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Is Back Pain A Symptom Of Menopause

What Is Degenerative Disc Disease

I keep getting lower back pain, can menopause cause this?

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.

I Keep Getting Lower Back Pain Can Menopause Cause This

Last week I talked about leg pain but another ache which women are often surprised to realise can be associated with menopause is lower back pain. So today, I answer the question I keep getting lower back pain, can menopause cause this?, explaining why menopause can cause your lower back to ache and what you can do to help ease this pain.

Eileen Durward

What Does Menopause Joint Pain Feel Like

Any of your joints can be affected, from little joints such as fingers and toes, right up to the major joints such as hips and knees.

Feeling achy, stiff and creaky and sometimes experiencing a burning feeling around the joints are typical symptoms of menopausal joint pain. These may be worse in the morning, improving as the day continues. While pain can be localised to individual joints or a few joints, many women also describe a feeling of aching all over.

This is a bit of an unusual and surprising one but women have also reported instances where old injuries from childhood or more recently have been known to ache again. For example, a previously broken wrist feeling tender again or whiplash from a mild car crash 5 years ago returning.

So if a specific area is feeling tender, it is worthwhile thinking back to previous injuries or any instances of mild trauma which might have occurred to that area.

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Back Pain Conditions That Mainly Affect Women

SeeLower Back Pain Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Several conditions are more common in women. Back pain-related problems are typically seen in the post-menopausal age . Read on to learn more about the common causes of back pain in women and the reasons why they occur.

Pain originating from spasms in your piriformis muscle, a large muscle located deep in the buttock, is called piriformis syndrome.2 Women are affected more due to hormone and pregnancy-related changes in the pelvis.

Piriformis syndrome often causes irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, mimicking sciatica pain. Piriformis syndrome may cause3:

  • Chronic pain in the buttock and hip area that is worsened by hip movements
  • Pain when you get out of bed
  • Inability to sit for a long time
  • Radiating pain in the back of your thigh and leg

The symptoms typically get better when you lie on your back.

Pain from your sacroiliac joint that connects the bottom of your spine to your pelvis is called sacroiliac joint dysfunction or sacroiliitis. SI joint problems are among the more common causes of lower back pain.

Women typically have a smaller SI joint surface area compared to men, resulting in a higher concentration of stresses across the joint. The sacrum is also wider, more uneven, less curved, and tilted more backward in women, which may cause problems in the SI joint.4

Degenerative spondylolisthesis can cause9:

Data Collected Using The Standard Whi Protocol

Back Pain Concept. Middle Aged Woman Touching Her Back ...

At baseline, WHI participants completed standard questionnaires designed to elicit information on demographic and lifestyle factors as well as medical history. In addition, participants were asked about depressive symptoms occurring during the week prior to the clinic visit and in the past. The Short Form-36, one of the most widely used generic health status questionnaires in health research, was also completed . It consists of 36 multiple-choice questions, aggregated into eight subscales: physical function, role limitations due to physical health problems, bodily pain, general health, vitality, social functioning, role limitations due to emotional problems, and mental health. These subscales may also be aggregated to derive the Physical Component Summary and Mental Component Summary scales . Individual questions within the SF-36 provided detailed information about specific functional limitations.

During the clinic visit, participants were weighed on a balance beam scale while wearing indoor clothes, but no shoes. Height was recorded using a wall-mounted stadiometer and a standard held-expiration technique. Body mass index was calculated as the weight divided by height squared.

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Is It Your Commute

Car seats are designed to be able to fold forward, so the place where we need the most support the lower back tends to be a hole instead. If your car seat situates you so your hips are lower than your knees, get a lumbar roll or just roll up a towel to stick behind you to get your butt and hips level with or slightly above your knees.

A lumbar roll thats easily removed can do double duty with your office chair.

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Can Ovarian Cancer Be Prevented

The majority of women have at least one risk factor or two for ovarian cancer. These common factors generally only slightly increase your risk. Risk factors havent helped prevent most cancer cases as of now. There are some ways you can reduce your risk for epithelial ovarian cancer. There is little known about lowering the risk of stromal tumors or germ cell problems in the ovaries. The following discussion is of epithelial ovarian cancer, specifically.

Some strategies may only provide a minor reduction, while others are more helpful. Some may be easy to try, while others involve surgery. If you are worried about ovarian cancer, you should speak with your doctor, so they can help you develop a plan.

Oral Contraceptives

Taking birth control pills, or oral contraceptives can lower the risk of ovarian cancer, particularly for those who use them for several years. Those who used birth control pills for five or more years saw as much as a fifty percent decrease in risk of ovarian cancer compared to those who didnt take the pill for so long. Its important to think about the side effects and risk of birth control pills if youre considering using them. It should be discussed with your doctor to see if it is right for you.

Gynecologic Surgery

A hysterectomy or even tubal ligation can risk your chance of ovarian cancer. Generally, doctors agree these procedures should be reserved for medical reasons other than prevention of cancer.

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What Causes Ovarian Cancer

When cells multiply and divide in an unregulated way, it is referred to as cancer. When this is found in the ovary, it is ovarian cancer. The exact reason this happens is unclear. These risks can increase the chance of getting the symptoms of ovarian cancer after menopause.

Your Family History

Those who have relatives whove had breast or ovarian cancer are at a higher risk of getting ovarian cancer than other women. Genetic testing can be done to screen out genes associated with the risk.

Many cases of ovarian cancer happen after a woman goes through menopause. This can be especially true for those over 63 but is less common before 40.

Reproductive History

Those who have had a pregnancy or more that went full-term are at a lower risk. This is especially true for those that were pregnant before 26 and your risk decreases the more pregnancies you have. Breastfeeding will also decrease your risk.

Birth Control

If you have used the pill for a minimum of three months, your risk may be reduced. The longer youve been on the pill, the lower the risk can be. Risk is decreased further if the birth control has been the Depo-shot and its been used for more than three years.

Fertility Treatment or Infertility

Breast Cancer

If a woman has been diagnosed with breast cancer, she has an increased risk of getting diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This is why those who test positive for BRCA2 or the BRCA1 gene may decide on oophorectomy for preventative measures.

Hormone Therapy

Exercise And Back Pain

Menopause symptoms coming back

When we hit midlife and suddenly have some extra pounds , theres a tendency to go all-out to get back to our younger bodies.

Theres nothing wrong with wanting to get stronger and fitter, and exercise can be very helpful in relieving back pain or avoiding it altogether. But you have to do it right, with good form, while breathing correctly, and after making sure you have the basics in place before you move on to more challenging workouts.

So what are we doing wrong?

Back pain from exercising incorrectly is often the result of poor stabilization, says Meagan. When pelvic floor muscles and the bottom of your core are weak, you dont have the structural integrity to hold your pelvis, SI joints, and lumbar spine in good alignment. Then, when you bend or twist, things can shift out of alignment and cause sudden pain. This can be exacerbated in menopause and perimenopause, when aches and pains due to these factors can be triggered more easily and be worse in terms of pain.

This often happens in an exercise classes where moves are difficult and unfamiliar, and you may not have the form, strength, or stability to do the move youre being asked to do, Bri adds.

If you want to exercise or continue to exercise while still protecting your back, there are ways to do it safely.

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When Should I Call My Doctor

If any of your postmenopause symptoms bother you or prevent you from living your daily life, contact your healthcare provider to discuss possible treatment. They can confirm you have completed menopause and are in postmenopause.

Some questions you might ask are:

  • Are these symptoms normal for people in postmenopause?
  • Is there treatment for my symptoms?
  • Is hormone therapy still an option?
  • What can I do to feel better?

If you experience any vaginal bleeding during postmenopause, contact your healthcare provider to rule out a serious medical condition.

How Do You Get Rid Of Menopause Cramps Fast

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin are effective treatments for cramps.

If you are looking for nonmedicinal help, try using a heating pad or a heated patch or wrap on your abdomen to help relax the muscles of your uterus. Heat can also boost circulation in your abdomen, which may help reduce pain.

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Whats Happening When You Experience Joint Pain

Though the precise cause-and-effect of menopause and joint pain hasnt yet been established, theres evidence that there is one. Pain, swelling, and inflammation in the joints is often a signal of osteoarthritis , the wearing down of protective tissue between bones. Since OA disproportionately affects women in menopause, it is likely that hormone level changes are at least part of the cause. Beyond hormones, carrying excess weight, leading a sedentary lifestyle, dehydration, poor diet, smoking and stress can all trigger or worsen joint pain.

Because estrogen is a natural anti-inflammatory, one possibility is that when it dips and ebbs, inflammation can take hold more easily. Plus, estrogen regulates fluid levels throughout the body, so just as your skin is drier and less elastic, the tissue of your joints may be, too. Another theory is that estrogen reduces pain perception so when levels decline, youre more sensitive to pain.

Back Pain In Women In The Perimenopausal Period

Menopause, the drop in hormones at the base of back pain?

PubMed databases were investigated. After the search was narrowed to menopausal status, back pain, 35 studies were found.

The selected studies were analyzed to verify whether they described the perimenopausal period of life, correlated back pain and menopausal status, divided the study group into sub-groups depending on the menopausal status .

Twenty-eight papers were excluded due to lack of information about back pain and menopausal status. Seven studies, which suited our area of research best, were thoroughly analyzed.

Most studies divided women into five groups:

  • Premenopausal women who had had a regular period in the past three months.

  • Early perimenopausal women who had an irregular period in the past three months.

  • Late perimenopausal women who had menstruated irregularly in the last 12 months but not in the last 3 months.

  • Postmenopausal women who had not menstruated in the last 12 months.

  • A separate group of women who have hormone replacement therapy.

    All analyzed studies showed that women who are experiencing or experienced menopause suffered from increased joint and spine pain.

    A long-term study by Szoeke et al. established that in the period of 8 years, the number of women suffering from back pain grew from 44% to 59%. Most women who took part in this study went from the premenopausal to postmenopausal stage during the study. The authors of the study also noticed a direct association between increased BMI and increased spine pain.

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    Impact On Daily Activities

    The SF-36 was used to obtain a generic assessment of health status in this cohort . Based on the responses to the 10 physical function items on the SF-36, women with radiating leg pain were more likely to report daily activity limitations than were those who had no LBP or LBP without LP . For the least physically demanding activities , no differences were detectable across the groups of women, but for the more demanding activities , the likelihood of limitation was increased two- to three-fold among those with leg pain . Similarly, several questions from the SF-36 about physical limitations experienced during the past week also revealed that the women with LP were three- to four-fold more likely to report limitations .

    Your Health Questions Answered

    • Answered by: Dr Roger HendersonAnswered: 25/10/2021

      Endometriosis can cause pain in the fallopian tubes at any age, including after the menopause. However, its more common before and up to the menopause, and often settles down postmenopause. If you have abdominal discomfort after the menopause, see your doctor.

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    Changes To Your Periods

    The first sign of the menopause is usually a change in the normal pattern of your periods.

    You may start having either unusually light or heavy periods.

    The frequency of your periods may also be affected. You may have them every 2 or 3 weeks, or you may not have them for months at a time.

    Eventually, you’ll stop having periods altogether.

    Characteristics Of Women With Low Back Pain

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    Women who reported back pain and leg symptoms were on average about a year younger than those with either no recent episodes of back pain or back pain without leg symptoms . Although the percentage of body fat was similar in all groups of women, those with LBP/LP weighed 2 to 3 kg more and had a higher BMI. The overall proportion of women who smoked cigarettes , had graduated from college , and were currently employed either full or part time did not vary by back pain status.

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    Herbal Helpers For Back Pain

    Herbs you can look at, if you’re getting a lot of inflammation, a lot of pain, there’s a herb called devil’s claw, which is a nice natural anti-inflammatory. And we have an arnica-based gel that’s for pain relief on the joints, so that’s something that you could try as well if you wish to go down that route.

    Cause And Symptoms Of Abdominal Pain In Menopause

    As womens oestrogen and progesterone levels reduce, some body processes are affected, including the digestion. Hyperplasia means an unusual increase in cellular growth, and with endometrial hyperplasia can overgrow, leading to abdominal pain and spotting. When women supplement oestrogen and not progesterone, or they have a hormonal condition which means their oestrogen is unusually high, endometrial hyperplasia can develop. Other symptoms can include leg pain, increase in urination, constipation and backache. The use of phytoestrogens as supplements for oestrogen, for example soya, can be misplaced, as if there is a pre-existing endometrial hyperplasia, the phytoestrogens can worsen the condition.

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    What To Do To Relieve Joint Pain

    Unlike many signs of menopause, joint pain may not diminish when hormones level out after menopause. But there are many lifestyle changes that can help ease the pain and prevent it from getting worse.

    Fill up on anti-inflammatory foods. Some foods tamp down inflammation while others spur it on. For the right balance, eat more of these inflammation fighters: berries, broccoli, avocado, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, citrus fruits, cherries, fatty fish like salmon, olive oil, nuts, dark chocolate , olive oil, green tea, turmeric, and ginger. And avoid foods that contribute to inflammation such as refined carbs like white bread and cake, fried foods, red meat and processed meats like hot dogs, soda and other sugary beverages, and foods with trans fatty acids like margarine.

    Get some exercise. Regular movement keeps joints lubricated so they flex and extend more easily and with less pain. Low-impact activities like yoga, walking, swimming, and cycling are gentler on the joints than high-impact sports like running.

    Keep tabs on your weight Excess pounds mean excess pounding on your joints as you move, so losing even a few pounds can mean exponential relief for knees and ankles.

    Lift some weights. Strengthening the supporting muscles around a joint provide stability. When joints are stable, they function better, and you have less risk of damage or an injury.


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