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Aching Joints & Muscular Issues

Menopause Joint Aches

From stiff fingers and sore wrists to creaky knees, menopause joint aches can make everyday tasks a challenge, leaving you pained and drained. If you've been experiencing joint pain, you may have assumed you're just "getting older." However, like many women in their 40s and 50s, your bone health and joint mobility may be profoundly affected by the hormonal shifts that take place during menopause.

Definition of Menopause Joint Aches
Menopause joint pain, medically known as "arthralgia," occurs when the joints become swollen, stiff or painful during menopause. Also known as "menopausal arthritis," menopause joint aches affect the back, knees, hips and extremities.

Menopause joint aches most often cause pain and soreness in the back, knee joints and hips. However, many women also experience pain throughout the other hundreds of joints in the body during menopause. Women may find that fingers and wrists become especially sore during menopause, particularly with repetitive motion. Some women may find that joint stiffness becomes worse in the morning, with swelling occurring around joints at the end of the day.

As a result of menopause joint pain, many women may find their range of joint motion – and thus their choice of activities – become limited. For many women, menopause joint aches can also make exercise painful. Movements like running, jumping or lifting can cause joint pain to worsen during menopause, as well. Women may experience shooting pains down the arms, legs or back, as well as heat within the area surrounding the joints, creating a "burning" sensation after motion stress. Because the body contains more than 350 joints, women may also experience symptoms of menopause joint pain throughout the body, including the jaw, shoulder, elbows and neck.

Symptoms of Menopause Joint Aches
During menopause, declines in estrogen can lead to changes in the brain's levels of neurotransmitters – chemical messengers that regulate energy and mood. As levels of such neurotransmitters – such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine – become altered, mood changes occur. Anxiety often occurs as the body's "fight or flight" reaction becomes activated, preparing the brain and body to respond to a crisis. Unfortunately, as these chemical changes take place, the brain and body often prepare for a crisis when there is no present threat. Other causes of anxiety can include trauma survival, generalized anxiety disorder, stress overload , and a host of other psychological and physical conditions.
- Stiff joints
- Difficulty walking or running
- High impact pain
- Painful joints
- Swelling around joints
- Burning sensations
- Limited range of motion
- Numbness
- Injuries and accidents
- Aching joints
- Shooting pains
- "Creaking" knees
- Back pain
- Sore hips
- Finger and wrist pain
- Swollen ankles
- Pain that subsides with rest
- Osteoporosis

Risks of Menopause Joint Aches
Aching joints can affect activity levels during menopause, due to pain that occurs with high-impact activities. When chronic, menopause joint pain can even lead to isolation and depression. In some cases, movements made to compensate for aching joints may also cause injuries. Menopause aching joints can also make exercise needed in midlife difficult, leading to weight gain, obesity and compromised cardiovascular health.

Causes of Menopause Joint Aches
Like many menopause symptoms, aching joints occur due to significant hormonal imbalances that take place during menopause, affecting the bones and joints throughout the body. Because estrogen plays a role in preventing inflammation throughout the body, estrogen deficiencies that occur in midlife can lead to inflamed, painful joints. Declining hormone levels also can cause midlife weight gain, particularly around the belly region, causing greater stress on the joints. Testosterone levels can also fluctuate during menopause, leading to muscle loss that also strains joints.

Hormonal changes in the body can also lead to a loss of bone density, as declining hormone levels prevent proper absorption of calcium and prevent new bone growth. This can lead to another symptom associated with hormonal imbalances – osteoporosis – further exacerbating joint problems during menopause.

Non-hormonal causes of joint aches can include injuries, genetics, bone diseases, cancer and metabolic conditions.

Treatment of Menopause Joint Aches
While the underlying cause of menopause joint aches is the hormonal imbalances that occur with age, self help measures may help alleviate joint pain temporarily, as well. Physical therapy, exercise, stretching, and muscle building can all help prevent joint aches during midlife. Ensuring that you receive plenty of Vitamin D and calcium as part of a balanced menopause diet can also help strengthen bones and ward of osteoporosis and its precursor, osteopenia. Over-the-counter or prescription painkillers, and hot baths can also help alleviate joint pain momentarily.

However, long-term resolution of menopause joint aches must address the underlying hormonal imbalances that cause joints to ache, swell and stiffen. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) offers one option for women seeking to rebalance hormones during menopause, but its association with serious health risks of cancer, stroke and heart disease has made it a less popular choice in recent years.

Amberen provides an all-natural way for your body to resume its natural hormone production. By fostering communication of hormonal needs in the body, Amberen enables your body to balance its own hormone levels safely and naturally. As hormones readjust to their optimal levels, symptoms of menopause – including joint aches – disappear.

Menopause Joint Aches FAQs

Q: When should I seek medical help for joint pain?
A: If you are experiencing joint pain as the result of an injury or accident, medical examinations can prevent worsening of joint problems. Any time that joint pain persists beyond three days, travels to other joints, or is accompanied by fever, redness, or unexplained weight loss, medical attention should be sought.

Q: What is joint ache?
A: Joint pain is an aching and stiffness that can occur in any joint in the body. It may present as a chronic affliction as in the form of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, or may be temporary problem as in the case of an acute injury.

Q: What causes joint aches?
A: Causes of joint pain can be:

Hormonal changes in the body- Women approaching menopause may experience many changes in their bodies due to the decline in the hormone production of estrogen. Estrogen at normal levels in the body is considered to have anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. When estrogen levels become depleted during menopause, sensitivity to pain increases. Normal wear and tear on joints throughout the years may now be keenly apparent without the protection of estrogen. • Autoimmune disorders- When the immune system receives confusing signals causing it to attack the body, long term inflammatory disorders may arise. Arthritis and lupus are two of these disorders and are sometimes difficult to treat.

• Poor nutrition- Certain vitamin deficiencies and consumption of toxins can significantly contribute to joint pain. Excess intake of animal proteins, animal fats, and processed foods and sugar all play a factor in contributing to joint aches.

• Obesity- Excess weight carried on a frame meant for someone much smaller induces extreme stress and tension on the joints. Over time, the joints tend to quickly degenerate and deteriorate as a result of bearing to much weight.

• Injuries- Joint aches can be felt acutely in the case of recent bodily injury or may manifest itself over the years as a result of old sports or accident injuries.

• Gout- When uric acid accumulates over time in middle aged or older men, it results in urate crystals that build up and aggravate the lining of the joint. Typically, only one joint is affected, but gout can affect as many as three joints at the same time.

• Infectious diseases- Chicken pox, mumps, shingles, hepatitis and rheumatic fever are all infectious diseases that can cause significant joint aches.

• Bone diseases- Osteoarthritis is a non-inflammatory bone disease that is a result of deterioration within the joint capsule. This may be a consequence of old injuries or abnormal wear and tear from constant repetitive occupational activity. Other types of bone diseases are Paget's disease, sickle cell anemia and bone cancer.

Q: Is there any treatment for joint pain?
A: Other than joint replacement surgery for those suffering from osteoarthritis, joint pain cannot be cured but it can be effectively managed. The following are viable options in palliative treatment of joint pain:

Weight Loss
Our joints carry our weight and the development of joint pain is strongly associated with excess bulk. Studies have shown that even moderate weight loss can have a considerable effect in relieving joint aches.

Dietary Changes
Stiff and aching joints can be abetted by significantly reducing consumption of animal fats and animal proteins, processed foods and saturated fats. Introducing foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines and flaxseed, can promote joint health.

Exercise
Non-impact workouts will keep the joints moving and lubricated which greatly aids in reducing pain and stiffness. Cycling, walking and swimming or all excellent aerobic activities that improve joint problems and address weight issues. Yoga and tai chi are isometric practices that can render relaxation, flexibility and strength to the joints.