Joint pain is one of the most common symptoms of menopause. It is thought that more than half of all postmenopausal women experience varying degrees of joint pain. Joint pain is an unexplained soreness in muscles and joints, which is unrelated to trauma or exercise, but may be related to the effects of fluctuating hormone levels on the immune system.
Estrogen helps prevent inflammation in the joints, so low levels of estrogen during menopause can lead to increased instances of inflammation, and therefore increased joint pain.
It is not wise to ignore these aches and pains. Early treatment can often bring about a cure and prevent the development of arthritis.
Types of joints
There are several types of joints in the human body. Below is a list of the joints most commonly associated with joint pain.
- Ball and Socket Joints
Allow for a wide range of rotation and movement. The shoulder and hip are ball and socket joints.
- Condyloid Joints
Allow movement but no rotation. There are condyloid joints in the jaw and fingers.
- Gliding Joints
Allow bones to glide past each other. There are gliding joints in the ankles, wrists, and spine.
- Hinge Joints
Allow for movement much like that of a door hinge. The knee and ulna part of the elbow are hinge joints.
- Pivot Joints
Allow bones to spin and twist around other bones. There are pivot joints in the neck and the radius part of the elbow.
- Saddle Joints
Allow for back and forth and side to side motion, but limited rotation. There is a saddle joint in the thumb. Women are 10 times more likely than men to suffer from joint pain in their hands. Because joint pain is common in women approaching menopause, some have even used the term “menopausal arthritis” to describe this symptom. It can be an extremely discomforting ailment and make simple tasks and movements almost unbearable.
Symptoms of Joint Pain
Other causes of joint pain, such as injury or certain types of arthritis, can lead to the following symptoms:
- Swelling of the joint
- Stiffness of the joint after long periods of rest
The symptoms of joint pain will depend on the particular cause of the pain experienced, but the typical symptoms of joint pain related to menopause include: pain, stiffness, swelling, and warmth in the joints.
Limited morning stiffness, exacerbation of pain with exercise, and relief from pain with rest are also common symptoms in women who suffer from joint pain.
Causes of Menopausal Joint Pain
Like most menopausal symptoms, joint pain is typically caused by hormonal imbalance. As menopause approaches, a woman’s hormones begin to fluctuate, preparing for a permanent decrease in production of the primary hormones, estrogen, and progesterone. Although doctors are still unclear exactly how hormones, particularly estrogen, affect joints, most are resigned to the fact that estrogen (specifically a diminished level of estrogen) plays a major role in joint pain during menopause.
Estrogen affects joints by keeping inflammation down. Inflammation is a leading cause of joint pain. As estrogen levels begin to drop during perimenopause, 5 to10 year time span leading up to menopause, joints get less and less estrogen and pain often is the result.
Treatments for Joint Pain
When exploring treatments for joint pain, it’s important to begin with methods that are the least obtrusive, with the least likelihood of side effects and progress from there.
This means that lifestyle changes are the best place to begin. For instance, physical therapy can be incorporated into a person’s daily life and can ease joint pain.
Walking or simple stretches can help. Even muscle-strengthening exercise can alleviate joint pain.
Consulting a doctor or physical therapist is recommended before incorporating a new exercise routine.
Typically, combining lifestyle changes and alternative medicines will produce the best outcome. Alternative medicines can be different herbs and supplements, or even techniques like acupuncture.
When seeking out alternative medicines, keep in mind that because joint pain during menopause is associated with hormone deficiency, look for supplements that bring a natural balance to the hormonal levels, for this will go a long way to alleviate joint pain.
We recommend lifestyle changes and an alternative medicine supplement, like the Manna Menopause Support, which are loaded with phyto-estrogens which will not have any side effects.
Alter your lifestyle by eliminating sugar and starches from your diet to alleviate inflammation and pain.
The Manna Diet is an easy-to-follow plan which can help you to eliminate sugar and starch from your lifestyle.