8 Causes of Hip Pain at Night Lying on Side

Are you experiencing hip pain at night lying on side? Then read this article, as a self-help guide.

Hip pain at night while lying on the side is that which wakes us up during our peaceful sleep. This can also make it impossible to fall asleep. There are many causes for hip pain, and thankfully, there are many treatments to cure it as well. Let us now check some of them here.

What is Hip Pain?

The hip is generally on each side of the pelvis, just below the abdomen and above the thighs. The pain that starts up in this particular region is referred to as hip pain.

Hip pain is most commonly caused in the nighttime when you sleep out of consciousness and continue to stay unmoved. In that position, your muscles and the hip joints result in sudden swelling, which gradually causes pain in that region.

Click here to learn about hip pain while lying on your side.

8 Causes of Hip Pain at Night Lying on the Side

1. Bursitis

One of the causes of hip pain1 at night lying on the side is Bursitis. Bursae are some sacs that are around the hip region, which are filled with some fluid. These sacs act as cushions and reduce friction at the hip level.

Bursitis is caused when the bursae or the fluid-filled sacs are inflamed. Hip bursitis, known as Trochanteric bursitis, causes upper or high thigh pain and pain in the hip’s outer part. This pain turns intense at night.

2. Tendinopathy

Tendons that are present in the hip attach the gluteal muscles to the hip and pelvis. This helps support the pelvis and stabilizes proper hip mobility while walking and doing our daily tasks.

Due to the compression and workload, these tendons in the hip may become inflamed, which can cause a lot of pain at night. And this is another cause of hip pain at night lying on the side.

3. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is generally a joint disease. The joint is where two bones get together, and the ends are covered with cartilage tissue. When we are affected with hip Osteoarthritis2(OA), the protective tissue cartilage gets worn out.

Because of this, the bones rub each other, causing intense pain, inflammation, and swelling. Hip Osteoarthritis is usually an age-related issue that occurs in older people.

4. Sleeping Position

When you are sleeping and your hip hurts, you have two factors to blame, your mattress and sleeping position. A mattress that is too hard can trigger your pressure points, so you should be mindful when choosing the right mattress.3

And then comes your sleeping position. Some people sleep on their bellies, a few sleep on their backs, and some sleep on either side. So, if there is some issue while sleeping, ensure you sleep on the side where you are not hurt.

Best Sleeping Position - Ask Doctor Jo

And also, try putting a pillow between your legs that can set the right alignment of your hip. Doing this may reduce hip pain at night lying on the side.

5. Overdoing Exercise

We all tend to exercise to keep ourselves fit and away from health issues. But overdoing anything is harmful, just the way exercising is. The continuous movement of the hip joints or the joints to and fro doesn’t let them rest and causes back pain and swelling.

6. Age

Age is the most common reason behind hip pain. As discussed earlier, in the above pointers, Osteoarthritis and hip bursitis4 are age-prone diseases. They most commonly occur in older age-grouped people.

During the period of menopause and after the menopause stage, women tend to experience aching hip pain at night.

7. Obesity

People with higher weight scores have to put a lot of effort into the hip joints to get in with their daily chores, and since they have to put a lot of effort, they find some swelling and pain in their hip regions.

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Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash

8. Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a stage of experiencing hip pain and pressure on the spine. During this period, try doing some gentle exercise that relaxes muscles. Practice being in the most pain-reducing position. You can use a pregnancy pillow while sleeping.

Since there is too much pressure on the hip and spine in this period, you should opt for pain management options to reduce severe pain. Wear supportive shoes, reduce stress, use knee pillows, take a warm bath, and have a relaxation routine to reduce hip pain at night lying on the side.

6 Prevention Methods for Hip Pain at Night Lying on Side

1. Sleeping Hygiene

Good sleep hygiene is one of the factors that decide your day. You can know the difference between a day with proper, restful sleep and a day lacking it. And hip pain tends to wake us up and does not let us fall asleep. Lack of sleep is the cause of one and many issues. One such problem is hip pain at night, and you can follow some tips to bring out a better self.

  • Follow a particular time for sleeping and waking up as well daily.
  • Do not have alcohol before going to bed.
  • Say no to sleeping pills.
  • Give yourself some rest instead of spending much time near the computer or television screens.
  • Change your sleeping position as per your comfort. Sleep on your back as the pressure gets evenly distributed.
  • Put a pillow between your legs, so your hip, pelvis, and spine are properly aligned.
  • Use a soft and comfortable mattress.

Following sleeping hygiene and a few things mentioned above can relieve your hip pain to an extent.

2. Exercise

Exercise, when done extensively, paves the way to new issues. But proper exercise can get you out of some other problems as well. Some particular exercises should be practised to get rid of hip pain. Stretch your body; forward and backward hip stretches help your body gain flexibility and prevent hip pain.

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Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

While performing an exercise, make sure you concentrate on the hip, thighs, pelvis, and gluteal muscles. This can release the blocked muscles and tight muscles and free your body. Wear some comfortable garments and sports shoes that can make the process comfortable.

By performing exercises related to these parts, the muscles get strengthened. Do not begin your exercise directly. Initiate with a warm-up, which makes all your parts alert and can take the pressure accordingly. At the same time, it gradually ends your exercise without any direct cut-off.

3. Ice the Affected Portion

One of the preventive methods for hip pain at night is lying on your side is icing the affected area. Identify the affected area(hip region), then rest yourself for a moment and start icing the area for about 15 minutes. Icing the pain-causing place can reduce the burning sensation.

This helps in breaking down the sore hip’s intense pain and bringing you out of inflammation. This physical therapy can address hip pain, trigger pressure points, and give you immediate relief.

4. Take Medications

Try some physical exercises and icing, follow proper sleeping techniques, and then, if your sharp pain still finds no way home, you can take some inflammatory medications. Do not use the medicines in the long run. Just use them for a short while, and if you find no difference in the situation, you can go ahead and consult an expert.

Hip joint arthritis medicines are advisable. But using it in heavy doses or for a long while can cause side effects and a few other issues.

For the medicine to show its effect, the body needs to be stable and restful, so taking medication before bed is advisable. And this also gives you better sleep.

You can consider using Non-steroidal anti-inflammation drugs to control pain and inflammation. Some medicines like ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin do a great job of preventing hip pain.

5. Massage the Pain-Causing Area

Do not panic when you get too much pain. First, try all the organic methods. Practice massaging gently on the pain-causing area. Then rest for just a few hours and then massage for a little more time. Practicing this method can bring down hip pain at night lying on side.

If the pain does not reduce, then try some medicines and in the very final stage, meet a doctor and take the necessary treatment.

6. Consult an Expert

Do not leave the pain untreated when it is a deep ache and beyond bearable. If you experience pain even after taking the medications, practising regular exercises, icing, and other methods, you should consult an expert or a physical therapist.

If you were to take Hip injections, develop knowledge about the doses. You even have a few other alternatives. Radiofrequency ablation is one method where nerves are interrupted, transferring painful signals.

Another alternative called TENS unit technology, is used, where an electrode with pads is put on the skin over the nerves. An electric current is produced to reverse the disturbing signs of pain. Ingestion like corticosteroid gives you temporary relief.

Apart from the occasional hip ache, if you regularly experience hip pain, make sure you consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Key Takeaways

This article was completely focused on the causes of hip pain at night which occurs when you lie on your side. The causes of hip pain are required to be known and understood so that adequate treatment can be followed. Thus, we also shared some preventive measures on how you can lower your hip pain.5

Hope this article helped you!

Check this out for related information.


1. Can arthritis lead to hip pain at night?

Ans. Yes, arthritis is one of the underlying causes of distinct hip pain when one lies to their side at night.

2. How can I get relief from hip pain in a faster way?

Ans. Cold compression will definitely help you soothe your hip pain. Just hold the ice pack for 15-20 minutes every day on the affected area, you will feel your hop pain subsiding.

3. Will walking help me to get rid of my hip pain?

Ans. One of the effective ways to get rid of hip pain is to practice moderate walking every day. But see that you do not overdo and stress your muscles further.

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  1. Bedi, Asheesh, et al. “Static and dynamic mechanical causes of hip pain.” Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic & Related Surgery 27.2 (2011): 235-251. ↩︎
  2. Aresti, Nick, et al. “Hip osteoarthritis.” BMj 354 (2016). ↩︎
  3. Krystal, Andrew D., et al. Choosing a Mattress: Using Actigraphy and Diary Reports to Identify a Mattress That Provides Best Sleep. RTI Press, 2011. ↩︎
  4. Aaron, Daniel L., et al. “Four common types of bursitis: diagnosis and management.” JAAOS-Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 19.6 (2011): 359-367. ↩︎
  5. De Oliveira, Beatriz IR, et al. “‘My hip is damaged’: a qualitative investigation of people seeking care for persistent hip pain.” British journal of sports medicine 54.14 (2020): 858-865. ↩︎

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