Common Symptoms And Natural Pain Relief Solutions For Menopausal Arthritis
Hormonal changes around the time of the menopause can cause a range of physical and mental problems. Some of these, including hot flushes and night sweats, are well known but you may not be aware of the connection between the menopause and joint pain. If your joints ache more than usual, and you are between the ages of 45 and 55, it is possible that you are suffering from menopausal arthritis.
Menopause And Joint Pain: What Is The Connection
Joint pain often occurs at the same time as menopause and it affects many women. While there is no clear reason for these achy and swollen joints, some doctors believe it may be due to falling estrogen levels. Estrogen is thought to protect joints and reduce inflammation, and when these levels drop during menopause, inflammation can increase or cause joint pain.
To learn what menopausal joint pain feels like, what the connection between menopause and joint pain is, and how to relieve menopausal joint pain, continue reading.
Consider Your Sleep Environment And Position
Did you know that poor sleep can affect your back, especially if you have the wrong mattress or if you have the wrong pillows? So, it’s a good idea now and again just to check. When did you change your mattress? They say you should buy a new one roughly every eight years.
What about your pillow? Is it too flat? Are you using too many pillows? Because either a pillow too flat or too many pillows will affect your neck and that can, again, cause problems lower down the back, too.
Some people tend to sleep on their stomachs and again, that can be quite bad. It puts your back in an unnatural position. If you need help finding the best sleep position have a look at our Muscles and Joints advisor Earle’s article ‘How to sleep better for back pain‘ lots of great tips.
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Unsettling Throbbing Menopause Leg Pain It Could Be Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome can be brought on by the menopause. This is down to falling oestrogen levels affecting our circulation. RLS is considered a disorder of the nervous system which impacts on the muscles in the legs. A restless nights sleep caused by this can feed back into the cycle, weakening our immune system.
During the menopause, many women experience tingling or an uncomfortable throbbing, jittery, crawling or shaky sensation in their legs. Not only can this be painful, but these sensations can rob us of our sleep, contributing to fatigue and low energy.
As well as supporting normal muscle function, the mineral magnesium found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and avocados, contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system. Supplementing with the mineral may help settle your legs, so you can feel more comfortable.
Stress and anxiety can also enhance RLS, so finding ways to relax may help to allay your symptoms. Meditation, massage and soaking in a warm bath may help you unwind.
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Menopausal Joint Pain Diagnosis
Self-diagnosis of menopausal joint pain is not recommended. In order to accurately diagnose menopause related joint pain, an evaluation by a qualified health provider is recommended. All other possible causes must be eliminated. Once diagnosed, recommendations for the best treatment options may be explored.
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What’s Causing The Pain
Dr. Elson says pain in the side of your hip most often results from one of the following conditions:
Tendinitis. This is an inflammation of the tendons that connect the gluteal muscles in your buttocks to the hip bone. “Tendinitis develops because of muscle imbalance. It could be from a lack of activity, crossing your legs, or even sitting on a wallet,” Dr. Elson says.
Overuse injury. When you walk or run, weak hip and buttock muscles can tighten and irritate the iliotibial band a long band of connective tissue that runs from the knee to the hip. It merges with the gluteal muscles to stabilize the leg.
Tight muscles in the buttocks and hip. If the gluteal muscles and IT band are too tight, they pull at the thighbone where they attach, and that causes pain on the side.
Spine problems. “The body isn’t always smart in recognizing where the pain is coming from,” Dr. Elson explains, “and spine arthritis, a pinched nerve, or bones in the spine rubbing together can create pain in the side of your hip.”
Ease Midlife Joint Pain Naturally
Joint pain is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of menopausal women, especially in the hand, hips, spine, knee, and shoulder. In fact, menopausal women between the ages of 45 and 55 experience the greatest amount of joint pain, as compared to premenopausal women.
As you can imagine, having painful joints can make it difficult to engage in and enjoy all of the activities you may be used to, let alone be as mobile as you may like. The good news is that there are things you can try at home that may help alleviate the discomfort of joint pain during and following menopause.
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What Causes Bleeding After Menopause
Bleeding after menopause can be caused by the following factors:
- Trauma Trauma can result from sexual intercourse or any foreign body.
- Poor vaginal lubrication Menopausal women have decrease in vaginal lubrication because of hormonal changes. Because of this, sexual intercourse may be painful or may result in bleeding.
- Hormonal Replacement therapy Hormonal replacement therapy may cause vaginal bleeding because of fluctuations in the estrogen and progesterone levels.
- Steroids and Anti-coagulants These can also cause post-menopausal bleeding because of impaired clotting mechanism of the blood.
- Cancer medications -Treatments for cancer, specifically breast cancer may result in post-menopausal bleeding as a side-effect
- Clotting problems as a result of kidney, thyroid or liver disease These conditions often lead to bleeding because of impaired synthesis of clotting factors.
- Infections Infections in the reproductive tract such as Chlamydia can also cause post-menopausal bleeding.
- Malignancies Cancer in the reproductive tract also leads to post-menopausal bleeding.
- Nutritional state, diet, exercise and stress
- Endometriosis Endometriosis is an excessive proliferation of the lining of the uterus leading to dysfunctional bleeding.
Endometriosis as a cause of bleeding after menopause
Perimenopause And Severe Joint Pain
I am 50 and have been in perimenopause for some time. I just wanted to post here to see if anyone else has suffered extreme joint pain as a result of fluctuating estrogen.
Quick history: regular as clockwork from the age of 13 – up to and after the two pregnancies in my thirties. Then aged 47 I started to get very heavy and irregular periods. Then I went for six months with no period at all, then two very scant light periods in quick succession. I have had nothing now for two months but I do feel as if it might happen soon as sore boobs etc.
I have never had a hot flush. I do however have lots of other peri symptoms, including insomnia, heart palpitations and skipped beats, and a strange ‘rushing’ or whooshing feeling which starts in the abdomen which I think is an ‘adrenal’ surge. I also have other vague and odd symptoms, dry eyes and inside my nose, and a really vile taste in my mouth sometimes – I mean really vile, like a chemical taste, unrelated to anything I have eaten. I also have odd tingling skin sometimes, which I can only describe as feeling like ‘cold’ sunburn!
Anyway – for the last few weeks I have been having worsening pain which has spread from left elbow and both shoulders, into left hip, both elbows and now my knees. All my joints are cracking and popping loudly and even my husband can hear the awful grating in my neck and my knees….I sound like a one man band as I go up and down the stairs!
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What Is Degenerative Disc Disease
In between each vertebra of the spine are fibrous discs that act as shock absorbers for the spine. Discs also function to support and stabilize your spine, allowing you to move more freely and maintain pain free movements. The health of your spine is an essential part of your well-being and provides the freedom to bend, lift, twist, and do your normal activities without pain.
Over time, these discs begin to dry out and lose some of their flexibility and elasticity. Discs drying out is a natural process that happens with aging and does not always result in symptoms. They become thinner and less able to absorb shock, which may lead to pain and stiffer movements. This loss of elasticity and height in the discs is called degenerative disc disease.
Stenosis and Compression
When you have degenerative disc disease, sometimes your body tries to compensate for the loss of stability by trying to produce more bone to stabilize the spine. These bone growths, called bone spurs or osteophytes, may crowd the spinal canal, a condition called stenosis. Stenosis can put pressure on the nerve roots that branch off the spinal cord. Symptoms of this compression may manifest as a pins and needles sensation, muscle spasms, reduced sensation to touch, weakness and pain, either in the back or radiating down the arms or legs.
Abnormal bone growths can crowd the spinal canal and compress nerve roots, a condition called stenosis.
Perimenopause And Joint Pain What Should I Do
Perimenopause refers to the period of time around which a woman gradually reaches menopause to become permanently infertile. There is no specific age for reaching menopause as women all around the globe become infertile at different ages.
Perimenopause ends when you have gone through 12 consecutive months without menstruating. During this transition a womans body goes through a series of changes with the level of estrogen, the female sex hormone, rising and falling irregularly causing a variety of symptoms that include severe joint pain.
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Talking To Your Doctor
Dont wait to seek help for pain. Most menopause-related pain can be reduced or eliminated with at-home remedies, medical treatment, or lifestyle changes.
The type of discomfort you have may determine what type of doctor you see. You may want to start with your gynecologist.
A good way to prepare for an appointment is by writing down your symptoms. The more specific you are, the better. For example, are your headaches on one side of your head, or all over? Are you able to tell if the pain you feel during intercourse is within the vagina, or in your vulva? The more detail about the pain you feel, the better armed your doctor will be to analyze your symptoms and help treat them.
Your doctor will give you a blood test to determine your hormone levels. You may also get tested for hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. This condition presents many symptoms similar to those of menopause.
Pain, discomfort, and other symptoms of menopause can be treated different ways. Pain-reducing treatments include:
- Over-the-counter pain medication, such as NSAIDs may help with joint pain, or with headache.
- Ice packs can help reduce knee and lower back pain.
- Dietary supplements, such as evening primrose oil, may help reduce breast tenderness.
Talk to your doctor before you begin at-home treatments, to determine the benefits vs. the risks for you.
Painful intercourse can diminish your quality of life if left untreated. Some treatments include:
How Estrogen Affects Bone And Spine Health
Estrogen plays a significant role in both male and female bone health. It also promotes the activity of osteoblasts, which are the cells that produce bone. Additionally, estrogen helps slow down the breakdown of bones and encourages bone growth. The spine maintains tissues that contain collagen, which is part of intervertebral discs. However, estrogen levels drop during menopause, compromising bones health. The combination of low estrogen and vitamin D can cause and impact back pain. This combined may lead to other lower back pain, such as degenerative disc disease or sciatica.
Why Do We Get Joint Pain From Menopause
One reason menopause impacts the joints is these changing hormone levels. There are estrogen receptors in your joints estrogen protects bones and helps keep joint inflammation low. As estrogen levels decline during perimenopause , the joints can swell and become painful.
Another contributing factor is osteoporosis. Decreasing estrogen levels also contribute to loss of bone density. This puts menopausal women at higher risk for osteoporosis, a condition in which reduced bone mass makes the bones weak and brittle.
Unfortunately, it isnt just arthralgia that menopausal women have to worry about. Estrogen fluctuations, as previously mentioned, increase joint inflammation. This can result in menopause-related osteoarthritis. And, those who go through early menopause are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Fun !
These conditions are complicated and varied, so its important to make an appointment with an expert to discuss your concerns and treatment options. As a leading expert in my field, Ive helped many people through the trying time that is menopause. I dont just support womens health my objective is to support my patients overall wellbeing.
History Of Spinal Problems
Compared to women with no back pain during the previous month, those with LBP or LBP/LP were more likely to report recurrent episodes of LBP during their lifetime . Similarly, women with LBP/LP were approximately four times more likely to have previously been hospitalized for back pain or to have had injections for back pain and were twice as likely to have had spinal surgery .
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Menopause And Joint Pain: What Is The Link
Its not uncommon to experience joint pain with age, but research suggests that menopausal women are disproportionately affected . Around the time of menopause, more than half of women report varying degrees of joint pain, peaking between the ages of 45 and 55 .There are many possible explanations for why this might be: hormones, of course, play a part, but so too do other factors at this stage of your life, including weight gain, stress, and dehydration. Here, we explore the link between the menopause and joint pain.
What Does Menopausal Joint Pain Feel Like
Menopausal joint pain is often at its worst in the morning when joints are stiff from disuse overnight. As the day progresses and movement increases, your pain may lessen because the joints are loosening up. Joints that are frequently affected during menopause are the neck, jaw, shoulders, and elbows, through the wrists and fingers may also experience some pain. The discomfort is characterized by stiffness, swelling, shooting pains, and even a burning sensation after working out.
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For Back Pain Problems Try Thesefirst:
- See your care primary doctor, and stay active. He or she will likely prescribe NSAIDs for two weeks. Meanwhile, stay active. Activity can and should be continued. Prolonged bed rest is bad advice, says Dr. DeMicco.
- Schedule physical therapy if needed after two weeks. If youre still in pain after two weeks, a physical therapist can show you exercises that can strengthen the muscles supporting your spine as well as back-friendly maneuvers.
- Lose weight, and quit tobacco. Maintaining your ideal weight will take the pressure off your spine. Its important to avoid tobacco products too. Nicotine impedes microcirculation, so your spine will degenerate at a faster rate, says Dr. DeMicco.
If the source of your pain is difficult to pinpoint, seek help from a hip or spine specialist. The specialist may order an injection of lidocaine, or they may perform diagnostic/therapeutic hip injection under fluoroscopy or ultrasound.
If the problem is the hip,this will numb the hip joint and relieve symptoms immediately. If the paindoes not improve, we know were barking up the wrong tree, says Dr. Murray.The same technique can rule out or confirm back pain.
Joint Pain And Menopause: 11 Pain Stoppers
Feeling stiff or achy when you get up in the morning or after sitting for an extended period of time? Do you have sore knees? Tight hips? Achy fingers? Back pain? Joint pain is one of those symptoms that can make you feel old overnight, and unfortunately it strikes more than half of women during menopause. In fact, a study of more than 100,000 middle-aged female veterans found that going through menopause raised their risk of experiencing chronic pain by 85 percent. But you dont have to suffer and feel older than you are. There are a variety of ways to get relief.
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Herbal Helpers For Back Pain
Herbs you can look at, if youre getting a lot of inflammation, a lot of pain, theres a herb called devils claw, which is a nice natural anti-inflammatory. And we have an arnica-based gel thats for pain relief on the joints, so thats something that you could try as well if you wish to go down that route.
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Menopausal Joint Pain Causes And Treatment Options
The list of menopausal side effects is extensive from mood swings to hot flashes, fatigue, night sweats, and more. And now we add joint pain to the list.
Joint pain affects many people as they get older, but unfortunately, its also common among menopausal women. As if we dont have enough to worry about as we approach midlife.
Aches, stiffness, and swelling around the joint are common symptoms of menopausal joint pain. As a woman approaches menopause, her body goes through drastic hormonal changes that can affect her in many ways.
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