Does Menopause Cause Joint Pain: Separating Fact from Fiction

joint pain menopause and achy joints Mar 06, 2023
Jigsaw puzzle pieces on red background and person holding sore knee.

Introduction to menopause and joint pain.

Menopause is a natural biological process - although many think of menopause as a long lifestage, in fact it actually means the day on which you haven't had a period for 12 months. That day normally happens in women between the ages of 45 and 55, although it can happen earlier or later and it may happen as a result of surgery or illness at a different age too.

During the PERI - menopause, the time leading up to the menopause, the body experiences a decrease in oestrogen production that can lead to various symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, and mood swings.

Joint pain is also a common complaint among women going through menopause, but does menopause cause joint pain? Let's delve deeper into this topic and separate the actual facts from the scaremongering fiction we see on social media!


The common myths surrounding menopause and joint pain.

There are several common myths surrounding menopause and joint pain, including:

  • Myth 1: Menopause causes joint pain.

Reality: Menopause itself does not cause joint pain. However, it's the decline in Oestrogen ( which works a bit like WD40 for our joints!) which occurs in peri-menopause that can cause additional joint pain and stiffness.

  • Myth 2: Joint pain only affects women in menopause.

Reality: Joint pain can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. However, women are more likely to experience joint pain during menopause due to hormonal changes.

  • Myth 3: Joint pain during menopause is always severe.

Reality: No! Let's not get all doom and gloom. Joint pain during menopause can range from mild to severe. Some women may not experience any joint pain at all!

  • Myth 4: Joint pain during menopause is inevitable.

Reality: Another NO!! Joint pain during menopause is not inevitable. Some women may not notice any joint pain, especially if they are very active. And even when it does occur there are several lifestyle changes and treatments that can help manage joint pain, such as exercise, a healthy diet, and over-the-counter or prescription pain medications.

  • Myth 5: Joint pain during menopause is a sign of arthritis.

Reality: Joint pain during menopause can be a sign of arthritis, but it can also be caused by other factors such as injury, overuse, or inflammation. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider to determine the cause of joint pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan.


The role of hormones in causing joint pain during menopause.

Once we understand the huge role that our female hormones have throughout the body, it's easier to understand why we have certain symptoms if those hormone levels drop. Hormones play a significant role in causing joint pain during menopause, as I mentioned earlier the decrease in the production of oestrogen, is a key player. 

Oestrogen has anti-inflammatory properties, which means that it can help reduce inflammation in the body. When oestrogen levels decrease during menopause, the body may produce fewer natural painkillers, which can lead to increased pain sensitivity.

Additionally, oestrogen helps to protect and maintain bone density- that means keeping the bones strong and less likely to break. When oestrogen levels decline, the bones may become weaker and more susceptible to fractures, which can cause joint pain and stiffness.

Progesterone, another hormone that decreases during menopause, can also contribute to joint pain. Progesterone has a muscle-relaxing effect, and when levels drop, muscles can become tight and sore, leading to joint pain.

Overall, the hormonal changes that occur during menopause can have a significant impact on joint health and contribute to joint pain and stiffness. 


How to ease joint pain during menopause with lifestyle changes and treatments.

There are several lifestyle changes and treatments that can help ease joint pain during menopause.

These include:

  1. Exercise: Of course!! My advice is to include three different types of exercise in your week, and to ensure you are following the advice of a fitness coach trained in MENOPAUSE.  I'd include daily walking, weekly STRENGTH, RESTORATIVE and CARDIO exercise. For more information on HOW to do this, see the end of this blog!

  2. Diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and adequate lean protein can help reduce inflammation in the body and support joint health.

  3. Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the strain on the joints and ease joint pain.

  4. Hot and cold therapy: Applying heat or cold to the affected joint can help reduce pain and stiffness. A warm bath or heating pad can help relax muscles, while an ice pack can help reduce inflammation.

  5. Acupuncture: Acupuncture, a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting needles into specific points on the body, can help relieve joint pain and improve joint function.

  6. Medications: Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help reduce joint pain and inflammation. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any medication for longer than a few days. 

  7. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): HRT can help restore hormone levels in the body to a point which will reduce joint pain and stiffness. However, it is important to weigh the benefits and risks of HRT with a healthcare provider, as it may not be suitable for everyone.

When everything aches and you feel like the last thing you want to do is exercise, it's hard to imagine that it will help, but believe me a combination of movement, exercise, rest and sleep will really help manage joint pain during menopause.  


When to seek medical attention for severe or persistent joint pain during menopause.

If you experience severe or persistent joint pain during menopause, it is important to seek medical attention. Joint pain can be a sign of a serious underlying condition, such as arthritis, and prompt treatment can help prevent further damage.

You should see a healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:

  1. Severe joint pain that interferes with daily activities or sleep.

  2. Joint pain that lasts for more than a few days.

  3. Joint pain that is accompanied by swelling, redness, or warmth in the affected joint.

  4. Joint pain that is accompanied by fever, chills, or other signs of infection.

  5. Joint pain that is accompanied by unexplained weight loss.

  6. Joint pain that is affecting multiple joints.

Your healthcare provider may recommend diagnostic tests, such as X-rays or blood tests, to determine the cause of your joint pain. They may also recommend medications or other treatments to help manage your symptoms.


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If you have been looking for a way to include more movement and exercise into your week to help reduce pain, improve strength and mobility - my MENOPAUSE FITNESS classes would help you!  

To find out more about them book a No Obligation FREE 15 minute discovery call and I'll tell you how I can help you get back to being pain free, fitter and stronger - in 6 weeks! 

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