Hip pain when sleeping on either side is a massive cause for concern for many people, especially those who have gone through hip replacement or joint damage.
As we all know, sleeping is often the best source of relief and healing when dealing with pain and injury, assuming you’re able to fall asleep.
It also depends on how you sleep and many people sleep on their sides rather than other arrangements, so they experience a whole new level of discomfort regarding hip pain.
Women tend to experience hip pain more than men, but this can often complicate the problem of diagnosis depending on the cause, gender, body type, and daily activity.
So what do you do when you’re trying to sleep on your side and you can’t for the life of you find a comfortable position? What does your side sleeping hip pain tell you about what you’re going through?
Here’s a list of ten things to keep an eye out for and what to do if you experience them.
Causes of Hip Pain
Remember that some hip issues aren’t actually always hip issues. In fact, it could be lower back, thighs, or even buttocks where the pain is originating and fanning out across your lower body.
For women, in particular, factors like pregnancy or a recent surgery could also be contributing badly to the cause of your pain.
If the pain is originating in a source outside of your actual hips, then it’s important to consult your doctor as to the actual cause and the options available to you.
If you sleep, then chances are you occasionally sleep funny. You wake up sore and kinked up in areas, maybe your back, or your shoulders, or even your arms. Your hips are no different.
Hip pain when sleeping on either side is actually more common than you think. There are three basic sleep positions from which all others originate; back, stomach, and side.
Naturally, if you’re a side sleeper, you put the most pressure on your hips. This makes it easier to develop hip pain as well as exacerbate it if you’ve already got it.
If sleeping is the issue causing your hip pain, then the answer is actually fairly simple.
We recommend a medium firmness mattress for anyone who favors their sides during sleep.
The correct mattress can easily make a huge difference in your pain during the day and a mattress that’s neither too firm nor too soft may be perfect for you.
The bane of the elderly and those who move around a lot, arthritis is no picnic wherever you’ve been unlucky enough to get it.
Osteoarthritis most commonly causes hip pain and breaks the joints down slowly and deliberately, making the pain worse.
Rheumatoid arthritis and septic arthritis are also big concerns in the hips and can stem from virtually any type of arthritic concern you might have.
If you find that bad weather, sitting or even simply mornings make your pain worse, then it’s a good bet you’ve likely developed this painful annoyance.
You might also become aware of a strange grinding sound as you move, or take note of your hip’s new tendency to lock in place.
This pain can spread down to the knee, groin, or buttocks. Fortunately, much like simple sleep pain, a good mattress can help to alleviate much of it.
Not many people know about this one, but it’s worth knowing and taking notice of. Inside and around the joints, you’ve got little fluid-filled sacs that can get inflamed.
These are called bursae and when they become swollen and infected and angry, they can cause some pretty severe pain when pressed upon during movement or a simple activity.
The best way to fight this annoying diagnosis is to rest as often as possible and try to change your sleeping position at night to either your stomach or your back.
Keep a close eye on the pain as you wait for it to begin diminishing. If it persists and gets worse, seek medical attention immediately.
We have tendons in our hips that can actually be overused, which can cause inflammation and irritation.
This is called overuse tendinopathy. This causes severe pain and tenderness all around and inside the joints. This can make it hard to move since swelling and thickening can start to develop around the joints.
Thankfully, tendinitis is fairly simple to treat and if left alone while getting sufficient rest and lapse of activity, it’ll often go away all on its own.
However, it’s important to keep track of how easily you’re able to move, if at all.
If you find movement becomes more difficult the longer it goes on, it could indicate a ruptured tendon which requires immediate medical help in order to reverse and correct.
Muscle Strain or Injury
There are a lot of tissues in and around our hip joints, far more than you might expect.
In fact, depending on how much you move around, you might become more aware of them than you might be comfortable with.
If you’re particularly active, you could easily find yourself suffering from muscle strain or injury that requires rest and care in order to mend itself.
This kind of hip pain is one of the more easily recognizable due to its tendency to be caused by a specific kind of activity or injury.
It can also develop due to muscle compensation because of another injury elsewhere, such as an injured leg that causes limping.
Sciatic pain is very common and well understood, even though it isn’t usually associated with the hips very much. When this occurs, it means the piriformis muscle that crosses over the sciatic nerve begins to spasm randomly which pressurizes the sciatic nerve.
This is what causes this sort of severe pain in the hips, lower back, bottom, back of the legs and can create pain during simple daytime activities. It can happen regardless of how much or how little you use your muscles.
Moving too much or too little can cause it to spasm, especially if you have a habit of springing into movement suddenly and without warning for whatever reason.
If you’re a runner or cyclist, any form of intense cardio, you have a particularly high chance of developing this painful condition.
Managing Nighttime Hip Pain
So now you know many common causes of hip pain. So what do you do about your hip pain? And how about hip pain when sleeping on either side? Knowing what causes it doesn’t stop it from hurting you while you’re trying so hard to sleep.
Well, fortunately, there are things you can do to ease the pain and make laying down a little bit easier.
And it doesn’t all involve just lying on your back or stomach or buying a new mattress.
Simply put; you need sleep. Sleep helps your body to heal and stay healthy, as well as lower your sensitivity to pain in general. If you have a problem that’s hampering your ability to sleep, then that’s a major concern that needs immediate dealing with.
Starting by changing your sleep position is a great start, as well as one of the more basic tips. Start by adjusting to your back whenever you’re consciously aware of switching to your side.
If you’re having trouble staying on your back, then stick a pillow between your knees or sleep with one leg propped up on a pillow beside you. Not only does this keep you stationary on your back, it also provides much needed hip support while you’re sleeping.
This benefits your pain and keeps you comfortable while you’re adjusting to a sleep style your body isn’t used to. You may need to look into purchasing support pillows specially designed for knee usage, even foam wedge pillows.
You can also look into getting a new, better mattress in the medium section on the spectrum of softness.
These conform to your body shape a little better and make sleeping much more comfortable and tolerable for hip pain sufferers. You also have the option of over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, usually called NSAIDs.
These, combined with hot and cold compress treatments can make a huge difference in the pain levels you might be experiencing late at night.
If you try using an ice pack or heat pad right before bed, you’ll help reduce the swelling which alleviates the stiffness and swelling.
Diversify Your Activities
It’s also a good idea to adjust your lifestyle alongside any medical aids you might be using to ease your pain. You might have a highly active or inactive lifestyle. It might be time to evaluate how you spend your life and daily hours and adjust it accordingly.
If you’re extremely active, try to dial back just how active you are and pace yourself to give your body a break and some time to rest.
If you find that you’re not active enough, then set aside a little time a few days a week to get out and get your body moving however you can, whatever feels right. Starting your day with a few simple stretches is also an excellent habit to form.
This not only helps to increase flexibility, but it also strengthens the muscles and tendons in and around the hip areas. This will help to protect your hips during activity and act as a preventative protection during cool-down and warm-up for any physical activity.
If you’re having an especially difficult time, we also recommend physical therapy for your hips.
If your hips are particularly weak or even off-balance, a physical therapist can examine them and help to identify any areas of special weakness and delicacy that you might need to focus on.
They can then come up with a personalized treatment plan to target these areas of weakness especially. They’ll teach you how to better care for your hips, as well as how to stretch properly and maintain long term hip health in the future. It’s more of a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix and your hips have to last you.
Prospects of Your Hip Pain And Sleep Habits
If you have any of the mentioned conditions that are so bad that they interrupt your sleep, then it’s a good bet you’re in need of some form of help. Hip problems are a very common ailment these days, which makes them fairly easy to treat and deal with before they get worse.
What’s most important to focus on is to make sure that you address pain the instant you recognize it as a problem.
Pain that interrupts your daily life, your routines, your movement, that persists and doesn’t seem to want to give you a break is pain that you’ll want to discuss with your doctor.
They may prescribe any sort of treatment to help ease the pain; steroid injections, cortisone injections, draining bursae fluid, replacement of the joint, surgery, and more.
What we’re personally hoping for is for better sleep for you without any hip pain.
Anything helps, such as regulating a steady bedtime, avoiding caffeine right before going to sleep, and making sure to get sufficient outside time every single day will all help to regulate your sleep schedule, making it easier to fall asleep even despite the lingering pain.
You can even spray lavender around your pillows to relax your brain and alert it that it’s time to bed down for the evening.
Combine gentle stretches on your hips with a steady nighttime routine and you might notice a dramatic difference in how you feel when your body finally hits the mattress.