Sunday, 19 December 2010

Hip Pain at Night? The Problems of Pain and Lack of Sleep

imageBy Paul J Watts

Hip pain at any time is hard to handle, but hip pain at night when you should be relaxing and getting a good night's sleep, even mild pain can seem to be intensified to an unmanageable degree. This is especially true when pain disturbs your sleep, either because you cannot get comfortable enough to relax and fall asleep or because the stress of on-going pain affects your mood and your ability to "switch off". Aching joints are one of the most common causes of sleep problems. Hip and leg pain at night is made worse by the pressure placed on the hip and knee joints as you lie in bed. Moving in bed demands that these joints be twisted and if flexibility or movement in the afflicted joints is limited then turning can be a real problem.

Lack of sleep leads to increased pain. We all need sleep in order to heal and conserve strength; not sleeping for any reason makes pain during the day worse but furthermore, lack of sleep makes pain management a much more difficult process. The stress, anxiety and frustration caused by insomnia, as well as the loss of concentration and general poor health that can result, can be as big a problem as the pain itself. If poor sleep patterns become a habit, your sleep can suffer long after the pain is gone. For this reason, sleep is an important part of your management of pain.

Uncovered: 5 easy ways to Sleep Despite the Pain

1. Choose a good firm mattress, with advice from a bed specialist if possible. Too soft and the joints are poorly supported, too hard and the joints cannot relax.

2. Keep to your normal sleep schedule, go to bed at the normal time and if after lying awake for 20 minutes you still cannot sleep, get up and do something gentle and not over stimulating until you feel tired again. This is healthier than lying awake becoming frustrated.

3. Help your body relax more easily at night by doing gentle exercise that does not aggravate the pain throughout the day. Often the cause of sleeplessness through pain is due to a lack of physical exertion throughout the day so keep as busy as your condition allows.

4. If you find that your pain wakes you throughout the night, this is likely to be when you move, turn over or twist in your sleep. Pain when turning in bed can be alleviated by lying on a shiny or slightly slippery surface. This could be a sheet made of satin or a nylon sleeping bag, whatever helps you to turn more easily with less resistance despite stiff joints. This is especially useful when suffering from pregnant hip pain.

5. Manage medication and therapies carefully to make sure that you are less likely to suffer at night; take pain medications before bedtime when suitable and do not overdo things after having alternative therapies or using complimentary medicine - remember that your body needs time to process therapy and time to wind down after receiving it before sleep.

Pain does not have to mean sleeplessness; with careful management you can maintain a sleep pattern that allows your body to heal itself and your mind to deal with what is important.

Find more information on hip-pain problems and pain relief exercises and tips go to our blog at

Paul Watts

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