Menopause

Treating frozen shoulder during menopause

woman sitting in yoga pose

Menopause and frozen shoulder – is there a link? Let’s explore this curious connection, what causes it to occur during menopausal stages, and find out the tips you need to know in order to fight back against it.

What is a frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder can be a debilitating condition, severely limiting movement and causing pain or stiffness in the affected area. This often-mysterious affliction is most likely to strike women over 40 years old. However, it can manifest virtually any time for men and women alike, lasting from months up to several years at its worst.

Frozen shoulder often has three main phases:

  • Stiffening – the onset of intense pain
  • Freezing – when you’re completely immobile and unable to move
  • Thawing – as inflammation subsides and movement returns again

What are the symptoms of frozen shoulder pain?

close up of woman holding her arm

A frozen shoulder can cause an ache so deep that it penetrates the joint and capsule. This pain may even make its way down to your arm, becoming more intense with any motion of the shoulder or limb. In addition, stiffness in both shoulders, as well as neck pains, are side effects that accompany this ailment.

Other symptoms include:

  • Pain that worsens at night and with movement
  • Shoulder stiffness that reduces arm mobility
  • Weakness in the affected arm
  • Motion in the afflicted arm is restricted
  • A feeling that the arm “is catching” when moved

What are the main causes of frozen shoulder?

4 question marks on paper crafts

Frozen shoulder is an ailment whose source remains a mystery. However, medical experts speculate deep tissue changes and inflammation in the joint are to blame. Women entering menopause and older individuals in their 40s are especially vulnerable to it, along with those that suffer from any combination of medical conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, thyroid problems, cardiovascular disease, and already having frozen shoulder before.

Treatment Options for Frozen Shoulder during Menopause 

A frozen shoulder can be a daunting, painful experience – it can cause immense discomfort that may last for months or even years. However, early recognition of the condition and treatments such as targeted stretches and strengthening exercises have been known to help people achieve positive results over time. A slow but steady road towards mobility awaits those who take steps early on in their healing journey.

  1. Hormone replacement therapy – menopause can be a difficult period for many women, as uncomfortable symptoms and joint pain are not uncommon during this time. But Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) offers hope by infusing the body with vital hormones such as Estrogen and Progesterone that get depleted during these years. Not only does this replenish essential nutrients to your body but it also helps ward off joint aches.
  2. Stretching and strengthening exercises – frozen shoulder is caused by an increase in collagen and can make those everyday tasks we take for granted difficult to impossible. Loosen up with exercises designed specifically to stretch and strengthen the joint muscles, so that daily activities are brought back into reach.
  3. Surgery – for those with particularly stubborn cases of frozen shoulder, a surgical procedure known as arthroscopy can be the key to restoring motion. Through this intervention, tight ligaments are cut and scar tissue is removed, giving your shoulders their much-needed freedom again.
  4. Diet – nourishing your body with nutritious, balanced meals can be a natural way to ease the burden of frozen shoulder pain. Fuelling up on healthy ingredients could bring you some much-needed comfort.
  5. Medication – there are multiple treatment options available. Manipulation under anesthesia can help reset the joint; steroid injections and nerve blocks target pain signals before they reach your brain for temporary symptom relief. However, these do not stop the buildup of fibrous tissue in the joint.

With menopausal women being at a higher risk, warding off frozen shoulder should be high priority. All it takes to prevent this condition is proactive steps such as regular exercise and lifestyle habits, plus frequent breaks in-between activities. If, however, symptoms remain persistent, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor. Exercise & medication prove effective for treatment so having a plan of action can help you regain those abilities essential for daily tasks.

Conclusion

Though frozen shoulder and menopause are both part of the aging process, there is no direct cause-and-effect relationship between them. However, estrogen levels plummet during menopause, a hormone that helps maintain healthy joints, prompting some to speculate whether it could be an underlying factor in experiencing this painful condition. Menopausal women may also experience other changes in their body which can contribute to joint pain and stiffness over time.

If you’re experiencing a stiff shoulder, don’t wait to get it checked out. Your physician can assess your condition and recommend the best route for healing – whether that’s letting time take its course or going through medical treatment – so you won’t have to suffer in pain longer than necessary.

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