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ask: Hip pain in middle of the night; dull ache that wakes me up. What could it be?

By Anonymous

I am in my mid-30s, and have recently been having pain in my hips in the middle of the night. It reminds me of the RLS (restless leg syndrome) commercials, although I do not have any of these symptoms (no needle-sensation, no crawling-sensation). It is a dull ache, and I try to move my hips and legs around to get rid of the pain (it feels like it is deep inside, not a muscle or bone), but moving it seems to irritate it a little more. It is actually not on my hip bone, but closer to the middle of my "gluteus maximus" on each side. It's been happening the past few weeks, always around 2am or 3am and wakes me up.

I've been taking some ibuprofen, and eventually falling back asleep, but would rather not have to keep taking medication.

When I was pregnant with my child 3 years ago, I had a real problem with my sciatic (spelling?) nerve in my hips. Feels similar, but not the same.

Any suggestions?

Add a Comment152 Comments

EmpowHER Guest


I just found you website when googling hip ahce!

You really should update your comments on hip aches.

You need to mention

dysplasia (a shallow socket)
Labral tears

In a recent survey, we found that in 100 consecutive patients who were seen in our young adult hip clinic, that the average age was 28, but the average onset of symptoms was 19.5 yrs. Patints had been seen by 2.3 surgeons to be told that there was nothing wrong with their hips.

We made an accurate diagnosis of important hip pathology in 97% on the first day.

Nearly all of them went on to need operations.

Our website, and many others will help put you right!
Best wiahes
John O'Hara

April 23, 2014 - 3:29am

If I sleep too long in the same position, I wake up in horrible, horrific hip joint pain. (It has happened to me with my arm/shoulder when I sleep too long with my arm over my head. But it is far more prevalent with my right hip.) I've had an x-ray done in the past but no issues. After researching and talking to my doctor, I believe it's just what I said: sleeping too long in 1 position + age + all the activity I have done over my lifetime that my body is now "complaining" about. LOL. So far I've found no magical fix for it, other than moving around and stretching my hip joint as much as I can stand. Good luck, ladies!

March 16, 2014 - 8:40am
EmpowHER Guest

age 50, both at night and when walking for any length of time hips ache. also knees seem stiff. occasional lower back pain and sleep starts. insomnia and nocturia. main bread winner and work varies between sitting, standig bending, squatting and pushing /pulling large items. lack of sleep leaves me tired and am afraid of causing a car accident while driving. no other exercisr though seem to work harder at home than work currently clearing two rooms of hoarded junk some of which is awkward in shape or heavy.vegetarian so fish oil/green lipped mussel out and eat nuts 4days a week so doubt lack magnesium.stiffness and deep aches not sharp pain.also sleep starts can be quite violent spasms of head/neck shakes. any ideas? sunny.

November 17, 2013 - 10:19pm

Thanks for all the comments...they are helpful. I am 71 and just recently started waking around 4:00 am with hip and leg pain. I have osteoarthritis in my hands which has worsened lately. Two Ibuprofen help within half an hour, but I'm worried about taking too much. Wonder why the hip pain only shows up at night. During the day I have what I think may be sacroiliac pain on my left side...not nerve pain like sciatica but constant dull ache that worsens the longer I'm on my feet.
Again, thanks for the info.

November 4, 2013 - 9:03pm
EmpowHER Guest

The hip information and comments sound very much like my issues. So far I do not have a diagnosis.

September 22, 2013 - 12:05am
EmpowHER Guest

Hello.I'm 43 and have had severe hip pain going on 8 years now. I've seen every kind of Dr. you can think of. Neuro, ortho, gyno, GP, Psych, PT, and no one can come up with an answer. My pain started like yours, a dull ache that was manageable with Motrin. But over the years it has become so severe I'm incapacatated (sp) till the pain meds kick in. 26 minutes it takes. Yea, when your in that much pain all you can do is stare at the clock and pray. My Gyno wants to put me on Lupron depot for 'possible' Endo, but I've done tons of research on it , and even for the people who claim it has helped them, they admit the side effects are a total nightmare. The stuff is poison. A last resort option for people with cysts or fibroids on organs, where no other option is available, or women who are in danger of losing their reproductive system and still want children. I can understand their decision to use this drug, but I'm not in either catagory, I havent even been diagnosed. Its just a 'lets see if this helps' . No way. I'm sorry, didnt mean to turn this into a rant. But is anyone else suffering from bilateral deep muscurlar pain that no one can find a reason for? I have been searching the internet for years. Come up with the same things. I've even had Dr's tell me, "sometimes we just don't know what causes things" Well thanks. Like most of you, it hits me early in the morn, around 4, probably 15 out of 30 days of the month, starts in my hips, and on really bad days radiates down my legs. Baths, heating pads, ice, nothing works. I've always slept with a pillow between my legs, so thats not it. I'm at the end of my rope. Muscle relaxers help some but give up after a couple hours, and I've been on hydrocodone for awhile. Usually one when the pain hits will suffice. Very seldom do I need to take another that day. But you cant live in pain and on pain meds forever. Any advive? Oh, The pain started out of nowhere, just one day, I had some mild pain deep in my hip area, and as time went by it got worse and worse, it seems to have reached its peak, which is good because I don't see how it could get worse (knock on wood) . Thanks for listening. tmb

August 25, 2013 - 11:10am
EmpowHER Guest

I am 19 and have the same issues. Since I was 14 I complained of "growing pains" and turns out I have endometriosis that has adhered to my hip. Not to scare you just another option to check up on. Also... your body knows when something is wrong. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise

February 2, 2013 - 12:26am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Was there any treatment for your endo? I have it but think its gotten worse. Pain in hips and legs every night and starting to have it during day.

June 9, 2013 - 9:08pm
EmpowHER Guest

64 yo female. Hip pain at night only. I finally determined it was cramps in my psoas and illiacus muscles. (I've had occasional problems with foot cramps at night for years.) I studied stretches for these muscles on youtube, adopted an exercise regime, and am immensely better after three months. Problems correlate to walking vigorously uphill or sitting for a few hours in a strange chair during the day, so I am especially vigilant in doing stretches after such an activity. If I wake up hurting, I get up, do stretches, take an aspirin, and am usually fine.

January 24, 2013 - 12:41pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am a 52 year old female, maybe 10 to 15 pounds over ideal weight, not as active as I should be, but I do stand on my feet for 8-9 hours a day, continuous, at work. I also was having deep, dull, hip pain that was not alliviated by pain medicine, and would transfer from one hip to the other when I turned over in bed. I read many of the pages of comments here and so many of them were similar to my own experience. My pain was usually between 2 and 6pm; I am usually getting up at 5 or 6pm. I first experienced the pain last spring and thought it was arthritis, I have arthritis in other areas but the pain from those areas is usually worse in cold or rainy weather. It was spring and getting warm so I couldn't understand it. We went on vacation the first of August and I hadn't had the pain since then until night before last. Some of the posts here were from people who were runners. To make a long story shorter, I narrowed my activity down to a walk on the tredmill. That day was the first time I had been on the tredmill since before our vacation. Day before last and last spring I had been walking on the tredmill about 30 minutes, 20 of it with the incline graduated all the way up, for 4-5 days a week. So to test the theory I did not walk on the tredmill yesterday and NO pain last night. I am going to test the theory further and see if I can walk level without pain. I am not sure what this means as far as the root cause of the pain, sciatica? But, now I know the cause and can stop the pain. I do not have medical insurance so multiple visits to the doctor are out of the question and honestly don't appear to have helped many here. Thanks to everyone who posted here. This is a very helpful site!

September 19, 2012 - 3:55am
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