A woman’s body goes through many changes around menopause because of the dramatic decline in estrogen production beginning in perimenopause.
We all get aches and pains from time to time, however, we usually know the cause: heavy lifting, too much gardening, over exercising etc. Women approaching menopause report that they experience, pain, sore muscles that strain easily or find that they are holding tension in the muscles throughout the day, for no apparent reason.
Muscles, tendons and bones all have estrogen receptors and these parts of the body can suffer and become weaker from a lack of estrogen resulting in daily pain.
Menopause muscle pain is closely related to stress and anxiety.
Muscle pain tension is the feeling that muscles are always tight or strained, sometimes to the point of frequent pain or even persistent and ongoing pain. The pain or cramps can be in any of the body’s muscles.
As menopause nears, a woman’s body reacts in many ways. The main female hormones, estrogen and progesterone begin to fluctuate erratically as they prepare to settle into low levels for the remainder of your life.
Both estrogen and progesterone play a part in causing menopause muscle pain.
Estrogen applies a suppressing affect on the stress hormone cortisol. When estrogen is too low, levels of cortisol rise raising blood pressure and blood sugar. High levels of cortisol against low levels of estrogen leads to chronic muscle tension, fatigue, weakness and muscle spasms.
Progesterone has a calming effect on the body and mind. When levels of progesterone begin to decline prior to menopause, muscles have a tendency to become tense.
Imbalances in testosterone can also contribute to muscle problems during menopause, as women find it more difficult to sustain muscle strength and tone.
During menopause your body lays down an extra layer of fat around the middle “apple shape”. As a result of this weight gain some women may experience greater muscle strain.
Causes of Muscle Tension
- Primary cause – hormonal imbalance as a woman approaches menopause
- Past injuries
- Bad posture
Most Commonly Reported Symptoms of Muscle Tension
- Twinges of pain
- Lack of muscle control
- Tightness in the muscles (back, shoulder, neck and abdomen)
- Sharp tingling sensations
- Muscle tenderness
- Tension headaches
- Stress and anxiety
- Muscle spasms
What Can You Do?
- Eat a well balanced diet – high in nutrients and minerals. Take a supplement if you think your diet is lacking in essential nutrients
- Avoid/moderate caffeine consumption
- If you smoke – quit
- Stay hydrated – 8 glass of water per day is the recommended intake for adults
- Exercise regularly – keep your body supple with stretching exercises and maintain a healthy level of fitness
- Temporary relief of pain – can be found from painkillers, heat pads, herbal remedies or alternative medicine techniques such as yoga, massage, acupuncture etc
- Take steps to ensure that you achieve restful sleep each night
- Taking a high quality menopause supplement can help to ensure that you are taking in enough essential vitamins and minerals.
- Take time out for a professional bra fitting as you may well be wearing the wrong size and fit. A badly fitting bra can cause back pain or make existing back pain worse. It can also cause you to slouch which will not help your posture.
- Establishing hormonal balance is paramount to successfully alleviating menopause symptoms. This can be achieved by:-
- Making healthy lifestyle changes
Miller, M. (Sep 2013) The Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Chronic Pain in Menopause. Retreived from http://www.healthline.com/health-blogs/hold-that-pause/anti-inflammatory-diet-chronic-pain-menopause
Muscle Tension During Menopause. Retrieved from http://www.menopausecentre.com.au/Symptoms-muscletension-menopause
Harpaz, M. (Jul 2015) What Muscle Pain During Menopause Is Trying To Tell You. Retrieved from http://menopauseweightloss.org/what-muscle-tension-during-menopause-is-trying-to-tell-you/