We all get aches and pains from time to time, usually we know the cause: too much gardening, walking, lifting and so on. HOwever as women approach menopause they can often notice such pains but without any related reason, but there is one and it is our shifting hormone balance.
Women do report that they experience painful, sore muscles that strain easily, or simply find they are holding tension in the muscles throughout the day. This is not something to be ignored because with today’s more sedentary lifestyle we put ourselves at risk of injury and even weight gain and that is something that most women want to avoid.
Identifying What’s Wrong
You know there is a problem when your muscles feel weak, tight, or go tense and into spasm and you have no obvious physical activity to relate it to. Ongoing muscle tension is uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, and this can cause strain and soreness in the muscles throughout the body.
Most commonly seen are twinges of muscle pain and irritation which can start and stop without notice. Twinges of pain, lack of muscle control or sharp tingling sensations can occur anywhere and although they may seem typical muscle or joint strain, menopause muscle reactions often have no trigger.
Why Is It Happening?
The reason for this occurring is often due to falling oestrogen and progesterone levels. In response to this the levels of stress hormones – particularly cortisol – rise. As a result, muscles tighten throughout the body, leading to chronic muscle tension, fatigue, weakness and spasming. Imbalances in testosterone can also contribute to muscle problems during menopause, as women find it more difficult to build and maintain muscle strength and tone.
This imbalance can affect the nervous system’s muscle connections, causing false sensations of pain, tingling, numbness and for some women even severe and debilitating temporary pain. Other factors that may worsen menopause muscle problems include ongoing emotional stress and anxiety that may also occur due to hormone imbalances. Some women may experience greater muscle strain due to midlife weight gain that occurs during menopause as the body lays down extra layer of fat on the belly in order to produce oestrogen.
What Can you Do?
Because menopause muscle problems occur due to hormonal fluctuations and imbalances, establishing hormonal balance is the key to successfully alleviating muscular issues in midlife. Women need to be aware of their hormonal status, and for the majority this may mean supplementing with progesterone or with oestrogen and progesterone,depending on their menopausal symptoms.
Ensuring a sensible weight and keeping the body flexible and at a healthy level of fitness through some form of regular exercise will all help. Temporary relief from muscle pain and discomfort can be found from painkillers, herbal remedies or alternative medicine techniques such as chiropractic, acupuncture yoga or qi gong. However, unless the underlying hormonal imbalances that cause menopause muscular issues are addressed, chronic muscle stress and tension may continue.