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

By Anonymous
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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?

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EmpowHER Guest

I had this!

Go get a massage and have them work on your glutes, your iliac crest and your IT band.

Best money I ever spent, fixed me right up.

I don't know what triggered me to tighten all up, but that fixed it.

(I'd googled for answers, wish someone had recommended it, coming back to posts now to share since it worked for me)

Whenever you walk, make sure (a) lift yourself / your stomach up so you're not sagging into your hips, and (b) consciously 'engage' your butt muscles to participate.

September 13, 2015 - 12:17am
EmpowHER Guest

Could it be that your bed in your new house is positioned exactly level, whereas it wasn't in your old house? Maybe there's also been a change in your personal situation? I get the pain you describe whenever I sleep on a surface that isn't level, for instance on the couch, or when I sleep beside a person that's heavier than me, causing the matress to slope slightly in his direction. I think that in my sleep, I sort of strain against gravity, causing a cramp-like ache in the hips, which wakes me up eventually. Changing position helps, but inevitably, the pain will return after half an hour or so. I never get it when I sleep alone in a good bed. I've never read about this, but some of my friends have the same trouble, and when I asked if it could be the sloping mattress, they said yes, that must be it! Personally, I'm convinced that this is it, and while I can't always avoid it, I'm happy it's nothing I can't control... Hope this is of help for you!

August 19, 2015 - 12:16am
EmpowHER Guest

These symptoms are quite common if you have a potassium deficiency. I have experienced this myself. Make sure you are getting enough potassium, calcium +D3, and magnesium. Deficiencies in these often result from a poor diet or even a restrictive weight loss regimen. This pain happens for me when I am significantly reducing my calories during a fast, but it's totally correctable. Good luck!

August 11, 2015 - 2:38pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have had a bone density test which showed a little arthritis in my hip. The pain only occurs in the very middle of my right hip (I sleep on my right side) and comes in the middle of the night. Every night I have to sleep with a pillow between my legs and need to have a thin flat pillow under my hip. As long as the pillow stays under my hip during the night I am completely pain-free.

June 27, 2015 - 11:42am
EmpowHER Guest

I was just like the first person who responded. I had groin pain that was so bad it was hard to move. It took 2 years and 2 unnecessary surgeries to realize it was a labral tear. I had a tear in both my hips however I also had a dull however painfull pain on the outside of my hip as well. There is a band that connects the side of your pelvic and goes down the outside of your leg and connects to the outside of your knee. This is called for short the. I.T. band . It can get very tight and is hard to stretch. I almost 100% sure that is your problem search on the internet how to stretch I.T. band and it will not help over night however continue to do the stretches and the pain should go away. Also when doing the stretches you know when your doing them correctly when your side has that slight good pain type of feeling were it is soar but u don't want to stop because it also feels good at the same time. My I.T. band was so tight for me when I had my hip surgery they had to put small cuts in the band to lengthen it. So take care of your hips and good luck.

April 13, 2015 - 9:48pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had mysterious groin pain for a long time and then at night just like u I would wake up to the outside of my hip hurting. For me it was a liberal tear in my hip joint I needed surgery. However the outer part of the pain is something different. I don't know the technical name but any doctor will know if you tell them your i.t. band is over tight. It's a ligament that starts at the hip around the side of your butt then runs down the side all the way to your knee. Because of my tear that band was working to hard. U need to look up stretches for it they are easy to do and they feel really good when done right. At the start it might be painful but that's just showing how tight that band is. It feels a lot better after you stretch it for 3 days the pain will stop when stretching and it will start to feel good. Make sure u do both sides if u only do one the other will start to get tight on you as well. Hope this helps sleep well

March 27, 2015 - 12:03am
EmpowHER Guest

I am due for a hip replacement and the pain at night is severe. I was waking up after unintentionally lying on my back with my knees up but rotating out (like having legs spread when birthing but with my feet together). I woke up always in severe pain, whimpering and walking around until I could sleep again, I also had cramps. A few weeks ago I wondered how I could keep my knees together and so I made a figure 8 with a pair of panty hose just above my knees. My goodness what a differnece!!! Now I can sleep soundly all night, moving into any position and my knees never spreading apart too far! I tried the pillow between the knees, the lying on my back etc but I would always move positions and end up in the painful one. Now I am free to move about in the night with my figure 8 stocking stopping me from getting into any positions that hurt. Of course it's not too tight and I just slide it up to my hips if I need to get out of bed to the loo.

March 7, 2015 - 1:10am
EmpowHER Guest

I had the same problem in my left hip for a number of years and saw a wide range of health practitioners. The solution for me has turned out to be very simple: sleep on my stomach. This allows me to keep the leg extended. Maybe it won't work for others, but it's easy to try it. Back when I used to get the pain during the night, a solution was to get up and walk around for a while. Then I realised I could achieve relief by lying on my stomach (thereby mildly stretching out the psoas). I change position inevitably during the night but by favouring an on-stomach position I no longer experience night pain in the hip.

February 20, 2015 - 12:34pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have been having these same aches for the past few months and also in the past and until now I have never understood why I have these episodes. Having just read this article: http://www.calmmindpainfreebody.com/painfreebody/hipflexorstrategies/hip... I think I can finally make sense of it!
I do a lot of regular exercise and having recently given up running I have started rebounding (mini trampoline). My new regime does not include many stretches afterwards, only may a few obvious ones but I can see now how much I am using the hip flexor muscles and how little attention I have been paying to stretching them out. This would also have been true in the past when I used to use a cross-trainer machine every day. I am also guilty of sleeping with my legs drawn up which also contributes to shortened hip flexors. I am now going to include plenty of hip flexor release stretches following my workouts and perhaps before bed each day in the hope that they help to ease this miserable discomfort. Hope some of you find relief in doing the same.

January 17, 2015 - 4:10pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I have had the same hip pain for many years, but 99% of the time it was only when I slept that I experienced the pain. it was so intense that it would wake me up. then today I found this.
it first started in my 30.s only happening rarely, then later in life more frequent.

January 28, 2015 - 2:38am
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