Joint and Muscle Pain in Menopause
Sometimes women experience new unexplained soreness in joints and muscles unrelated to workouts or muscle injury. This phenomenon is common during menopause, typically occurring in women between the ages of 45 and 65. Joint pain in the hands is the most common complaint and is ten times more likely to occur in older women than men.
Low bone density and inflammation related to lower estrogen levels after menopause may be contributors to joint and muscle pain. Declines in estrogen may also play a role in the new onset or worsening fibromyalgia from vasomotor symptoms worsened by increased sensitivity to temperature changes. Although there is no clear evidence that hormone therapy (HT) relieves symptoms of fibromyalgia, it appears that HT may relieve muscle aches and pains post-menopause.
Other treatments include:
- Lifestyle changes that include a healthy diet, healthy weight, and good hydration
- Physical therapy with graded exercises: strong evidence exists for pain relief and weak evidence that it helps reduce fatigue
- Ice or heat
- Alternative medicines and therapies such as acupuncture or massage therapy
- Vitamins and herbal supplements
- Bioidentical hormone therapy
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories
- Avoiding activity triggers
- In severe cases, surgical intervention
Hormone therapy is not recommended for the treatment of joint pain. Daily recommendations include keeping active, staying hydrated, avoiding repetitive movements, getting a good night’s sleep, and making sure to get enough Vitamin C.