Causes of Hip Pain at Night & How to Get Relief

Who doesn’t love a good night’s sleep? It doesn’t matter whether you’ve had a busy day or a relaxing day. Getting a full night of restful sleep is really important for maintaining a good mood, staying focused at work or school, and just being healthy.

Sleep is when your body regenerates itself, and when we miss even a little sleep, it can quickly cause problems with our emotional and physical well-being. Unfortunately, nighttime hip pain can throw a crimp into your sleeping routine. If you’re dealing with bedtime pain in or around your hips, here’s what you should know.

How Common is Hip Pain at Night?

How to Treat Hip Pain at NightYou might think hip pain is a lot more common during the day. After all, that’s when your hips get the most movement. But the fact is, hip pain at night only is pretty common too. To some degree, whether you have hip pain at night depends on what’s causing your pain to begin with. Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of hip pain and stiffness, and unfortunately, those symptoms can follow you around all day and all night. Muscle strains and hip bursitis — inflammation of tiny fluid sacs in the joint — are other typical causes of hip pain.

Those sorts of pain tend to be more common during the day when you’re bearing weight on your hips or using them for movement. Outer hip pain tends to be related to muscles, tendons and ligaments. Like arthritis, these symptoms are nearly as likely to occur at night as during the day. The important thing to remember is that no matter what’s causing your hip pain and when it occurs, it needs to be evaluated. Having your hip pain properly diagnosed is the first step toward getting relief. Plus, early evaluation and treatment can prevent underlying problems from getting worse.

How Can I Relieve my Nighttime Hip Pain?

Some types of hip pain at night can benefit from a little gentle exercise and stretching during the day. Does your job require a lot of sitting or standing? If so, you might be more prone to pain in your lower back and hips. The same is true if you’re really physically active, and using your legs and hips to exercise often. If you are normally sedentary and begin to exercise frequently, this can be a cause of sudden hip pain. We recommend gradually easing into an exercise program, allowing your hips and joint to follow suit. Gentle stretching loosens stiff muscles and improves circulation in the area so you’re more comfortable while you sleep.

If nighttime hip pain is common, consider taking a pain reliever before bed. A warm bath or shower or a deep massage are other options worth considering, especially if your pain is related to muscles and other soft tissues. You might benefit from a heating pad or an ice pack, depending on the underlying cause of your pain.

For some types of chronic pain, Dr. Van Thiel might recommend physical therapy. Hip joint injections are another option, especially if pain relievers and therapy aren’t working.

Hip pain is often related to lower back pain. If you’re a back-sleeper, try putting a pillow under your knees to slightly bend them. Often, that’s all it takes to adjust the lower-back strain that causes bedtime hip pain. Adding a mattress topper or springing for an entirely new mattress might also help.

Why do my Hips Hurt When Sleeping on my Side?

Most people sleep on their sides and if you have hip pain, it can really make it hard to snuggle in and get some restful Zs. Sleeping on your side can cause hip pain in a couple of ways. The first reason is obvious: When you sleep on your side, you put a lot of direct pressure on the hip joint. Often, that’s enough to cause hip pain, even if you don’t have really noticeable symptoms during the day. But you can also have pain in the opposite hip — the one you’re not lying on. That type of pain occurs when the opposite hip drifts forward, pulling on the joint and straining it.

You can try relieving pain by sleeping on your back. But for most people, changing sleeping positions is no easy task. Another solution is to use a hip pillow for side sleepers. Typically, the pillow is placed between the legs to keep hips in a more normal position while lying down. If it’s the “bottom” hip that’s hurting, try putting the pillow behind your back and leaning back slightly against it to relieve that direct pressure on the joint.

Real Hip Pain Relief Needs a Custom Solution.

Hip pain is no fun, no matter what time of day it occurs. The first step toward feeling better is having your pain evaluated. A well-recognized orthopedic surgeon in Rockford, Elgin, and throughout Chicagoland, Dr. Van Thiel uses state-of-the-art approaches to diagnose the cause of hip pain, so every patient can get the best care and the fastest relief. To find out what’s causing your nighttime hip pain, schedule an office visit today.

Want more tips for improving your overall hip pain? Get tips delivered straight to your inbox every month from industry-leading orthopedic surgeon Dr. Van Thiel.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

  • image1
  • image2
Patient Stories

Life changing patient stories

Read about Jack a multi-sport athlete, who suffered from a multi-ligament tear in his knee. Read about Abigail who fell and tore her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). Life changing stories of patients healed by Dr. Geoffrey Van Thiel.

All Stories