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How to Relieve Hip Pain from Sleeping On Side

Experiencing hip pain?

Hip pain is one of the largest joints in our body. It is a ‘ball and socket joint’ that works to provide a wide range of movement while providing stability for your hip and legs. The hip joint provides important support in daily activities such as walking, running, jumping, and even just sleeping! The hip is one of the major stabling regions for your entire body and works to help balance your center of gravity to help keep your body balanced.

If you experience hip pain from sleeping and you start limping due to the pain of the hip, other areas of the body may start to experience pain as well. If you experience any hip pain and sore hips from sleeping on the side, it can make the hip pain much worse and therefore affect your everyday life activities such as sleeping, driving, hiking, or even going to the shops. There can be many causes of hip pain.


Mattress and sleeping position

In understanding how to relieve hip pain from sleeping on the side, a mattress that is too hard or too soft can be one of your causes for hip pain. The lack of support or increased pressure at the hip can develop pressure points around the hip and if unmanaged bring on soreness and aching sensations around the hip. Moreover, sore hips can develop from sleeping on your side. Sleeping on the side can increase tension and pressure around muscle and joints at the hip causing further pain if you have a pre-existing musculoskeletal condition. The increased pressure of both an uncomfortable mattress and a non-optimal sleeping position can lead to hip pain from sleeping through the night and at worse wake you up from sleep due to the pain.

Physiological Causes of Hip Pain

Here are some other physiological causes of sore hips from sleeping on the side:


Bursitis occurs when there is inflammation around your hip joints. It can cause intense sharp pain along with constant bruising aching sensations when mobilising the hip. For many people, the pain will increase quite significantly when sleeping causing sore hips from sleeping on the side. Any form of pressure or firmness on bursitis will cause increased pains and discomfort and thus finding the correct sleeping position and hip support for sleep will be very important.


If you have osteoarthritis, you may experience difficulties in moving the hip freely. You may also experience a constant dull aching sensation which increases when you put pressure on the hip while in a hip-flexed position. You may even experience increased pains around the groin region and possibly some grinding and clicking sensations at the hip joint. Pain from osteoarthritis may increase after prolonged rest and can be exacerbated when placed in pressured positions such as sleeping on a hard mattress while sleeping on the side.


Tendons are what attach muscles to bones. They are essential to allow for muscle movements to occur relative to your skeletal structure. Tendonitis is when the tendons of your muscles become inflamed. When that occurs, it can cause dull aching pain around your groin and buttock region, along with constant dull aching sensations when prolonged pressure is placed on top of it. Pain can be quite intense, especially when waking up from sleep.


How to relieve hip pain from sleeping on side

There are some immediate methods that can help to reduce the hip pain you experience from sleeping on your side. First, is to try a different sleeping position. If you find yourself sleeping on your sides, it can increase pressure around the joints, muscles, and tendons which can create increased aching sensations throughout the night and into the mornings. Sleeping on your back alone and placing pillows under your knees can help to align your spine and reduce the pressure that is placed on the hip. Providing cushioning for the hips as well on either side will help to maintain hip stability throughout the night which can also help to decrease the chances of pressure soreness.


How does physiotherapy help relieve my hip pain?

It is important to understand how to relieve hip pain from sleeping on the side. People with hip pain who decide to just “let it rest” will usually experience discomfort in their hips for an extended period of time. Depending on the cause of the hip pain, if left alone the hip pain can exacerbate into something more serious which can lead to chronic related pain. Moreover, persistent pain could cause more issues with everyday activities like walking, hiking, and exercising in general.

Physiotherapists will be able to help identify whether your joints, muscles, or nerves are affecting your hip pain. Whether it’s osteoarthritis, tendinopathy, joint dysfunction, or hip bursitis, physios can assess and determine the primary contributing factor in why you are experiencing your hip pain from sleeping but also why they have been persisting as well. Hip pain can originate from many different sources which is why it is important to assess every structure in your body to develop an individualised program for your journey to decreasing your pain. Depending on the severity and complication of the hip pain, sessions can be managed from one session with education and exercises all the way to a couple weeks/months with specific programming and manual therapy.

Treatment methods may include:

  • Joint mobilisation
  • Muscular release techniques
  • Core stability strengthening
  • Exercise program development
  • Acupuncture/ dry needling

Working with a physio to find the root cause of the back will help to improve pain symptoms during sleep, but also help to prevent pain from coming back again. Medicare can help to cover your treatment sessions, so if you have any further questions, please contact our clinic to find out more details.

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