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How to Treat Joint Pains During Menopause

You may say goodbye to periods during menopause, but say hello to menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and even joint pains. While we usually associate joint stiffness and aching to the elderly, it actually starts in the perimenopausal period for the majority of women. Luckily, there are several remedy options for menopausal joint pain. 

So what are some possible treatments for joint pains caused by hormonal changes during menopause? Simple home treatment solutions include exercise, proper diet, water therapy, as well as stress management. For more serious concerns, seek medical advice if ever you need to take supplements or perhaps hormonal replacement therapy.

Rewind The Clock Both Outside And In

Regenerative therapy has helped countless patients look and feel like the person they were years before. Call us today to book your regenerative therapy consultation.

The Connection Between Menopause and Joint Pain

As women reach the 40-year-old mark, they start to experience low estrogen levels and enter the menopausal stage of their lives. Estrogen is a group of sex hormones responsible for the development and regulation of the reproductive system in women. 

But why do estrogen levels decline during menopause? Well, a woman’s ovaries make up the majority of their estrogen during their reproductive years. As their menstrual cycle stops, their ovaries stop making as much estrogen and thus fat cells take over the ovary composition. 

How Does Menopause Affect Your Joints and Muscles?

It’s common to feel body pain once you’ve reached the menopausal stage. While it’s not necessarily a medical condition, it could affect pre-existing health issues as well as your daily life.

When estrogen levels are high, the brain releases chemicals called endorphins and enkephalins. These chemicals act as natural painkillers; hence, they are able to relieve some amount of pain. With this pain-relieving effect, estrogen keeps cartilages – the connective tissue found in joints – healthy. In other words, it can prevent joint inflammation and pain.

Since estrogen levels fall during menopause, the chemicals endorphins and enkephalins are also released in lesser amounts. Meaning, the protection estrogen provides weakens joints. This can, in turn, result in aching joints (also known as arthralgia) that most often occur in the lower body. This is why incidence of knee osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis increases after menopause.

Take note, however, that older people usually experience body aches and pain more frequently. Hormonal changes may not be the sole cause. Joint point, specifically, can be rooted in other health conditions such as lupus, lyme disease, and arthritis.

Does Joint Pain From Menopause Go Away?

While most side effects of menopause fade away in the post-menopausal stage, joint pain may not improve. Don’t lose hope though — healthy lifestyle choices can protect your joints and let you live an active midlife.

Is Frozen Shoulder Related to Menopause?

Frozen shoulder refers to the inflammation of tissue around your shoulder joint. Menopause isn’t usually the cause of the tissue getting tighter and small; however, milder shoulder pains may be due to decreasing hormone levels.

10 Ways to Relieve Painful and Aching Joints During Menopause

Woman seating holding knees suffering from knee joint pain

Although joint pain linked to menopause is quite common, it’s not an end-all condition. Lifestyle adjustments – ranging from home remedies to medical treatments – can soothe aches and pains, as well as prevent future conditions like osteoarthritis.

1) Weight Management

If you’re overweight, managing your weight can help with musculoskeletal pain. Carrying around extra pounds puts more stress on joints, increasing pressure and stiffness. Ask your doctor if you’re at a healthy weight and if there are any lifestyle changes that you can implement. Although you might want to start with low impact activities (like yoga and pilates) then gradually build up the intensity. Try the following warm-up stretches:

  • Shoulder lift: Similar to a crunch position, lift your shoulders off the ground, hold for 20 seconds, and repeat twice.
  • Core activation: Engage your core while holding an Indian sit.
  • Hamstring stretch: While sitting on a mat, stretch your legs and reach for your toes. 
  • Glute bridge: Do this in 2 one-minute intervals or four thirty-second intervals.

2) Exercise

Improving your body’s strength and posture can reduce muscle and joint pain – and subsequently, increase bone density and lessen your susceptibility to injury. Especially if you have osteoarthritis, moderation exercise has a natural anti-inflammatory effect. 

While it may seem counterintuitive, you have to get those joints moving. Increasing physical activity helps pump the synovial fluid around the joint and promotes blood circulation. 150 minutes of cardio exercises, coupled with some light resistance training, twice to thrice a week is optimal.

Other physical activities that we recommend are biking, hiking, walking, and using the elliptical. Added bonus effect: Exercise may also help with other menopause symptoms, including insomnia, weight fluctuations, and anxiety attacks.

3) Healthy Diet

Not only do processed foods and simple carbohydrates (e.g., sugary desserts, white potatoes, and white bread) cause weight gain, but they also contribute to joint inflammation. Swap these out for healthier food options.

A balanced diet promotes muscle mass that is important for bone support and joint health. Here are some types of foods that you could consume to ward off the unwanted side effects of menopause:

  • Vegetables: The antioxidants found in the vegetable food group helps strengthen the immune system. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and lettuce, also have a pain-relieving effect.
  • Olive oil: This is an active ingredient found in ibuprofen, as well as many other painkillers.
  • Food that releases serotonin: Pain can feel worse when serotonin levels (the happiness hormone) are low. Oats, cashews, and chocolate could be your go-to snacks.

4) Give Up Smoking

There’s no doubt that finding the strength to quit unhealthy habits like smoking can be difficult – you might even argue that you’d rather endure its long-term repercussions than deal with your immediate joint pain. Smoking can have a way to slow down your bones’ ability to heal and later on lead to joint pain and stiffness. If quitting is a big step, try cutting down first if you can.

5) Taking Supplements

Medications are a good line of defense against many types of bodily pain — menopause in this case. There are many joint pain supplements that can reduce joint inflammation, such as the following:

  • Calcium and vitamin D
  • Omega-3 supplementation
  • Magnesium
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Chondroitin sulfate supplements

6) Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Excess alcohol consumption (meaning, 7 drinks a week for women) impairs the body’s ability to regulate inflammation. Remember: Alcohol is alcohol – whether that’s wine, beer, whiskey, or gin.

7) Water Therapy

Dehydration can aggravate joint pain. Thus, it’s imperative to drink lots of water (about 2 liters a day) during menopause to keep your tissues hydrated. 

8) Reduce Stress

Stress isn’t something to applaud. Believe it or not, stress – whether you’re anxious, sleepy, or tired – can sometimes exacerbate the pain that you feel. Whenever you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol (the stress hormone) that increases joint inflammation. If truth be told, cortisol is linked to some of the most common physical and mental issues plaguing our society – think Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, and depression.

There are 3 ways you can go about stress: Unwind, get enough quality sleep, or consider taking cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). We know these are all easier said than done, but pinpointing your stress triggers is the first step to achieving optimal wellness.

9) Painkillers

As their name implies, painkillers offer pain relief; these can help ease different types of pain depending on the cause. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication, like NSAIDS (paracetamol and ibuprofen), may alleviate joint pain and even headaches. 

10) Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Hormone replacement therapy can reduce joint pain during menopause. There are different types of HRT – including estrogen and progestin – that tests your hormone levels and determines if low estrogen is the reason behind your joint pain.

In fact, the Women’s Health Initiative conducted a study about the link between joint pain and menopause. One of their findings was that menopausal women who underwent hormone therapy experienced lower risks for joint pain, fractures, and colorectal fracture; however, they also had a higher incidence of breast cancer, heart issues, stroke, and blood clots. 

When to Seek Professional Help About Menopausal Joint Pain

Don’t wait to seek medical help for joint pain. Most menopause-related pain can be avoided with home remedies, medical treatment, and lifestyle changes. However, if you’re experiencing significantly painful joint aches and any of the following conditions, consult a medical professional immediately: 

  • A broken bone
  • Severe bone pain
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Haven’t peed all day
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Scalp tenderness
  • Fatigue
  • History of inflammatory bowel disease

Be as specific as possible when talking about your symptoms. Are the headaches happening on only a certain portion of your head? Is intercourse painful? Does it hurt within the vagina or in your vulva? Your healthcare provider will have a better understanding of your condition if you give a detailed description. Consider seeing your doctor if your symptoms aren’t improving despite natural remedies.

Ease Your Midlife Joint Pain at aNu Aesthetics

As if having a midlife crisis isn’t enough, having to go through joint pain during menopause hampers your ability to enjoy your daily routine. Fortunately, it doesn’t mean the end of an active and fulfilling life. You can opt to choose natural home remedies (exercise, diet, water therapy) or medical treatments to ease the pain – although results may vary. 

From joint pain treatment to addressing menopausal concerns, the healthcare practitioners at aNu Aesthetics are dedicated to finding the best health and wellness solution for you. Call us at 816-359-3310 or book an online consultation today.

Rewind The Clock Both Outside And In

Regenerative therapy has helped countless patients look and feel like the person they were years before. Call us today to book your regenerative therapy consultation.

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