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Is Frozen Shoulder Linked to The Menopause?

lady touching her shoulder in pain

When it comes to women’s health, menopause and perimenopause symptoms are common topics. Women who approaching middle age often want to know what the signs of menopause are, and many question whether the symptoms that they are experiencing are due to their hormonal shifts, or just part of the natural aging process.

Menopause shoulder pain is one such symptom. Many women going through the transition notice that they develop a frozen shoulder.

But is there a connection between the two things? Here, we discuss some of the most important topics relating to frozen shoulder and the menopause.

What Is The Menopause And What Are Its Symptoms?

lady looking at the sunset over the sea

Viewers of “This Morning” will almost certainly have seen the Lisa Snowdon menopause feature in which she attempts to raise awareness of the challenges associated with this time in a woman’s life.

The menopause is a natural process that all women go through when they reach a certain age. It signals the end of a woman’s reproductive years, and her periods will eventually stop altogether.

For some women, the menopause is an easy transition with no bothersome symptoms. But for others, it can be a tough time, with symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and changes in mood.

The menopause is the stage of life that women reach when they’ve had no period for a whole year. When women are menopausal, their oestrogen levels rapidly decrease and this leads to a range of symptoms that can be uncomfortable and difficult to live with.

These symptoms include poor sleep, depression, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, hot flashes and, potentially, joint pain.

Understanding Menopausal Transition

lady mopping her brow in the mirror

The average age for women in the UK to reach the menopause is 51, but some will experience it much earlier. In fact, around 1% of women will go through the menopause before they are 40 years old.

There are three stages to the menopausal transition. The first is called perimenopause and this can begin a few years before the menopause actually occurs.

This stage is often marked by irregular periods and hormonal fluctuations, but it can also cause joint pain, including menopausal shoulder pain.

The second phase of the transition is called actual menopause, and this generally lasts around 4-5 years. Many women experience worsening symptoms during this phase.

The final stage is called post-menopause and this is when periods stop for at least 12 months.

Read more about the menopause in our previous blog here Is the menopause affecting your sleep 

and here

Sleep problems and the Menopause  

 

Many women find that their symptoms improve during this stage, but some will continue to experience menopausal shoulder pain and other menopausal symptoms.

 

Can The Menopause Cause Joint Pain And Stiffness?

lady holding her hands around her neck in pain

Women who experience perimenopause neck and shoulder pain often ask whether it is the cause of their joint pain, and it’s true that oestrogen has protective effects on the joints and bones.

More than half of all women going through the menopause have some degree of joint stiffness, but since menopause typically occurs around the time when musculoskeletal problems first begin to arise, it’s hard to say whether it directly causes joint pain.

Menopausal symptoms can make existing joint problems worse, however, and this is particularly true of menopausal shoulder pain.

How To Stay Healthy During The Menopause

When it comes to women and health during the menopause, it’s clear that taking a proactive approach to symptom management is key to easing the transition. Menopausal women should:

  •       Stop smoking
  •       Eat healthy low-fat, high-fibre foods
  •       Consume plenty of vitamin D and calcium
  •       Maintain a healthy body weight
  •       Do plenty of weight-bearing exercises like dancing or climbing stairs
  •       Remain physically active
  •       Sleep well, keep cool in bed, try pure cotton breathable Dohar bedding (read more about Dohars here )  check out our Dohar Collection Here 

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How To Ease Joint Pain During The Menopause

There are a number of ways to help treat joint pain if you are going through the menopause. They include:

  •       Losing some weight if you’re overweight.
  •       Reducing stress in your life as anxiety and depression make any joint pains feel worse. Undergoing CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) can help change how you think about your joint pains.
  •       Get more and better quality sleep regularly.
  •       Improve your posture and strength to reduce joint and muscle pains and to improve suppleness and flexibility.
  •       Take simple painkillers or use anti-inflammatories.
  •       Take medically prescribed HRT oestrogen treatments.
  •       Take plant-based oestrogen supplements such as wild yam, vitamin E, or evening primrose oil.

It’s important to note that you should always be careful about taking dietary supplements since in some cases they may not be safe for you to take due to other conditions you may be suffering from. It’s imperative to consult with your doctor before you take any kind of treatment, medication, or dietary supplement to ensure that it is safe for you to use before you go ahead.

What Is The Link Between The Menopause And Frozen Shoulder?

At present, there’s no evidence of any direct link between menopause and frozen shoulder but it’s important to note that the menopause involves changes in hormones which may contribute to musculoskeletal conditions like frozen shoulder.

What Do I Need To Know About Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is the name given to an inflammatory condition which involves fibrous tissue developing around the joint in the shoulder, resulting in stiffness, reduced mobility, and pain.

Typically, symptoms of this condition begin suddenly and include extreme stiffness and pain at the front of the shoulder. Moving the shoulder becomes difficult and this has a negative impact on daily activities.

There are several possible options for treating frozen shoulder. Medication and physical therapies are the two primary treatment choices, although patients can discuss their possible treatment options with their doctor.

The exact cause is unknown, but it’s thought to be due to a combination of factors, including age-related wear and tear, injury, and inflammation.

Preventing Frozen Shoulder

There are a number of things you can do to prevent frozen shoulder, including:

  •       Exercising regularly to keep your muscles and joints supple.
  •       Avoiding injury to the shoulder.
  •       Managing any conditions which may contribute to the development of frozen shoulder, such as diabetes.
  •       Keeping your shoulder mobile with regular, gentle exercises.

If you think you may be suffering from a frozen shoulder, it’s important to see a doctor or medical professional as soon as possible so that they can diagnose the condition and begin treatment. With the right treatment, most people make a full recovery within 12-18 months.

Diagnosis for Frozen Shoulder

If you are experiencing the symptoms of frozen shoulder, it’s important to see your doctor so that a proper diagnosis can be made. There are several common diagnostic tests which may be used. These include X-rays and MRI scans, both of which will allow your doctor to determine what specifically is causing your pain and stiffness.

Overall, the best way to manage the condition is through regular physical therapy or pain management treatments. These can help to ease your symptoms and improve mobility in the shoulder joint. If your symptoms are particularly severe, or do not respond to other treatments, surgery to remove may be recommended by your doctor. However, it’s important to note that surgery should only be considered as a last resort and there are other exercise-based techniques that can help.

Soothing Shoulder Techniques That Can Help with Frozen Shoulder

lady stretching and  folding arms on her head

One of the most effective ways to manage frozen shoulder symptoms is through exercise. Here are some simple exercises that you can do at home to help relieve your freezing shoulder pain and regain more mobility in your shoulder.

Exercises you can try:

  •       Passive arm swings: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your arms hanging by your sides, and swing your arms up and down. Start slowly, working up to 10 reps per set, then rest for a minute before repeating the set.
  •       Cross-body arm swings: Stand in the same position as above but cross one arm over your body as you swing it up and down. Repeat with the other arm, switching sides after each set.
  •       Shoulder roll: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly roll your shoulders forwards and backwards in a circular motion. Perform 5 reps per set, resting for 1 minute after each set.
  •       Shoulder shrugs: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lift your shoulders up towards your ears, tensing your shoulder muscles. Hold for a few seconds and then release, working up to 10 reps per set. Rest for 1 minute between sets.
  •       Pendulum stretch:  Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold onto a sturdy object for support. Slowly move one of your legs out to the side, feeling the stretch in your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides. Repeat 2-3 times per set, resting for 1 minute between each set.
  •       Finger walk: Start in a seated position with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Reach one arm out in front of you, keeping it straight. Use your fingers to walk up and down the arm, starting from the hand and moving up to the shoulder. Repeat with the other arm. Work up to 10 reps per set, resting for 1 minute

Following these simple exercise routines can help reduce the pain and stiffness associated with frozen shoulder, allowing you to regain more mobility in your shoulder and improve your overall quality of life. If you are experiencing serious pain, however, you should consult with your doctor or physical therapist to discuss other possible treatment options.

Although joint pain and especially frozen shoulder can prove to be very troublesome during the menopause, it’s possible that you may be able to improve the symptoms by taking some simple steps to change your lifestyle or by seeking advice from your medical practitioner about which treatment options may be the best choice for you based on your overall health and well-being history.

Which Activities Can Become Difficult To Complete With a Frozen Shoulder?

There are a number of activities that may become difficult to complete with a frozen shoulder, including simple tasks such as lifting your arm above your head or reaching for something. People who suffer from frozen shoulder often experience difficulty sleeping due to the pain and stiffness in their shoulder joint, which can make it more challenging to rest and recover. Activities that require repetitive motion or force, such as lifting heavy objects or playing sport, may also become difficult to complete with a frozen shoulder.

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available that can help to manage the symptoms of frozen shoulder and improve your overall quality of life. Making small changes to your lifestyle, such as taking more frequent breaks during periods of heavy activity or wearing supportive shoulder braces, can help to reduce pain and stiffness associated with a frozen shoulder. If you are experiencing severe symptoms that do not respond to other treatment options, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the affected tissue in order to restore full range of motion to your shoulder.

 

lady using acupuncture needles

Get Started On The Path To Recovery

Whether you are experiencing mild to severe pain or stiffness in your shoulder, it is important to seek treatment and medical advice as soon as possible. With the right diagnosis, treatment plan, and self-care techniques, it is possible to manage frozen shoulder symptoms and regain mobility in your shoulder joint. Whether this involves exercise routines, pain management treatments, or surgery, the most important thing is to get started on the path to recovery as soon as possible.


 



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