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Hip pain at night

Find out more about the causes and treatment options for hip pain

The majority of cases of hip pain at night occur as a result of lying directly on the painful soft tissue structures to the side or back of the hip.

Alternatively, when lying on the other side, these same soft tissue structures may be placed in a stretched position, causing hip pain when lying down. In more severe cases of hip osteoarthritis, or in the rare case of inflammatory joint disease affecting the hip, the night pain may be due to the build-up of inflammation within the joint.

When there is significant pain at night, it may feel like the hip is always painful, no matter the position. However, some adaptations may alleviate the symptoms. If you prefer a side lying position, a cushion or pillow can be placed between the knees to prevent any stretching of the soft tissue structures.

A specialist memory foam mattress topper may also help matters if the pain arises when lying on the painful side. If possible, it may be advisable to sleep on your back. In which case, a pillow or blanket under the knees can also place the hip joints in a more neutral position, thereby relieving pain.

In rare circumstances, hip pain through the night or hip pain when sleeping may be a sign of an underlying medical problem. As such, if individuals suffer significant hip pain at night and/ or have any more systemic symptoms such as fever, sweats or widespread pain, it is advised that they seek an urgent assessment.

If currently under treatment from a doctor or physiotherapist, it is advisable to let them know these symptoms at the earliest opportunity.

Being able to relieve nighttime hip pain could mean you’re able to get a deeper, more refreshing sleep. Experiencing hip pain when sleeping on either side can negatively impact your life. Whether your pain is being caused by a hip injury such as a hip fracture, hip bursitis, hip impingement or osteoarthritis in the joint, there are a few things you can try that may help relieve your symptoms:

  • Pain relief medication(analgesia) Over-the-counter medication like paracetamol or ibuprofen may help to take the edge off your pain as you go to bed. There are certain tablets that are a bit more effective at helping with sleep as well as pain, will be able to advise you on these where appropriate.
  • Exercise and stretching: Gentle, appropriate exercise and stretching may help to relax the hip and ease your pain. A physiotherapist will be able to show you specific exercises, stretches and movements that would be best for you.
  • Do whatever is comfortable: You know your body better than anybody, and you’ll know which positions are best for you. You won’t be damaging the joint any further by lying on one side in particular, for example.

Hip joint pain can make it hard to find a comfortable sleeping position. If you lie on the affected side, it may be too painful, but other positions you try may also be uncomfortable.

If you have particularly severe hip pain, caused by advanced arthritis for example, it can affect your ability to relax and fall asleep. Instead, you may find yourself fidgeting around and trying to find a position that’s comfortable. As well as the physical pain, many people find lying in bed at night is when they worry most about things:

  • What's causing my hip pain?
  • Why is hip pain worse at night
  • Will I lose my independence?
  • Will I need an operation?

In certain conditions, like advanced osteoarthritis, aching hip pain may be bad enough that it wakes you from sleep. While you may be able to cope with interrupted sleep once in a while, long-term sleep deprivation can have a big impact on your mental health, your ability to concentrate, your general physical health and even your relationships.

Whether your hip pain is affecting your ability to sleep or the quality of your sleep, it’s important to see a doctor for proper assessment. It’s easy to book an appointment with an experienced hip Consultant at one of our local hospitals, at a time that's convenient for you.

Unfortunately, pain from your hip joint can affect different parts of your body. It might cause you to experience pain in your groin area, down the front of your thigh and in some cases, the pain could affect the whole of your leg. We look at how hip pain during the night can disrupt your sleep and productivity during the day. We explain how specialists at our hospitals can help diagnose and relieve your hip pain.

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