What to Know About Menopause Joint Pain

What to Know About Menopause Joint Pain

Menopause joint pain is another one of those uncomfortable symptoms that can strike during perimenopause and linger.

And having achy, swollen joints can really impact your quality of life.

After all, it’s harder to enjoy your usual activities when movement is painful.

But don’t despair. There’s a lot you can do to ease joint pain—or even stop it completely.

From lifestyle changes to medications, there’s plenty of effective menopause joint pain treatments out there.

So put your feet up for a few minutes, and let’s take a closer look.

In this article 📝

  • Why does menopause cause joint pain?
  • Does low estrogen cause joint pain?
  • Menopause joint pain symptoms
  • How to treat menopause joint pain

Why does menopause cause joint pain?

Aching joints (also called arthralgia) are common in women who are going through menopause.

But does that mean there’s a direct link between menopause and joint pain? Or that it’s normal?

Not exactly—the picture is complex.

The thing is that joint pain is a symptom that tends to affect everyone (not just women) more as they get older. And it may start to be more of a problem around the age that women start going through menopause.

So scientists aren’t certain how much of the joint pain experienced by menopausal women is due to menopause and how much is age-related.

Plus, there are other factors that can make achy joints more likely, too.

Does low estrogen cause joint pain?

It’s important to understand that the hormone estrogen is not just for fertility—estrogen impacts every part of our body.

And one of the many essential jobs that estrogen does is to protect your joints and reduce inflammation.

So when your estrogen levels fall during perimenopause, they don’t offer as much protection, meaning your joints become stiff and painful.

You’re also more at risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition where your bones become weaker and more prone to breaking.

Another problem linked to low estrogen is osteoarthritis. This is a condition where the protective cartilage at the ends of your bones wears away, leading to pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the affected joint.

But osteoarthritis can be caused by a number of other factors, including age, joint injury, having a family history of the condition, and obesity (which puts more strain on your joints).

Lastly, if you go through early menopause (menopause before age 45), you’ve a greater chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

This autoimmune disease has similar symptoms to osteoarthritis, but it’s caused by your immune system attacking your joints.

Basically, menopause joint pain may be related to or made worse by low estrogen levels, but aging and other factors might play a role, too.

Menopause joint pain symptoms

Joint pain in menopause can feel like aching, stiffness, and swelling.

And the joints that are most affected tend to be the:

  • Neck
  • Back
  • Jaw
  • Shoulders
  • Wrists
  • Elbows

You might also have some shooting pains in your back, arms, or legs, or experience a burning sensation after a workout.

You might also find that an old joint-related or musculoskeletal injury (maybe one you’d completely forgotten about!) starts to bother you again.

And the pain can be worse in the morning because your joints are stiff after not moving all night—the soreness might ease up during the day as you move more.

The intensity of menopause muscle and joint pain can also vary a lot between women.

Anything from a slight stiffness that you barely notice to a severe pain that seriously impacts your everyday life.

If your pain is severe and lasts for longer than a few days, or if you’re also experiencing a fever or weight loss, get in touch with your doctor right away.

Just because a difficult symptom is common doesn’t mean you have to just tolerate it. Feeling ease in your body is the bare minimum here.

How to treat menopause joint pain

Different approaches and treatments will work for different women, depending on the underlying cause of their joint pain.

For some, natural remedies for menopause joint pain can work wonders, but others may benefit from medical intervention.

Your doctor will be able to advise you on the best way forward.

Here’s what they might suggest:

1. Regular exercise

Exercise may not be the first thing you feel like doing if your joints are sore, but—as long as it’s low impact—it really helps to strengthen your joints and keep them flexible.

Try walking, biking, swimming, yoga, or using the elliptical at the gym.

Exercise can help with other menopause symptoms, too, including insomnia, weight gain, and anxiety.

2. A healthy diet

A nutrient-rich, balanced diet is great for your body in all kinds of ways.

To boost your joint health, aim for lots of whole grains, seafood rich in omega-3 (such as salmon), leafy greens, and estrogen-rich foods.

Whole fruit and veggies are a fantastic source of antioxidants, which help to fight any inflammation in your joints.

You can also try supplements for menopause joint pain, including: omega-3, vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium.

3. Giving up smoking

Finding the strength to quit can be hard—no question. But smoking can increase your risk of bone loss and also get in the way of your bones healing.

This may make it more likely that you’ll experience joint pain.

So try to quit (or cut down) if you can.

4. Reducing stress

When you’re stressed, your body can release a hormone called cortisol, and this may increase inflammation in your joints.

And it definitely exasperated hormone imbalance.

Anything you can do to help yourself de-stress, then, could help you find menopause joint pain relief.

That might mean meditation or breathing exercises, or perhaps just making time to do things you enjoy—such as crafting, cooking, gardening, or having coffee with a friend.

5. Pain relief

Over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation in your joints and ease the pain.

You could also try medication-free methods of pain relief: heat therapy, deep muscle massage, acupuncture, or hypnosis.

And don’t underestimate the benefits of enlisting a chiropractor.

6. Get your hormones tested

Your doctor or wellness practitioner can test your hormones to see if low estrogen may be behind your joint pain.

And they can work together to create a treatment plan to ease your symptoms which might include dietary changes, herbal supplements, or other options, like hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to increase your estrogen levels.

We hope you find the right treatment soon, so you can go back to being your usual active self.

And remember that the Peanut Menopause community is here to support you as you navigate these tricky waters.


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