Back Sleepers with Stiff Hips and Pain in the Morning: Find Relief with These Simple Tips

If you're a back sleeper who experiences stiffness and pain in your hips every morning, you may wonder if you can do anything to feel better in and out of bed. Some people experience problems with their hip flexor muscles when they use poor posture in bed, as this causes the tissues to become tight and tense. Even if you sleep on your back, you can still experience problems if you don't keep your body properly aligned at night. Find relief from your pain and stiffness with the tips below.

Change the Way You Lie on Your Back at Night

Hip flexor muscles are very important tissues that allow you to lift your legs when you stand, sit, or lie down. The tissues connect your thighs to your pelvis and lower back. Although sitting for prolonged periods of time can shorten and tighten your flexor muscles, so can sleeping with your neck, spine, and hips out of alignment. Changing how you sleep on your back may make a difference in how you feel in the morning. 

Here's what you do:

  1. Position your head pillow so that it lies between your shoulders and neck. The pillow supports your upper spine by allowing it to remain in its naturally curved position.
  2. Place a flat pillow or folded bath towel in the area just below your shoulder blades and the top of your buttocks. This step helps align your lower body with your upper body.
  3. Place a pillow or two under your knees to remove stress from your hips. 
  4. Position your arms by your sides during the night to relax your shoulders and neck. 

You may need to change, reposition, or adjust the pillows until you find the right relief for your hips. The tips above can help you sleep better during the night.

Helping out your hip flexors continues even when you aren't sleeping. After you get up in the morning, you can start your day off right by stretching your hip flexors.

Stretch Your Hip Flexors in the Morning

Stretching may help improve the health and performance of your hip flexors. There are simple exercises you can do every morning, including the exercise below:

  1. Stand next to your bed.
  2. Place your feet hips width apart with the toes turned slightly out to the sides. 
  3. Tighten your abdominal muscles and allow your shoulders to relax. 
  4. Lift your left leg 1 inch from the floor, then point and flex your toes for 30 seconds. 
  5. Lower your leg, then repeat step four with your right leg.

If your hip pain becomes worse while doing the exercise above, stop and contact a doctor or physical therapist for care. You may need additional care to ease your symptoms.

If you still have stiffness and pain in your hips after following both of the tips above for a week, contact a physical therapist, such as one at Annapolis Family Physical Therapy, for help.