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SURVIVING MENOPAUSE: ARE YOUR JOINTS TOO ACHY FOR YOUR AGE?

Updated: Feb 26


How are your joints? Do they ache? Are you only in your 40s or 50s? One of the major symptoms of the perimenopause that creeps up on us is how achy we feel , with joints and muscles. You’ve got a long time left in your body with so many creaks and pains, so let’s get them sorted. Joint problems can be relieved by understanding what is going on and what you can do about it.

How do you know if what you’re feeling is the bone quality of your joint, as opposed to the tightness of your muscles, or a lack of fluid movement? I can tell this as a therapist when you come to see me, and then resolve these issues but I thought I would try explain how you can help and support your joints, in this month's blog Menopause: Are your joints too achy for your age?

Menopause: Are your joints too achy for your age?


You only have one set of joints, once cartilage wears out then you’re on an expanding waiting list for the NHS replacements, for hips and knees. But what about wrists, thumb joints, shoulders and necks?


Another issue with women's bone quality is the loss of density with the decline of estrogen, making bones more vulnerable to breaking. This happens when we get closer to the Menopause and the cessation of periods where estrogen has depleted by 75% and it also affects holding onto water in our body , this directly relates to the fluid in the joints. Add that to the loss of collagen too, which is the quality of out skin, tendons and ligaments which hold the joints together and you can see that the menopausal change can really take its toll on our joint and bone health. The good news is there is lots we can do about it, from supplements to lifestyle changes, and to avoid Osteoporosis (loss of bone density) post menopause it really is important to make some changes and this is one of the 2 major issues facing women, and why HRT advocates insist you need HRT. If you make changes to support your bone health then it isn't necessary to go on HRT; that then becomes a personal choice for you.

Caring for our joints can be a rounded holistic approach, not just popping a glucosamine supplement and hoping that’s enough. Take back control of your joint health, really understand what’s going on, and then do everything you can to prevent further degradation, and in fact, turn it around so your joints are your friends again, helping you out of bed in the morning, not disabling you!




Joint health starts with listening to your joints!

Really listening to your joint (the sounds!), feeling what is going on, knowing what does/doesn't relieve the pain, ache, or soreness; whether you prefer hot or cold on it when it aches.

There are so many different feelings you can have in a joint, identifying what is really going on in there is the root to resolving your pain effectively and looking to long term joint health improvement. Take these points and use them to increase the longevity of your joints:

Lubricate Your Joints


Lack of lubrication in the joint will sound like clicks and crunches. And may feel stiff/ cold (especially wrists!) ; but better with movement. Massage the joints to get the blood and fluids moving around, keep them warm, and jiggle them to loosen muscles and tightness, you can prevent Carpal tunnel syndrome this way.

Tightness in the joint, like the knees, are they difficult to bend? Look to your muscle flexibility and include long slow stretches, especially good to open the knee joint. Kneeling regularly is great for opening tight knee joints, and the pigeon yoga pose for hips (just google!)


Strengthen weak muscles


Weak muscles allow joints to feel unstable, maybe your knee 'gives way' - Strengthen your quad muscles to gain more control over sitting and standing with ease. Not only do strong muscles protect joints, they also protect if you fall too, this is good for post menopause to prevent broken bones.


Does one leg feel longer than the other? Do you favour leaning on one leg over the other especially when you're stood up and chatting? You more than likely have a pelvic imbalance. If you hips are out not only does that affect the hips, knees and ankles, and puts pressure into the heel (plantar fasciitis) or exacerbate pressure on the big toe joint, it also affects upwards - how straight your spine is, gives you opposite shoulder pain and puts tension through your neck which is trying to hold up quite a heavy load (your head!). This is one for the professionals, to resolve. I do it sympathetically by muscle massage and release. I don't believe in bone clicking, that just causes trauma. Your in safe hands with me if you'd like to have your pain resolved gently :)



Feed Your Joints - Nutrition


During the menopause transition a stress is put on your adrenal health and if you add in that you have a stressful life this takes its toll on the amount of nutrition that reaches your bones. They are first in the queue after blood, but think of tendons and ligaments, they have no direct blood supply and can therefore lack in nutrients. Stress releases cortisol, and this leeches the nutrients we have in our diet therefore we need to put back in. If you're now extremely tired after exercise when you didn't used to be, and you take longer to recover, you are depleted of nutrition. There are plenty of supplements that you can add in , you'll need them for all of your symptoms, so check out my guides here.


If you're peri/post menopausal in losing 75% of your estrogen you'll have lost almost the same in collagen, this appears visibly as sagging skin, but also it affects the quality of your tendons ligaments, and in extreme cases slows down wound healing. To combat this you need to repopulate collagen and stimulate growth, this can be done with taking a collagen supplement and taking very high doses of Vitamin C.



Detox Your Blood


A highly acid diet, means the more toxins in your blood the more corrosive this is to your cartilage , wearing it down before its time. This maybe felt as grinding in the joint if it's advanced. However if you have a lot of processed foods, stimulants and sugars, then add Cloudy/ cold pressed Apple Cider Vinegar into your diet plus eat plenty of vegetables and berries as these are anti-oxidants and combat the toxins. Also Vitamin C and E in your diet are powerful anti-oxidants as well. Keeping you liver working smoothly will greatly help your joint health as it cleans your blood over night. f you need help learnin about a liver detox I have a guide here.


Exercise that's right for your joints


Again as your body changes your health requires changes to support the wear and tear on your joints, plus an increased loss in muscle mass means targeting your exercise effectively. The types of exercise you do can be altered for the better, cutting down on high impact and hard cardio and thoughtfully replacing with moderate impact, increasing flexibility and balance.






Get help with resolving your menopause symptoms with natural remedies


It's confusing to know where to start isn't it especially with overwhelm at all the advice on the internet. You're here though so let me help you, I've spent over 5 years solely researching, observing and helping women resolve their menopause symptoms naturally and effectively; and I have a variety of ways in which I can help you. If overwhelm is a real problem for you and you'd like clarity on what to do next choose my complementary no-obligation phone chat.


A short call with me with gives you options on how you can move forwards to relieve joint pain, brain fog, fatigue and a host of symptoms that are bringing you down and as this doesn't need to be so!


Working with me will see over a 50% reduction in symptoms in 4 weeks. Book a call with me here


Meet Andrea


Andrea is a shiatsu and chinese medicine practitioner who uses the principles of chinese medicine in a completely practical way to help you resolve your symptoms naturally and effectively. If you live locally you can book in for wonderfully relaxing Shiatsu for Menopause, otherwise Andrea does online indepth consultations where you'll leave with an simple steps actionable plan to follow.


Andrea was hit hard with perimenopause in 2016 and didn't realise it until bells starting ringing at a talk one day. She tried a menopause supplement and it gave her hot flushes! Realising that this wasn't straightforward she turned to her Chinese medicine books and pieced together the underlying health imbalances that cause symptoms. She resolved hers and her clients quickly and is now in a position to help you too.


Andrea Marsh Shiatsu and Chinese Medicine Practitioner | Cotswold Menopause


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Beware Menopause-branded supplements

There is very little scientific backing on most of the supplements that are currently flooding the market at present - you are being sold to; you are being promised that this one pill will solve everything. I look at the ingredients and percentages of all supplements that I'm notified about or come across. Do not believe any menopause expert endorsement; I don't know who these women are.

 

The menopause experts that I trust don't endorse any of the products I've looked at. Some supplements will help with some symptoms; it's better if the supplement is targeted to a small set of symptoms that are linked; it's more likely to be effective.  They can be a good starting place but over time will become less effective; don't be disheartened it's likely that they don't have enough dosage in for what you now need. I have a Starter Supplement Guide that  explains what you need and why you need it i effective levels to help relieve your symptoms naturally.

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