Coach Todd

Coach Todd

Injury prevention expert and joint rejuvenation specialist.

Why Do My Joints Hurt Worse at Night & How To End It

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Despite what those sleepless nights would lead you to believe, there is a way to end the painsomia that arrives with the nightly joint pain.

Sometimes it wakes us up at night… sometimes it keeps us from even falling asleep…

The constant aching, throbbing, and more only seem to appear when we crave a peaceful night’s rest. Unfortunately, battling chronic joint pain at night is common among many adults. But why? 

Pain is a signal that something is not right with the body. It could be a pulled ligament or tendon in your knee from stepping out of your car.

Or a “tweak” in your neck from grabbing something down from the high cupboard. Or poor form in your golf swing that injured your hip. And with these pain signals, the body reacts with inflammation… or swelling of the injured area.

Now, during the day, you are moving. This steady contraction and relaxation of the muscles help pump blood and nutrients in and out of the joints, flushing the swelling out. But when you sleep, the flow stops.

Instead, your body sends fluid to the area in need. The swelling pools while you sleep, creating excess pressure and pushes against nerves which can cause excruciating pain at night (even when you don’t have pain during the day). 

2 Powerful Techniques To Help You End Nightly Joint Pain

The following techniques, when done consistently, have been helpful in reducing joint pain in the hip, knee, and shoulders. And while each individual is different, and may require additional assistance, the following is a great place to start when experiencing night pain.

End Nightly Joint Pain Technique #1: Do Corrective Exercises During The Day

Why Do My Joints Hurt Worse at Night & How To End It | Feel Good Life with Coach Todd

Just because you aren’t experiencing pain during the day, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work toward correcting things while you are awake.

If you notice constant shoulder pain at night, try these simple corrective exercises. If hip pain at night is driving you to insomniac madness, give these exercises a go. As well, knee pain at night can easily be address with these daily corrective exercises.

End Nightly Joint Pain Technique #2: Do Gentle Bed Isometric Exercises While You Drift Off To Sleep

Don’t worry, no one’s suggesting you work up a sweat before falling asleep!

However, these gentle exercises can help alleviate and swelling in the joints that can keep you from falling asleep altogether.

Isometric exercises are one of the most powerful strategies to eliminate joint pain. And better yet, they are so simple and gentle, you can even do them while you are in bed. You really don’t need to exert much force for them to be effective… simply contract the muscle just enough to squeeze excess fluid out. 

4 Exercises to do Before Falling Asleep to Solve Joint Pain

Exercise #1: Fetal Pillow Squeezes for Knees

Lay on your side with one pillow under your head and another between your knees.

Why Do My Joints Hurt Worse at Night & How To End It | Feel Good Life with Coach ToddGently squeeze your knees against the pillow for 3 seconds. Then relax for 3 seconds.

Repeat 3 times before rolling to the other side.

Exercise #2: Face Up Pillow Presses for Knees

Lay on your back with one pillow under your head and another between your knees.

Why Do My Joints Hurt Worse at Night & How To End It | Feel Good Life with Coach Todd

Gently squeeze your knees against the pillow for 3 seconds. Then relax for 3 seconds.

Repeat 3 times.

Exercise #3: Face Up Tummy Presses for Shoulders

For nighttime shoulder pain, lay on your back with one pillow under your head and another between your knees.

Why Do My Joints Hurt Worse at Night & How To End It | Feel Good Life with Coach Todd

Place your hands on your tummy and gently press into your tummy for 3 seconds then relax for 3 seconds. You should feel some tensing in the front of your shoulders — the internal rotators.

Repeat 3 times.

Exercise #4: Fetal Bed Presses for Shoulders

Lay on your side with one pillow under your head and another between your knees.

Why Do My Joints Hurt Worse at Night & How To End It | Feel Good Life with Coach Todd

Gently press the back of your bottom hand into the bed. Hold for 3 seconds, then relax for 3 seconds. You should feel some tensing in the back of your shoulders — the external rotators.

Repeat 3 times before rolling to the other side. 

Now, you may be asking, “what happens when joint pain wakes me up at night?” And it’s very possible that this may happen. If it does, try stepping out of bed, taking a short walk around to increase your blood flow to reduce pain, then slip back into bed and begin the Bed Isometric Exercises.

Over time, after doing your corrective exercises during the day and bed isometric exercises at night, you should see improvement and eventually begin to sleep through the night. 

3 Bonus Tips To Help You Avoid Joint Pain at Night 

While the above strategies are excellent for combating nightly joint pain, reducing pain is only half the battle.

The victory comes by keeping that pain away and here are a few bonus strategies to do just that! 

Bonus Tip #1: Maintain Good Sleep Posture

Certain positions we sleep in can not only cause excess swelling in particular joints but cut-off circulation as well. Instead of risking joint health with a less-than-ideal position, try falling asleep in one of these two options: 

Why Do My Joints Hurt Worse at Night & How To End It | Feel Good Life with Coach ToddFace Up with Pillow Below your Knees 

Why Do My Joints Hurt Worse at Night & How To End It | Feel Good Life with Coach Todd

Fetal with Pillow Between Knees 

Bonus Tip #2: Decrease Sugar Intake Before Bed

Several studies have linked sugar to inflammation throughout the body… keeping you up with swollen joints and nightly pain.

Opting for anti-inflammatory foods such as green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, or certain teas before bedtime can help reduce any potential swelling that might occur. 

Bonus Tip #3: Use Hot & Cold Therapy

This strategy helps to flush the swelling away from the joint and may be a great option to include in tandem with the isometric exercises provided above.

Bring a hot pack (hot water bottle, rice bag, etc) and an ice pack into bed with you. Place your cold pack on your painful joint for 2-3 minutes. Then alternate to the hot pack for 2-3 minutes.

As always, it’s important to consult with your healthcare professional to ensure there are no underlying conditions to your joint pain. If your joint pain persists after you’ve implemented these techniques, contact your doctor. 

More to Explore