Menopause Joint Pain

Joint Pain During Menopause - Causes and Treatments

Muscle aches and joint stiffness are all natural signs of ageing. They often result from wear and tear on your body, loss of tone, loss of bone and body mass, long-term conditions, lasting injuries and sometimes, side effects from medications.

But if you are going through perimenopause or menopause, these pains become even more common, with research suggesting around 70% of women will experience them. And it’s the imbalances in our hormones, in particular estrogen, in our bodies that contribute to feeling joint pain (or arthralgia) and muscle aches.

If you already have a pain-related long-term condition, perimenopause and menopause may also increase your pain sensitivity due to your fluctuating hormones. Chronic pain can lead to poor sleep, lower mood and weight changes, beginning an unpleasant cycle that’s hard to break, not to mention one you don’t deserve!

This is why it’s important to look after yourself, take stock, and adjust certain lifestyle factors to minimise the chances of suffering aches and pains through the menopause transition.


What is menopause-related joint pain?

Menopausal joint pain is most commonly felt in the knees, shoulders, hands, neck, or elbows and comes in various forms, such as dull aches, spasms, burning pains, or shooting sensations. Joints can also feel stiff, and the discomfort might appear in tendons, muscles, or bones and can be felt anywhere on your body, from the jaw to the toes. These symptoms differ from person to person, making your experience unique.


The correlation between chronic joint pain and the menopause transition

This 2022 study of 200,000 women showed that those most affected by common menopausal symptoms were more likely to experience chronic pain.

The menopausal transition also increases our chances of suffering from inflammatory and musculoskeletal conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. In addition to the decline of estrogen, a painkiller that helps protect our bones, progesterone, our anti-inflammatory hormone, also dips, which may leave us more susceptible to painful swelling and joint problems.

Despite this, research into the link between inflammation and hormones is still in its infancy and developing because the interplay between all the sex hormones and their effect on a body’s inflammatory response is complex.

It’s not just joint pain that affects us in perimenopause and menopause.

There are a number of typical perimenopause and menopause symptoms that can be quite uncomfortable or, at times, painful and often resemble musculoskeletal pain or even the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, such as:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Joint swelling
  • Muscle aches and spasms
  • Low stamina
  • Low strength
  • Pins and needles
  • Migraines
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Increased inflammation
  • Digestive problems


If you are concerned about the severity and complexity of your symptoms, please seek professional medical advice to rule out any underlying health issues (like RA, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis) and get the right assistance for your journey.


How to support your joints through perimenopause and menopause

Research indicates that joint pain and muscle aches are common symptoms experienced by many women. Fortunately, there are lifestyle adjustments and treatment options to consider, ensuring you can continue to lead a more pain-free life.

Eating well

Swapping processed, convenience foods for a variety of colourful, nutrient-rich anti-inflammatory choices is a great start to supporting your body and reducing joint pain. Cherries, berries, tomatoes, olive oil, dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach, kale and silverbeet), oily fish and nuts like almonds and walnuts are fantastic foods for fighting inflammation. They also help keep you feeling fuller and more energised during the day. 

Getting enough rest

We all know getting regular, good-quality sleep can be very hard to come by during this time. But we feel more pain when we are tired. There are things we can do to welcome rest. Limiting screen time, wearing breathable bed clothes, keeping rooms dark at night and allowing yourself quiet space to rest your body, breathe and relax are all vital.

Limiting alcohol and smoking

It might be nice to enjoy a cocktail or two, but these are treats best kept for special occasions! Try keeping happy hour wines to a minimum if you want to reduce inflammation and increase your water intake. If you smoke, you are most likely making your symptoms worse, so now is a great time to seek help quitting if needed.

If it feels good, move!

Keeping as active as your pain allows is about the best thing you can do for yourself. Find something that’s low impact you enjoy, gently ease in, and pace yourself. Swimming, yoga and walking are ideal. The more you move, the better your joints will feel over time.

Keeping stress to a minimum

Easier said than done sometimes, but noticing your triggers, trying meditation, massage, going for a walk, or perhaps some simple deep breathing exercises can all positively impact how you feel and keep unpleasant menopause symptoms under control or even at bay.

The power of herbal ingredients

Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory. Gingerol is the main compound found within the root and is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities, with many studies showing it to be highly effective in helping to ease pain and reduce inflammation. 

The adaptogenic herb Bacopa Monniera is another powerful weapon to fight joint pain. Used in Indian medicine for centuries, this potent Indian medicinal plant is a notable nootropic herb but also has the ability to reduce acute pain and inflammation due to its various bioactive compounds.   

These key ingredients feature in The Menopause Co.’s Focus blend, designed to clear brain fog, support concentration, improve memory and bring clarity and focus.

Explore perscribed medications

Discuss the benefits of prescribed menopause medications with your doctor or menopause specialist. Be educated and informed so you can make the right decision to treat your unique combination of symptoms.



If joint pain is affecting you, setting your limits is key

While you can make great progress in your overall well-being by making positive lifestyle changes, learning how to manage any discomfort or pain and protect your joints will ensure you keep on track and do the best you can for your body.

Planning and structuring your day will prevent ‘pushing through’ and causing potential flare-ups. Take the time to understand what your body can physically handle, and don't be afraid to say no to activities and responsibilities that may cause you stress. For instance, would a long day walking through the city be better broken up by a rest in between or finishing up by lunchtime? Are you able to sit down if needed? Can you reduce the number of appointments you must attend each day?

By planning, prioritising and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can ensure all your good work is helping you live better. Your joints will thank you for it!



Discover our range of natural, evidance-based targated supplementsdeveloped to  support your body and your needs before, during and after this transitionary life stage.


This article has been reviewed by our expert advisory team.

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