Many women report suffering from joint pain during menopause. This can be a disturbing symptom, altering what you feel you can and can´t do physically. It can, in combination with a host of other menopause symptoms, also alter how you start looking at yourself as the realities of aging kick in. Luckily, there are plenty of treatments available, as outlined on the following pages, for alleviating the symptoms of joint pain.
Why Do I Suffer from Joint Pain during Menopause?
During menopause some women experience joint and muscle pain, mouth discomfort, headaches and some even report heart palpitations. Interestingly, women who suffer tension headaches, abdominal, or facial pain found their symptoms lessened after menopause. Scientists today feel there may indeed be a link between estrogen, (fluctuating) hormone levels, and this phenomenon.
Firstly, it needs to be established that the average woman will experience menopause around 50 years of age. For this reason, in both men and women, especially those over 55, there is a far higher likelihood of suffering from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is an inflammation of the joints that causes pain. However, the predominant reason women suffer from joint pain during menopause is due to falling levels of estrogen in the body. This is because estrogen is known to have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, and thereby reduced estrogen levels (as suffered in menopause) means a reduced ability to absorb pain.
How Can I Deal with Joint Pain during Menopause?
There are a variety of ways to deal with the joint pain suffered during menopause. Probably the most famous medical solution thus far has been hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This is where synthetic estrogen is used to try and supplement the diminished levels in the body.
Unfortunately however, whilst HRT sometimes proves effective in alleviating other symptoms of menopause, it cannot be used specifically to cure joint pain. Some studies have demonstrated that post-menopausal estrogen can enhance the risk of medical conditions such as osteoarthritis along with headaches, fluid retention, vaginal discharge and weight gain.
Some additional treatment options for dealing with joint pain during menopause:
• Weight loss. Losing weight obviously puts less pressure on the joints and can be achieved through diet, exercise and surgical regimens.
• Mechanical aids, weights. Another option is to strengthen the joints that are sore in order to overcome the difficulties associated with estrogen deficiency.
• Nerve stimulation. This treatment can be used to lower the perception of pain and in pain management.
• Painkillers. Sometimes these are necessary if moving around for everyday activities becomes too painful.
• Massage. Obviously relaxes the body and eases pain.
• Physical therapy in order to rehabilitate the joints and muscles.
• Knee sleeves and other supportive devices when doing exercise
• Steroid injections
In addition to the points listed above there is also a range of alternative medicine that help target the estrogen deficiency responsible for the joint pain and act as hormonal balancers. These come highly recommended, especially if combined with a healthy diet and exercise regime in alleviating symptoms naturally.