More than 15 million American adults suffer from hip pain, and while it might not be quite as common as knee pain, it can be just as disruptive and debilitating for those who suffer from it. Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for relieving chronic pain and dealing with its symptoms. But sadly, hip pain prevents many people from getting quality sleep, making their symptoms feel even more intense.
At his Houston, Texas, practice, Joshua Harris, MD, helps patients manage hip pain symptoms from arthritis and other problems with medical treatment and lifestyle guidance. That includes helpful tips on how to avoid hip pain when sleeping.
Why hips hurt
As large, ball-and-socket joints, your hips get a workout every day. We use our hips for walking, climbing stairs, bending, and even sitting and standing still. Lots of issues can cause hip pain, too, including:
- Gluteal tendonitis and tears
- hamstring problems
- Hip impingement
- Labral tears
- Hip dysplasia
- Hip flexor strain
Fortunately, most hip pain is treatable without surgery, using options like medications, physical therapy, education and activity modification, joint injections, and other conservative approaches.
Many people find their hip pain improves significantly when these methods are combined with some lifestyle changes, especially when those changes are directed at healthy behaviors. Some lifestyle changes that may help with hip pain include:
- Losing extra weight
- Being more physically active
- Getting stronger hips, pelvis, spine, and core
- Quitting smoking
- Activity modification - Do NOT push through pain - “No pain, no gain” does NOT apply
- Avoiding stretching that causes pain, including “a good kind of pain”
- Getting plenty of rest
Of course, that last tip — getting plenty of rest — can be tough when hip pain interferes. But there are ways to “fix” that problem, too.
Hip pain and sleeping
Most of us sleep on our sides, at least for part of the night. Not surprisingly, the pressure on a sore hip joint can quickly worsen symptoms.
You might think the answer is to try to sleep on your other side (assuming that the opposite hip doesn’t hurt, too). But guess what? Switching sides often doesn’t relieve the pain, even though you’re not putting pressure on the affected hip. That’s because sleeping on the unaffected side allows the painful hip to shift forward (thanks to gravity), putting additional strain on the joint.
A better option: Place a pillow between your knees. The pillow stabilizes your hips, keeping them in a more naturally aligned position that relieves joint strain. Sleep on your back? A pillow under your knees reduces lower back strain, which can also increase hip discomfort.
Other helpful tips include:
- Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine in the evening
- Using ice and/or heat therapy
- Investing in a mattress that provides better support
Physical therapy, joint injections, and other medical treatments can also help relieve hip pain while you’re sleeping — and while you’re awake, too.
Don't let hip pain keep you up at night
Getting a good night’s sleep is vital for relieving chronic hip pain, and it’s vital to your health in other ways, too. Not getting enough sleep has been linked with a host of health problems, including:
- Heart disease and heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems
Treating your hip pain can help you sleep better, feel better, and reduce your risks of these and other health issues.
To learn how Dr. Joshua Harris can help relieve your hip pain, call 713-441-8393 or book an appointment online today.