I have RA and a herniated disc in my spine. When I lie in one position for a while, I wake with pain in my hip, thigh and knee. I sleep on my side and the pain always occurs in the leg on the OPPOSITE side I'm lying on. If I turn over onto the "painful leg" side, the pain will lessen, but it returns in the opposite leg. Why is this happening?
When you have problems in your joints or your spine, it often manifests in the legs, particularly when lying in the same position for a long time. Lying on your side can also put strain on your hip as gravity pulls down the top leg, similar to crossing your legs when you’re sitting. This pulls on the hip joint, tendons, and can put the knee in an awkward position. The subsequent strain can cause pain.
You may want to try supporting your legs with pillows or place a pillow between your knees when you're lying on your side. This prevents the moving down towards the mattress and can give your joints to support they need.
If you're lying on your back, putting a very flat pillow or a folded towel under your knee can ease the pain. However, be careful of using this too much. Having your knee slightly bent over night can in the long term lead to contractors, that is the knee joint not being able to stretch flat.
Taking a painkiller or perhaps a muscle relaxants just before you go to sleep may also help you get a better sleep. If you don’t already have a prescription, talk to your doctor about medication that can help manage your pain. As well, you may want to look into finding a good mattress. Memory foam mattresses and mattress pads can especially help protect and support your body while you are in bed, doing wonders for your quality of sleep. Please be aware that some memory foam is derived from latex. If you have a latex allergy, make sure you get one that is latex-free.
I’d recommend that you speak to your doctor about this problem. They may want to do some tests, such as x-rays, and may have some tips for managing your pain at night. You may also want to ask for a referral to a physical therapist. In addition to being able to give you some exercises that may help your joints, a physical therapist will be able to give you tips on how to support your body when you sleep.
I've experienced leg pain (mainly in the knee) throughout childhood, my adolescent years, my twenties and now that I'm 27 i STILL wake up at 4am with pain in my knee and hip joints. For years I was told it was "growing pains", which is understandable as i'm 6' tall (and have been since i was 14). Then i finally went to a specialist who recommended I have two, corrective knee surgeries (A-Scope, Lateral Pull) to sate the issue. Though it isn't nearly as severe, I still have pain - particularly at night after sleeping for about 5 hours. I've been tested for RA which was negative (though i suppose it could have been a false negative). Anyway, I tried placing a small pillow underneath my knees and it has helped the pain subside after about 30-45 minutes. Do you know if there are any natural supplements that would help reduce/eliminate night pain? I'd like to try to do everything I can before going the practitioner route. Hate to waste their already crowded time with silly leg pain!
if you are in pain, there's nothing silly about it. If you still have this kind of pain and you've lived with it for this long, something is clearly not quite right and you need to find out what it is. Keep in mind that doctors get paid to see you, so you're not wasting their time, you're paying for a service - whether you're paying directly, paying through insurance or paying through government funding through your taxes, every time you see a doctor, they get money.
In terms of testing negative for RA... if your diagnosis was made through blood tests, be aware that approximately 20 percent of people who have RA are what is called seronegative, which means it doesn't show up in the blood test. Some doctors are not aware of this. Have you seen a rheumatologist or were you tested through your GP? If it is the latter, ask for a referral to a rheumatologist to get checked out.
The unfortunate reality is that we have to be good advocates for ourselves and that means keep being in your doctor's. face - politely, of course, but insistent - ask for tests and referrals until you find out why you are in chronic pain with no actual diagnosis. pain is a sign that there is something wrong and your doctor needs to take that seriously.
Please let us know how things go?
I have been diagnosed with RA and endure a lot of joint pain. I have been told I need a hip replacement but I am trying to hold off until I have no choice. When I started having this thigh pain every night, I asked the doctor for help and he said it was coming from my back as deferred pain. I asked how he knew this without testing. He pointed out early in my treatment he evaluated my many of my joints in the lower torso and found my damaged hip and noted that I had lost three inches in height, which indicated Stenosis of the vertibra. He has been trying to adjust my methotrexate to see if it helps. So far there is no improvement but I find sleeping in a recliner helps.
sweetie... if you have to sleep in a recliner, have a lot of pain and have lost 3in in height, it may be an indication that you're at the point where a hip replacement makes sense. What you describe is not normal by an stretch of the imagination and seriously affects your quality of life. I'd recommend that you start looking into the surgery. A hip replacement could make a huge difference, enabling you to start living your life again.
I've had a similar problem and am trying to take a conservative route first. I cover my lower back and hip/leg with peppermint oil before going to bed and also if I need to get up with pain (also helps with migraines). Health food stores have it.
This helps the pain fairly quickly. I went back to a chiropractor that understands arthritis. He works on my lower back - acupressure techniques - and my situation is way better. I hope to only need the mint oil for migraines after my next treatment.
I think I could have avoided this episode if I'd stayed with the yoga routine I've done since time began, but I got lazy as I do every few years and let it go. Now, I'm starting over and that will definitely help keep the lower back in better shape.
My arthritis isn't nearly as bad as what many of you suffer from, but it's significant and has been in many family members so I really enjoy all of your wisdom.
Try sleeping witha a pillow between your knees, and one between your ankles...because if you cross yor ankles when you sleep, it strains the top hip.
I have a similar problem but it is only on one side , in my hip and knee which is where my ra is. I quess i am lucky that I only have it on one side. Although any pressure placed on my knee throughout the night, even when my knees are together is very uncomfortable. It was really bad before I started meds and I would wake up in horrible pain in the middle of the night. Now with meds I do get a little relief. Another person wrote in that if they take naps it helps. I find that also. But being a teacher anda mother of two that is very rare. I do take a Tylenol PM every night and I feel more rested in the am when I do that.
you may want to read up on tylenol. too much can cause liver damage, you may want to have you liver enzynes check. (primary billary chorosis)
I get the same thing. I get shooting pains in my legs and my feet so much so that it wakes me up over and over all night long.
I have to sleep on my side as well and I have to keep switching from side to side all restless night long!!
I have RA in my knees so I'm guessing that is what the cause is.
I have talked to my rheumatoligist about this but he just told me to do some streches before bed... I've tried but it's like my legs then seize up when I sleep.... and I get wicked cramps!!
Let me know if you get a "fix" for this... best of luck to you!!
If you can get as many little naps as you can during the day.. that way you won't feel sooo tired when you don't get a decent nights sleep.
Restless leg, which is genentic and associated with parkisons, can cause some of the symptoms you describe. I also developed the cramps and severe foot pain which often awakens me with a 12 pain on a scale of 10. At first I was prescribed quinine but it has been pulled. My RA doctor started prescribing flexeril and klonopin (clonazepam) at bed time. (Be careful with klonopin. It can upset your balance if you get up to stretch and get relief from the cramps.) When I take these faithfully my cramps and restlessness are greatly reduced. One side effect is usually an excellent night of solid sleep.
I get cramps during the day also. I recently learned I had way to low sodium and chloride levels (salt). Research on this condition showed that cramps can be caused by this condition.
Yes, I have had the same thing happen and as you say the pain is always on the opposite side that you are laying on. Mine is worse if legs are curled up rather than straight out. I've had RA for 15 years and I'm on Humira and Methotrexate and both have helped me quite a bit and this leg pain is a constant problem. Also have feet that always hurt. Just read an article about PAD (peripheral artery disease) which causes leg muscle pain caused by blocked arteries in the legs. Can be tested with a ankle-brachial index (ABI) test which just takes a few minutes and is non-invasive. I'm going to ask my Doctor about doing this test as I really think this has nothing to do with my RA unless it's from the medications.
Good luck to you!
I have this, too, and though I hate being dependent on meds for sleep, my RA is ten times worse when I don't. PLUS this pain is excryutiating and once it sets in, it takes an hour for the meds to alleviate it. I have been taking 1/2-1 vicodin and 1/2 an AMbien before bed and I generally sleep like a baby. If I skip either, I am up between midnight and 3 am screaming in pain. I dont need anything all day as the pain is really just at night. No doctor has been able to explain it, they just say it my RA.
ok i have been getting horriable pain in my legs at night while sleeping im keep getting told it resless leg but they put me on a med for it and it kinda helps but they never did any test or even ask any real questions i brought it up at a visit and they just wrote the perscription but never asked anything wat should i do .......very confused .......
Senario: You are sleeping and all the sudden you get a pain that runs from your toes up the back of either leg. This happens to me. I have to get out of bed and try to walk, sometimes with assistance and sometimes without. I cannot work because I have to have somewhere to take nap. Once in awhile I do get a good night sleep. I can't sit for long periods and neither can I stand. What kind of job could someone have that requires what I need to function daily. I don't know anywhere that would let you take a three hour nap.
As much as I hate to say this, smoking helps. I think it is the carbon monoxide inhaled that blocks the pain immediately. I don't smoke a whole cigarette either.
RA keeps one from doing important task at home and that could cause depression which makes RA worse.
I've been experiancing the same thing for a few years now
As ive Arthritis in my spine hips and pelvers
im only 42 and was dianoised when i was 28.
im waiting for the doctor to give me a hip replacement
but they tell me im to young and will have to do it again in 10 years
I don't have a problem with that at lest i should be pain free for awhile
Find myself having Nana naps in the arvo as im so tired from the night before of waking every couple of hours
This is my story
Elspeth Grazier New Plymouth New Zealand...
I've started to encounter some of what has been displayed and shared here, only in one leg at the moment.
my other joints have all started to act up in a much colder weather moving to aus from nz. (colder because we dont have the money for a heater)
And the past few days this has made an uneasy sleep even harder for me, only finding to be able to sleep on my back. When both sides were comfortable to me.
But now my right hip and knee is expressing pain from either side i lay on.
I have this same problem, and so do most of my friends. It seems to happen because the human spine has a curve in it, but the mattress doesn't. When you're sleeping, your back loses that curve, and the nerves in the spine become compressed. To resolve, this, I made a very thin rectangular pillow about 12"X18" wide and maybe one inch thick. I put it horizontally under my waist at night to support that curve in the spine. It feels odd at first, but after you relax into it, you will probably be able to sleep through the night without pain or cramps in your legs and feet. I have been making these pillows for my friends, and they love them too. Also use the pillow to support your lower back when you're driving or sitting in a chair. A chiropractor can provide some relief for misalignment of the spine, but the problem will recur if you don't support your spine while you're sleeping.
I'm 40 and I am new with dealing with this type of pain. I have read through all the previous postings that have followed your original topic and question regarding "Leg pain while sleeping".
My hip and leg pain occurred about a month ago (Jan. 2011) for the first time ever. The pain was so severe, I nearly passed out. The pain so far is only effecting my right hip / leg. During this first episode my right hip, buttock, thigh and inner leg from groin to the inner knee was affected. Nothing further down than the knee. My initial thought was that I had a cramp during sleep that went the full course and dissolved on it's own prior to my waking. I took a few aspirin and laid on a heat pad. Eventually after I think a couple hours I fell back asleep and awoke to No Pain or soreness at all.
I had No further issues until about 4 nights later. Once again I woke in the middle of the night this time with slight pain in the hip and thigh and severe pain from groin to inner knee. This time I took some Ibuprofens laid on the heat pad. Sure enough somehow fell back asleep and once again awoke with No Pain symptoms at all.
I contacted a friend of mine who is "not" a doctor but has some medical background. Turns out he had a "Sciatic Nerve" issue a couple years ago and his pain symptoms were very similar. He dealt with various doctors for over 4 months with no positive results. He did some self evalutions and developed a couple stretches that proved helpful.
As a secondary measure, I contacted a different friend and gave him a detailed description. This person went in a different direction and thinks something else other than Sciatica is taking place. He thinks it involves arthritis or tendon/ligament/muscle problems. I actually believe that this response is more accurate. No future pain for about the next 10 nights.
My 3rd flare up was about 10 nights later. This time slight pain in hip, thigh inner leg. Took Ibuprofen no heat pad and again awoke to no pain. Eventhough more time had gone by, I figure I was improving. I was wrong. Last night which was 4 nights later, I feel that I am back to square 1 with pain threshold as if it was the 1st episode over again.
Sorry for such a lengthy response, but during all 4 of these night right leg pain episodes I have tried many if not all of the homestyle remedies. I am guilty of sleeping on my sides and crossing ankles. Pillows between legs only provides a minute or two of comfort. ***** One other thing I have noticed during my last two pain periods is that as the Ibuprofen begins working I will sense a minor click, pop or a release somewhere between my right hip and lowest portion of my back / spine. At this point I'm also looking for any helpful information prior to beginning a future of doctor visits.
Who knows??? It might even be my hip partially dislocating itself? I'm open to any comments, arthritis, sciatica or even a possible partial hip dislocation eventhough no history of accidents or injury to that area.
I have had/am having similar pain, but may be close to resolving the problem, so I thought I'd share what could be my answer--after eight months of searching.
In my case the pain appears to originate from a bulging disc in my low back. It somehow pinches a nerve that goes to my thighs and creates the illusion of pain there. I've undergone several rounds of lower-back traction, which, together with an exercise called "prone pushups" to squeeze the disc back into place has really helped. Fingers crossed, but I think this one is solved.
I have the same pain. I have degenerative joint/disk disease. Also had a pinched nerve in lower back. Thought the surgery would cure the leg pain but absolutely not. It cured the pain going down the back of my leg when standing but NOTHING has helped the sharp pain in my legs when lying. I only get a couple hours sleep at night, can't stand or sit for very long at the time. Take flexaril, tramadol, Lyrica, nothing seems to help. How does a person work without sleep and taking the meds that make me sleepy and drunk. Any suggestions? Has any one with similar problems ever tried to get disability. I'm 57 years old. Any help or suggestions appreciated. Linda
I definitely suffered from leg pain when sleeping on my side. A knee pillow is a must when you sleep on your side. I have gone through the experience myself, but had difficulty finding the right pillow (too big: I woke up when I tried to turn over, too small: slips out when I turned over).
I developed Sleepy Kneez which is comfortable, stays put, and doesn't negatively impacy the knee cap.
I no longer suffer from knee and back pain
I have the same issue
but I have never been diagnosed with RA.
Is there any relief? I really need sleep. The nurse I talked to in the
doctors office told me to streach the muscles and try sleeping on my back.
I cant sleep on my back, and streaching didnt help.
any other suggestions?
Sorry no help
I have been searching the internet looking for a cause and relief of my night time leg pain. So far, this feed is the closest I have found. I have some form of Arthritis but, I do not believe it is RA. I am 50 years old and aboout 50 pounds over weight. When I sleep on my left side, I wake up with pain radiating down the outside of my right leg. When I roll over to my right side, the same thing happens to my left leg. My right leg seems to be most affected, but both keep me awake at night. I have tried sleeping with a pillow between my legs and it does not help. Taking advil before bed does not seem to help much. The only way I am pain free is if I sleep on my back. However, I snore when I sleep on my back and that wakes both my husband and I up. Getting up and walking to the bathroom helps. So does doing some leg exercises in bed (lifting the affected leg so that I am contracting the muscles on the side of my leg that hurts), but, it is only temporary. Sleeping on my stomach also helps. This started about 9 months ago and has gotten progressively worse. As a previous poster noted, sleeping with my legs bent seems to make it worse... unless I am on my back. If I am on my back, bending my legs or having them straight results in no pain. It has to be caused by a restriction some where. Either my muscles are inflammed and putting pressure on the nerve that runs down my leg or some other interference. The constriction only results in pain when on my side though. When I am standing or laying on my front or back, I am fine. I think I will try stretching my outer leg muscles before bed tonight and then taking a couple of advil to see if it helps. If you are experiencing similar symptms and can also try stretching the sides of your legs before bed, please post your results so we know how many people it helps.
The following link is a video of what I will try to stretch the outside of my legs before bed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRZTvkKEbCk
I also have had leg pain while sleeping that wakes me up througout the night. It began about three years ago in the lower legs. Had x-rays taken, but found nothing and no signs of arthritis. About 1 year later I experienced a ruptured disc in my spine that was excrutiating, followed it with several weeks of physical therapy which helped the back pain greatly. Although my back pain comes and goes, it's never as severe as when the disc ruptured. All that to say, the leg pain has continued, on and off, and has spread to my knees, thighs and sometimes even the hip area now.
I'm beginning to think, especially after reading this post, that it may be related to the ruptured disc or spinal problems. Once awake the pain begins to subside and usually disappears after being up and about for about 30-60 minutes.
Ibuprophen does help, but I don't take it regularly because of its long term side effects.
Thanks for posting, and hope this helps for others out there.
/Female/ age 56/
The pain associated with RA can be extreme. Sleeplessness because of leg pain is not uncommon. I have had RA for 38 years and experience regular pain when spending long periods in any one position. whether or not it is in bed.. Sitting two hours in a movie theatre can be impossible.. I have spent whole movies standing at the back of the theatre. My recliner is my best friend. I can sleep well for at least 3 hours at a time with my feet and legs elevated so it is something I do each morning when it is no longer possible for me to remain in my bed tossing and turning and trying to find pain relief..
I don't think this sleeping difficulty is unusual for people with RA. There are a number of things listed in the other comments that can be tried to help with the pain problem but the condition is progressive and often the joint damage is permanent so an assessment might be necessary. Ask your Rheumatologist or your Family doctor to arrange an examination to determine what the best treatment should be.
I too have RA. I am on methotrexate, plaquinil, arthritec, gabapentin, hydrocodin, and use lidoderm patches. The pain continues unles I sleep in a chair avoiding lying down.
I have been on methotextrate for 2 years and have suffered from leg pain
while trying to sleep. I also have the pain in the opposite leg while trying to sleep on one side and then the other. I did not have this pain before I was put on this drug. Just recently I took myself off methotextrate for two months and I didn't have this pain. This drug is banned in China from my research on the internet because of the drug causing leg pain. I have RA and I believe this drug isn't helping my particular case enough to warrant this terrible pain in the legs that nothing will alleviate so I am going to ask for a new drug and just experiment around.
I am wondering if methotrexate is causing my leg pain too.....something to think about. What is the corelation? Are you on anything else for RA now that helps? I also have RA
Thanks for posting this - I will try it!...I believe mine stems from a ruptured disc two years ago. Pain best when lying on my back and very bad when on my side.
Did the prone push ups help you? I will try this tonight in addition to stretching the outside of my legs. Please post feedback when you are able. Thank you!
I found something that helps a lot. For the past 3 nights, I have been able to sleep for more than an hour at a time without waking up in pain from my legs. I put icy hot patches on both my legs when I am going to bed. I place the patches about 2 inches from where my leg meets the trunk of my body, centering it where my leg curves to the outside. That way the patch is half on the front of my leg and half on the side. That is the area my pain seems to be radiating from. I only put a patch on my right leg the first night. As a result, my left leg was the only thing that bothered me that night. So, I put a patch on each of them the following night. No pain in my right leg again but, I started feeling pain in my left after about 5 or 6 hours. The problem seems to be something called Greater trochanteric pain syndrome. It most commonly occurs in atheletes and people over 50. It is caused my small tears in muscles and ligaments in that area. The icy hot helps to relax your leg and allows it to heal without you being in pain. I got the generic brand of icy hot at Walgreens and it works great. I am hoping after using the patches for a week or two, I will be able to sleep without them. If you are experiencing pain in one or both legs while you are laying on your side sleeping, try it! All you have to lose is a few dollars for the patches and pain that keeps you awake at night.
Read more about it at the following link: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Greater-Trochanteric-Pain-Syndrome.htm