You’re a little more groggy these days thanks to hip pain that’s keeping you from getting the sleep you need. Hip pain at night isn’t uncommon and can stem from several different issues.
To help you take the first steps toward figuring out what’s causing your nighttime hip pain, the team here at Western Orthopaedics, namely our in-house hip specialist, Dr. Brian White, focuses on the potential culprits here.
Inside your hip joints you have small fluid-filled sacs called bursae sacs that prevent friction between the bones. One is located toward the outside of each of your hips, on the bony point called your greater trochanter. When these bursae sacs are inflamed, they can cause a good deal of pain when you sleep, especially if you sleep on the affected side.
Called trochanteric bursitis, this condition is estimated to affect about 15% of women and 8% of men in the United States.
While nighttime hip pain is one of the hallmarks of hip bursitis, there are other telltale signs, such as pain after a long walk or after sitting for long periods. The hip pain generally doesn’t strike when you’re just standing.
One in four adults in the US has arthritis, and the hips are some of the more common joints to be affected. If you have arthritis in your hips, the pain and inflammation can flare at night when your hips are still.
While it may seem counterintuitive, moving arthritic joints (within reason) is a great way to reduce pain and inflammation. When arthritic joints are at a standstill, such as when you sleep, the inflammation can flare up and cause pain.
If you have damage in the tendon that connects your glutes to your hip bone, which is called gluteal tendinopathy, you can experience hip pain at night. One of the reasons why conditions like this can cause more pain at night is because your senses aren’t as distracted as they are during the day and you may feel your pain more.
Strained hip flexor muscle
Your hips feature large muscles called hip flexors. If you overuse or strain one of these muscles, you can experience hip pain at night for the same reason we describe above under gluteal tendinopathy (lack of distraction at night).
Hip pain when there’s no damage
If you’re experiencing hip pain at night, and only at night, this may indicate a problem with your mattress or your sleep position. If we find no issues in your hips, you may want to experiment with a new mattress and/or sleep on your side with a pillow wedged between your legs to keep your hips better aligned.
Getting some much-needed rest
The best way to get a good night’s rest when you have hip pain is to see Dr. White for a full evaluation. Through advanced imaging and a review of your symptoms, he can identify whether there’s a condition in your hip that’s causing you to lose sleep.
To get on the road to a better night’s sleep when you’re experiencing hip pain, please contact one of our offices in Arvada or Denver, Colorado, to schedule an appointment with Dr. White.