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Why Do My Knees Hurt At Night In Bed

Look Into Nerve Blocks

Have Knee Pain At Night While Sleeping? Try This!

A nerve block is a specific type of knee joint injection that prevents nerves from delivering pain signals to the brain.

After a knee replacement, the most common kind of nerve block for knee pain is a saphenous nerve block. For patients who cannot have knee replacement surgery or who are experiencing chronic knee pain at night from other causes, genicular nerve blocks are another option.

Lack Of Sleep Makes Pain Worse

It can be easy to get stuck in a cycle where you cant sleep because of knee pain. That lack of sleep can actually make your pain worse. Sleep is vital for healing and rejuvenation. Without sleep, you have less energy to expend on healing as you need to focus your bodily processes on staying alert and awake.If nighttime knee pain causes you to toss and turn, you may end up accidentally further straining your knee by sleeping in an uncomfortable position.

How To Treat It

Treating this knee pain is all about pain management and what you can do to reduce the stress on those joints. Losing weight is a helpful start. Besides being a key to overall good health, cutting excess pounds lessens the everyday stress on those knee joints and ligaments.

But there are plenty of other ways, too.

Exercise smart

A lot of joint stress is caused by high-impact exercising, especially running on pavement. But there are ways to exercise that can keep you healthy and keep that load off your knee joints. Low-impact exercises like swimming, bicycling and elliptical are good because they exercise the knee joints but dont pound them, says Dr. Stearns.

Knee braces can also be a tool, he adds. There are special braces that work to keep pressure off of certain parts of the knee unloader braces that can sometimes help alleviate arthritis pain.


If youre considering over-the-counter painkillers to help ease the hurt, Dr. Stearns says its best to take naproxen or ibuprofen because they have anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease the swelling thats causing your knee pain.

Acetaminophen medications, like Tylenol, dont work as well because they mask the pain but do nothing about the source of the pain, he says.

He also recommends taking the dose after dinner as that allows you to have the maximum dose before you head to bed.

Cold versus heat

How to sleep comfortably

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How To Feel Better

No matter what the research says, if your knees hurt more when itâs cool outside, the pain you feel is real. Try these steps to cope:

  • Wear warm clothes, including hats, scarves, and gloves, when youâre outside. Tights, leggings, and wraps can add extra warmth in your knee area.
  • Use moist heat to boost circulation and loosen muscles. A warm bath could do the trick.
  • Don’t stop moving, even if you donât want to work out outside. Exercise makes your bones and the muscles around your knees stronger, taking pressure off the joint. Try yoga, which has the added benefit of boosting flexibility. Or swim in a heated pool to ease stiffness.
  • Donât push your body too hard when doing everyday tasks. Let someone else lift those heavy boxes.
  • Take good care of yourself by eating nutritious food and staying at a healthy weight. Extra pounds add pressure on your joints.
  • Get enough sleep. Too little shut-eye can make your pain worse.
  • Stay positive. Do things that make you happy and shift your attention away from the pain.
  • Talk to your doctor about medication or other treatment options if these steps don’t help.

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What Can You Do To Deal With The Pain In Leg At Night

Why Do I Have Knee Pain at Night?  Health Essentials from ...

There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to relieve pain in leg at night:

  • Firstly, if you are a smoker, try to quit, as smoking can exacerbate atherosclerosis.
  • Regular exercise improves the circulation and lowers blood pressure, and the muscles will feel more relaxed at night following exertion during the day.
  • A healthy diet, full of fruit and vegetables, whole-grain cereals, and protein, with limited saturated fat and sugar, will help you to control your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as promoting weight loss.
  • Losing weight can reduce your blood pressure and cut your chances of developing diabetes, one of the major causes of leg pain.
  • Finally, try to reduce your stress levels, to make yourself feel relaxed and get a better nights sleep.

When to See a Doctor

If you experience any of the following symptoms with pain in left leg at night, you should see a doctor immediately, as you may require urgent medical attention:

  • Inability to walk or bear weight on the affected leg.
  • Signs of inflammation in the calf: swelling, redness, pain, or warmth.
  • Deep cuts in the leg, with exposed bone or tendon.
  • A popping or grinding sound when the leg was injured.

If you see these symptoms, you should aim to visit your doctor as soon as you can, as they could indicate a serious underlying medical condition:

You may also need to see a doctor if you have:

  • Worsening pain.
  • Symptoms that dont get better following a few days of treatment at home.
  • Pain during or after walks.

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Other Possible Causes Of Severe Knee Pain

In addition to the conditions listed above, severe knee pain can be related to an infectioneither an infection in the knee joint or a systemic infection, such as the flu, that causes an auto-immune reaction that leads to knee pain. Knee pain related to infection is discussed on the next page.

Other possible causes of severe knee pain in the absence of trauma include soft tissue injuries that can develop over time, such as severe tendinopathy and IT band syndrome. In these cases, knee pain often develops gradually, and knee pain is less likely to be accompanied by localized redness, swelling, and warmth.

Other Injuries And Conditions

Because the knee is the largest joint in your body, it is prone to injury and strain. If you fall or bump your knee, you may experience pain from bruising. If youve fractured any of the three bones in your knee, you may experience weakness, sharp pain, or deep throbbing sensations.

Rheumatoid arthritis can present similar symptoms to osteoarthritis, but this autoimmune condition may require different treatments than joint damage caused by the wear-and-tear typical of aging.

If you are experiencing knee pain that interrupts your daily life and persists after several days of rest, consider consulting with a healthcare provider.

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What Causes Knee Pain In Young Adults

Knee pain in your 20s is often associated with overuse injuries. When the muscles, ligaments or tendons are overworked, pain, stiffness and other symptoms can develop pretty quickly. Tendonitis and bursitis are a couple of overuse injuries that are most commonly associated with strenuous activity. But they can also occur in relatively inactive people who ramp up their activity too quickly. Still, while these types of injuries are fairly common in young adults, theyre not the only causes of knee pain.

Sleeping On Your Back Can Cause Knee Pain

Why Do People Have Knee Pain at Night? | Obi O. Adigweme, M.D.

Unfortunately, back sleeping can also lead to knee pain. The reason that back sleeping can often cause knee pain is because when you sleep facing up, your knees are often forced to overextend or lock up. When your knees are overextended, they become strained almost immediately. If your knee joint are in this position throughout the night, it is highly likely you will experience knee pain in the morning.

As a chiropractor, I never recommend back sleeping, and I have even created a guide for people who want to switch from back sleeping to side sleeping. However, if you are going to sleep on your side and want to avoid knee pain, there is a simple trick that you can use. Similar to when you side sleep, place a pillow just below your knees. This prevents the joint from entering extension, which prevents tension and stress building up in your knee through the night.

Furthermore, placing a pillow below your knees relaxes the hip muscles and allows your back to relax. Similar to how the pillow prevents the extension of your knee joints the pillow relaxes your hips and takes your low back out of extension.

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Why Is Bursitis So Painful At Night

Because were paying more attention to our symptoms. Our senses arent distracted as usual.

The lack of movement also plays a role, as it reduces the blood flow in our joints. This can make them feel stiffer than usual.

Our worrying thoughts about our symptoms can also increase our perception of pain.

Practice Better Sleep Hygiene

Tossing and turning at night when unable to sleep may cause a person to notice and fixate on their pain. Good sleep hygiene may help a person fall asleep faster and remain asleep longer. People can try the following:

  • going to bed at the same time each night and establishing a bedtime ritual, such as taking a bath, meditating, or doing another calming activity
  • avoiding daytime naps
  • exercising during the day to ease arthritis symptoms and support better health, but avoiding exercise for 4 hours before bed
  • avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, especially in the afternoon and evening
  • refraining from drinking alcohol or only drinking it in moderation
  • developing strategies for managing daytime stress to prevent negative thoughts from keeping a person awake or triggering joint pain
  • eating a balanced meal a few hours before bed and trying a light snack just before bed if nighttime hunger is a problem
  • using the bed only for sleeping and sex and not for watching television or doing work
  • keeping the bedroom cool and dark, potentially by using blackout curtains
  • investing in a comfortable, supportive mattress and quality pillows
  • trying different pillow positioning, such as putting a pillow between the knees or under the hips, to ease joint pain

While they are working on improving their sleep hygiene, a person may find it helpful to get back up if they cannot fall asleep. Doing this helps the association between bed and sleep remain strong.

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What Does Bursitis In The Knee Feel Like

Like a sharp pain on the inflamed bursa. Youll probably have a swollen lump in the area. If the bursa is infected, it may be warm and tender to the touch as well.

The pain usually increases with movement, like walking or climbing stairs. The swelling may restrict the range of motion of the affected joint.

Notice That Your Joint Pain Is Worse At Night Heres Why

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Many arthritis sufferers find that their symptoms are worse at night. It could be that levels of the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol are naturally lower at night plus, staying still in one position might cause joints to become stiff. Less distractions in the evening could also turn your attention inward on your joint pain, making your symptoms seem worse.Avoid falling into the cycle of poor quality of sleep > workday fatigue > increased levels of pain.Continue reading for 6 self-care tips to help!

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Develop An Arthritis Pain Management Strategy

A person can work with a doctor to develop a plan for managing arthritis pain.

Where possible, it is important to avoid going to bed in pain. A doctor can recommend an appropriate pain relief medication to prevent pain before bedtime. They might suggest:

  • nighttime release arthritis drugs
  • drugs that work for 24 hours
  • an evening dose of pain medication

Identifying and managing arthritis triggers can also be helpful. A person can try keeping a pain and sleep log to determine and address any patterns that seem to worsen sleep or pain.

Try A New Sleep Position

The goal is to find a position that lets you have quality sleep.

People with knee pain may find that these positions help ease pain:

  • Sleeping on your side, with a pillow between your knees.
  • Sleeping on your back, with a pillow under your knees.

They help reduce joint stress which may provide pain relief.

That said, avoid positions that put pressure on the bursa. They can make your knee pain worse.

On the other hand, some people have tried these positions and havent felt much relief. For them, another option is buying a knee pillow. If thats you, talk to your doctor about which design will be best for your needs.

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Leg Pain At Night While Sleeping

Falling asleep when your legs hurt can be difficult. Both dull and sharp pains can keep your eyes open until the wee hours of the morning or wake your from even the deepest slumber! Try different positions in bed, taking some melatonin, using a body pillow to avoid pain or even try a recliner!

Some people have reported that a pillow between the legs is a great cure for nighttime knee pain!

The source of most nighttime leg pain is cramping. If your legs are cramping at night try improving your diet, stretching, drinking more water or taking potassium supplements.

If pain in your legs at night is too extreme for you to walk it might be time to visit the emergency room. If you start to lose feeling in your lower body visit the emergency room right away.

Muscle Cramps Are A Common Cause For Leg Pain At Night


If you ever had muscle cramps at night you know how painful that can be. Cramps occur at night during deep sleep. Cramps have many reasons. Here are a few:

  • Tight muscles Some people just have tight hamstrings or calf muscles. This may sound too simple, but daily stretching exercises can really help those people avoid leg pain from tight muscles.
  • Dehydration Another common reason is dehydration. Many people do not like to drink towards the end of the day to avoid getting up to the bathroom at night. Dehydrated muscles may cramp up.
  • Electrolyte imbalance Sometimes the issue is not lack of water, but lack of electrolytes like magnesium. Making sure your diet has the recommended amounts of electrolytes can help you avoid nighttime cramps.
  • Some medications can cause muscle cramps. The most common example are statins. Statins and leg pain is a real problem. Another example are steroids.
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    Why Does My Pain Seem To Get Worse At Night

    The answer is probably due to a few different reasons. The levels of your natural anti-inflammatory hormone, cortisol, are naturally lower at night. Staying still in the same position will also cause your knee joints to stiffen up. Another reason could be related to how your brain perceives pain and this may change in the small hours.

    Your perception of pain is more pronounced at night or to put it another way your pain thresholds are lower at night. Your other senses are distracting you during the day when there is more noise and more going on around you, these distractions are no longer there at night.

    In other words, youll notice your pain more at night, so it bothers you more.

    How Are Growing Pains Diagnosed

    There is no medical test for growing pains. Doctors diagnose them based on a childs symptoms. Its likely growing pains if a child:

    • is healthy and has leg pain at night that gets better with massage, heat, and over-the-counter pain medicine
    • is active and has no pain during the day
    • has a normal physical exam

    If symptoms do not fit this pattern, the doctor may order blood tests and X-rays to look for another cause.

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    More Ways To Manage Nighttime Knee Pain

    Aside from purchasing a new mattress, you can take other practical steps to reduce knee pain and help you get better sleep. However, keep in mind that every body and injury is different, and you should talk to your doctor before implementing any health-related changes.

    • Try Heat or Cold Therapy Depending on your symptoms, either an ice or heat pack on the knee can provide some relief. If your joints are inflamed, use cold therapy on the affected joint to bring down the swelling. On the other hand, if you struggle with stiffness, use heat therapy to loosen up the muscles and joints.
    • Do Some Stretches or Light Exercise If possible, try to perform some light exercise. Stretching can help to loosen and strengthen the muscles, preventing further injury.
    • Rethink Your Sleeping Position How you sleep is a matter of preference, but if you suspect that your sleeping position is worsening your knee pain, you may want to train yourself to sleep differently.

    How To Prevent Bursitis In The Knee Joints

    Pin on Leg pillow for back pain under knees better sleep ...

    To keep your small fluid-filled sac healthy, avoid kneeling for long periods of time. Frequent pressure on the bursa is the most common cause of bursitis.

    Here are a few other tips to help prevent bursitis:

    • Avoid repetitive activities. Or, try to do them differently to reduce the friction on the bursa.
    • Do some exercise. This will keep your joints healthy and may prevent a knee replacement.
    • If your BMI is above > 25, a 10% decrease in weight can reduce knee pain and improve overall health.

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