As a large weight-bearing joint, the hip is subjected to plenty of stress and strain throughout the day. It’s no surprise, then, that hip pain is a big problem for millions of women and men, especially older people and those who lead active lifestyles.
At Orange Orthopaedic Associates, we offer patient-centered therapies for hip pain aimed at relieving symptoms and preventing them in the future. In this post, James M. Lee Jr., MD, explains why hip pain is often worse in the morning and what you can do to feel better.
Understanding overnight hip pain
How you wake up plays a big role in how you feel for the rest of the day. If you wake up in pain, especially in the middle of the night, it takes a toll on you physically and emotionally, especially if the pain makes it hard to sleep.
Understanding the cause of waking hip pain is the key to finding relief. Here are several possible causes to consider.
Hip arthritis is the result of damage to the joint surfaces that leads to inflammation and pain. Sleeping on your side or in other positions that puts pressure or strain on your hips can make arthritis symptoms worse.
Bursae are tiny sacs of fluid that help your joints glide smoothly. When these sacs become inflamed, it’s a painful condition known as bursitis. And like arthritis, it can be a common source of chronic hip pain that could wake you up at night.
Sciatica develops when the long sciatic nerve becomes compressed, irritated, and inflamed. The sciatic nerve exits the spinal column in your lower back before traveling down each leg. Without prompt treatment, sciatica can lead to hip pain in the morning and while you’re trying to sleep, too.
Repetitive lifting, bending, and other activities using your hips can cause excessive muscle strain, along with strain on your tendons and ligaments. Even if you don’t feel significant pain the day of your activity, you can definitely feel soreness overnight or in the morning.
Poor posture or sedentary lifestyle
Poor posture when sitting or standing puts uneven strain on your hips, and that can lead to hip pain that wakes you up. Spending a lot of time sitting or otherwise leading an inactive lifestyle can cause hip stiffness and soreness, too.
Poor sleep position
Sleep position can put uneven strain on your hip joints. That’s especially true of people who sleep on their side or on their back.
Lack of movement
Joints benefit from regular movement, but during sleep, most people stay pretty still. By the time you awaken, you can be left with stiffness and soreness in your hips.
A mattress that’s too soft or too hard can lead to pain, too. That’s because a poor mattress doesn’t support your hip joints, leading to excess strain and hip pain.
Waking up without hip pain
Taking a few steps to manage hip pain might be all you need to sleep through the night and wake up pain-free.
Grab some pillows
You use a pillow to support your head — why not your hips? For back sleepers, placing a pillow under your lower back provides extra support for your hips. For side sleepers, put the pillow between your knees.
Do some stretches
Stretching relieves muscle tension and strain while improving circulation. Do a few gentle stretches before bed to prime your hips before sleep. Just avoid strenuous exercises that could exacerbate pain.
Use heat and ice
Hot and cold therapy relaxes sore muscles, relieves inflammation, and promotes circulation in your hips. Apply heat or ice for about 20 minutes at a time for best results.
Get regular exercise
Make aerobic exercise part of your daily routine. Walking, swimming, or biking strengthens hips and relieves inflammation. But don’t overdo it — the focus should be on improving flexibility and circulation.
Replace your mattress
A new mattress that provides proper support can help relieve hip pain and other aches, too. If you can’t afford a new mattress, try adding a topper.
Schedule a hip exam
Before trying any of these tips, see us for a hip pain evaluation. What works to relieve some types of hip pain can wind up making other types of hip pain feel worse.
At Orange Orthopaedic Associates, we perform a physical exam and diagnostic imaging, along with other lab work, to pinpoint the cause of your pain and tailor your therapy.
Manage your hip symptoms
Don’t let hip pain wake you up on the wrong side of the bed. To learn what’s causing your painful symptoms and how we can help, book an appointment online or over the phone today at our office in West Orange or Bayonne, New Jersey.