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

By Anonymous April 28, 2009 - 1:11pm
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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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Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Anon - Thanks for writing in and providing information on the videos about Piriformis Syndrome. A good friend of mine has this, and it has been difficult for her to find information about treatment. This will be helpful for her, and many others. Pat

February 15, 2010 - 8:13am
EmpowHER Guest

I suggest that you explore PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME. It's named after a muscle that runs through the core of the buttocks alongside the sciatic nerve, and, for some people the nerve is buried right in the center of the muscle. When the piriformis contracts and stiffens from long sitting or having your body misaligned, you will have that vague hip pain that you are describing that sometimes get worse at night. You will find demonstrations of a whole series of helpful exercises that may bring relief on www.YouTube.com by entering the search terms "piriformis + syndrome." For starters, I've found the best one is "Revenge of the Piriformis" posted by "DrGeorgeBest" that gives a simple test for telling the difference between that and sciatica and gives a simple stretch movement to repeat several times a day.

February 15, 2010 - 7:49am
EmpowHER Guest


I have a similar pain in both hips and pelvic region. I have had this pain on and off for several years but never really sought any medical opinions on this. I find its worse when i have spent my day walking (this can cause me to become extremely stiff in my hips and i get a lot of pain by the end of the day). I work in an office and therefore spend most of my time seated (with an ergo chair, and footstool as I am only 5ft 1) but i do stretch out occasionally and try to walk up and down the office as much as possible. i find the cold makes my ache much worse, and heatpads make the ache much better. it does keep me awake, but ibprofren often helps me to get to sleep when the ache is particularly bad. my mattress is new, with memory foam top and i often sleep with pillows between my knees to keep my hips level as i find this helps.

A few of the comments have intrigued me, drinking water for water - i have some kidney and UTI issues, and am often told i do not drink enough water - so I will definitely try to up this. The flat foot issue is also of interest as i am fairly flat footed and suffer with plantas fascilitis (inflammation of the tendons in the bottom of your foot) so perhaps i walk strangely and this has resulted in the ache. I find that when i sleep on my back my hips naturally turn outwards so my feet meet at the heels as opposed to pointing straight up - has anyone else find this?

I am going to definitely try to do more stretching and perhaps get some inserts for my shoes to see if these options help.

Thanks for the advice everyone!

February 15, 2010 - 5:28am
EmpowHER Guest

Whether they are in your area or not, try the folks at OHSU. They have tons of knowledge about treating this type of pain - http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/health-information/topic-by-id.cfm?ContentTypeId=85&ContentId=P01371. You can also shoot them an email asking specific questions about hip pain http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/ortho/about-us/contact-us/ask-a-nurse.cfm

February 10, 2010 - 12:27pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger (reply to Anonymous)

Anon - I'm very familiar with OHSU for their ground-breaking work in cancer. Are you a patient there, or on the staff there? Why have you recommended them? Please let us know.

February 10, 2010 - 5:21pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have a bad pain in my hip sometimes in the night. I went out and bought a memory foam topper and for years it went away! I think my topper has worn thin or something, because the pain is starting to come back. But it has worked for about 3 yrs so I'm buying a new one. Anything for a good sleep and no drugs.

February 5, 2010 - 10:09pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Anon1 and Anon2 - Have you read the information on sciatica or osteoarthrisis to see if the symptoms are similar to yours? If not, please see the links below and then let us know what you think.
Take care, Pat



January 28, 2010 - 5:16pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have the same thing happening, but only on one side. What is it!

January 28, 2010 - 4:57am
EmpowHER Guest

did you ever find out what this was? i have the same exact thing.

January 27, 2010 - 7:01am
EmpowHER Guest

try sleeping on your back. with bursitis pain should go away by exersizing your leg for a few minutes

January 25, 2010 - 11:13pm
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