hip pain

Sleep Position

The first thing that comes to mind as the cause of regular nighttime pain of any kind is your sleep position. If you feel discomfort in the hips while sleeping on the side, you should probably consider making a switch. People who sleep on their side exert more pressure on their hips, making themselves more likely to develop this type of pain. 

If this is the sleeping position you prefer and are unwilling to change it, consider replacing your mattress. A bed that’s too soft or too firm could be causing the problem, and there are plenty of mattresses for side sleepers you could be using to relieve your pain. 

Bursitis

Simply put, this is an inflammation of the small sacs around joints, called bursae. These sacs are filled with fluid and allow your joints to operate as intended. If your hip is swollen and red, you may be experiencing the first stages of bursitis. As the issue progresses, your hip will get stiffer and more painful. 

First, the pain is felt only when you press on the area of the hip, but if left untreated, the pain will spread. The most important thing to do is to try and take the pressure off the hip and get as much rest during the day as well. If the problem persists, however, you should definitely talk to your doctor about it.

why does my hip hurtArthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of arthritic pain. This kind of arthritis causes the joints to break down. However, you may have septic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis as well, in which case your hip pain could be a signal of other health issues

The simplest way to figure out if you have arthritis is to pay attention to when the pain worsens. If it gets worse after sitting down, in the morning, or due to poor weather, you’re likely suffering from some form of arthritis. There may also be a grinding sound coming from your hip when you move. If you do suffer from this condition, try to get a good mattress for arthritis.

Tendinitis

Also called overuse tendinopathy, tendinitis can be brought on by irritation or inflammation of the tendons. As the name implies, this condition is commonly caused by overuse. It causes tenderness and pain at and around the joints, which can include stiffness that makes movement difficult. The thickening of the tendon and swelling are characteristic as well. 

The easiest way to get rid of tendinitis is to give the joint that’s suffering from it some rest, and stop doing the movement or activity that’s causing the irritation. If the pain gets more severe, or continues, however, you should call your doctor.

Osteoarthritis

As mentioned previously, osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of hip pain. It is the result of ‘wear and tear’ that happens naturally as we get older. Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage at the end of bones and around the joints. As this cartilage wears away, the bones start to rub against one another, which causes pain and swelling as a result of inflammation. 

Everyday tasks can become increasingly painful and challenging as soreness and stiffness around the affected joint increases. When it affects the hips, pain from osteoarthritis can spread down the leg and into the buttocks, which affects mobility and causes issues with sleep.

hip painExercise-Related Causes

Tendons and muscles can get injured or suffer inflammation through sports and strenuous physical exercise as well. Injured muscles and strained tendons in the hips, caused by this type of activity, can cause pain and inflammation, which can be challenging to endure. 

If you do a lot of sports or go to the gym regularly, you’ve probably been injured a couple of times, and you know exactly what to expect from this type of issue. Muscle strain often happens when you’re trying to overcompensate from another condition or if you’re trying to do something your body isn’t prepared for. If you are having these kinds of issues, try to relax more often, and purchase a mattress that is best for hip pain sufferers.

Sciatic-Piriformis Syndrome

You may not be aware of the fact that you can feel sciatic pain in your hips. This happens when the muscle that crosses the sciatic nerve – the piriformis, spasms, and creates pressure on the nerve. This muscle is there to help move your hip from side to side, and when this happens, it can cause problems with this movement as well as pain. 

We call this condition sciatic-piriformis syndrome, and it causes typical sciatic pain extending through the legs and hips into the lower back. Tingling and numbness down the legs, as well as in the buttocks, can often be felt as well. A good mattress for sciatica should help relieve the issue.

hip pain when sleeping on either side

Other Causes

There are other causes of hip pain, as we noted earlier, and these may be more or less temporary, but they are usually just as painful. Recent surgery or pregnancy, for example, can result in hip pain when sleeping on either side that causes issues when it comes to sleep. 

Many of the same pain relief treatments can help with these as well, but there are some specific tips we have related to pregnancy-related hip pain that we will discuss in more detail below. Other conditions like avascular necrosis or cancer will not be covered in this guide, and truth be told, these are issues that should exclusively be handled by doctors.

hip pain pregnancyHip Pain at Night During Pregnancy

Especially during the third semester, pregnancy can put lots of extra pressure on your hips and spine. Taking stretch breaks and wearing supportive footwear during the day can help reduce the risk for common conditions like sciatica.

One specific tip related to pregnancy that we have is trying to place a rolled-up blanket behind your back, allowing you to lean into it while sleeping on your side. A pillow can work just as well if you’ve got one that’s big enough. This will give you some additional support and relieve the strain on your hips and lower back.

How to Relieve Hip Pain While Sleeping

There are many pain-management options available for addressing hip pain. It all depends on whether you’re looking for immediate relief or a more long-term solution. 

If you are having severe issues with hip pain, to the point where you can’t fall asleep at night, you should look for more immediate solutions, while if your pain is currently manageable, you might want to opt for slower, long-term relief. We’ll discuss both below.

Lifestyle Changes

Making adjustments to your lifestyle, like getting more sleep or trying to improve the quality of sleep that you’re currently getting, as well as adding more exercise into your life can go a long way toward fixing and preventing all sorts of health-related issues. I

f you’re currently not exercising enough, or you think you may not be getting enough sleep regularly, talk to your doctor about your options. In case you get a green light from your physician, consider joining a gym or try jogging or walk more for a few weeks. You’ll be surprised by the effects.

hip pain at night lying on side

Change Your Sleep Position

As we talked about before, there are plenty of problems associated with sleeping in a position that’s not suited for you. Alteration of this position is one of the most effective and most natural ways to treat any pain, including hip pain. 

Try sleeping on your back if you’re usually a side sleeper. Every time you realize you’re sleeping on the side, roll onto your back. Once you fall asleep, you’re probably going to end up on your side anyway, because that’s what your body is used to, but you may change that over time if you’re persistent.

Change Your Mattress

You can put a massive amount of pressure on your lower back and hips, by merely sleeping on the wrong mattress. If you like sleeping on the side and experience nighttime hip pain, take a look at memory foam mattresses. These do an excellent job of conforming to the pressure points on your body, which are usually around the hips and shoulders. 

Keep in mind, however, that even the most comfortable mattress will not solve your problem if it is rooted in a more severe issue.

Pain Management

You can manage your pain in many different ways, but most people resort to over-the-counter drugs, such as anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers. These are usually fine, since they are non-steroidal, but you should still make sure that they are not interfering with any other prescription drugs you may be taking at any given moment. 

Another way to treat the pain is with a heating pad or an ice pack before going to bed, or while you’re lying there trying to fall asleep. Heat relieves aches and stiffness, while ice reduces swelling.

hip pain when sleeping on side

Physical Therapy

Your hips and lower back muscles could be out of balance, or just too weak to hold your frame. Talk to a physical therapist who can help you identify any areas of weakness in your body and create a personalized exercise or treatment program to focus on these specific points. 

They can also show you some stretching and endurance exercises that will do wonders to extend your hip health over the long run. Not to mention that physical activity will provide you with a plethora of other benefits, such as a healthier heart and mental clarity.

Prevention

There are many things you can do to try and prevent nighttime hip pain. These include various stretching exercises, as well as low impact workouts like walking, swimming, or light jogging. You can also try out yoga or tai chi if you feel up to it. Try to avoid sitting for prolonged periods during the day if possible. If you’re working at a desk job, remember to get up and take a walk every once in a while

A good trick that we like to use here at the office is having a glass of water at your desk at all times. This will remind you to drink more water, which will result in having to get up and go to the bathroom more often. That’s what we call a win-win.

Conclusion

If you’ve been suffering from while sleeping and sitting for a long time, you may feel like this is something you’re just going to have to accept for the rest of your life. We need you to snap out of that mindset ASAP. Although this condition is not easy to deal with and requires constant attention, there are ways to get rid of it and have pain-free nights once again. If all else fails, don’t be afraid about talking with your doctor about your options in terms of treatment. 

Your physician, physical therapist, or even personal trainer can have some insightful advice and help you devise a plan to battle the beast that is nighttime hip pain. Once you get rid of it, make sure not to fall back to your old habits. Instead, work on preventing the issue from ever returning. 

Sources:

Think that hip pain is bursitis? Think again. – www.health.harvard.edu/
Hip Pain: Causes and Treatment – https://www.webmd.com/
Hip pain in adults – https://www.nhs.uk/