Menopause Makes Your Back Hurt, Estrogen's Role in Joint Pain

by WV Marshall

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More than half of women in menopause suffer from arthralgia, commonly known as joint pain.

The causes of joint pain in women can be difficult to pinpoint because menopause coincides with the increasing incidence of chronic autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as osteoarthritis.

The Estrogen Link

However, the incidence of joint pain in women appears to increase during the transition period to menopause.

This is believed to be due to a drop in estrogen levels.

There are estrogen receptors in the joints.

Estrogen protects and helps reduce inflammation in joints.

When estrogen levels drop during perimenopause (the transition phase of menopause), joints can become swollen and painful.

Reduced estrogen levels also contribute to loss of bone density.

This puts postmenopausal women at an increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition in which low bone mass weakens and weakens the bones.

Along with joint stiffness, estrogen fluctuations increase joint inflammation.

This can lead to osteoarthritis associated with menopause.

Those who go through early menopause are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

Joint pain associated with menopause is usually worse in the morning and subsides as joints relax during daily activities.

Many women complain of back, neck and jaw, shoulder and elbow pain.

Applying ice to painful or inflamed areas may help.

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Back pain, particularly low back pain, can become a problem for many postmenopausal women.

A study of 5,325 women found that postmenopausal women were twice as likely to report back pain as premenopausal women.

The spine is made up of many joints, including the intervertebral joints, which allow the back to move.

Decreased estrogen levels cause more inflammation in these joints and wear and tear on the discs.


Knee pain is also very common during menopause.

This is perhaps not surprising since the knee is one of the largest joints, connecting and supporting the femur (thigh bone), patella (kneecap), tibia (shinbone), and fibula (arrow).

Your knees take a lot of stress and wear and tear throughout life as they carry a large portion of your weight.

Wrists and fingers can also be affected.

Joint pain can be accompanied by stiffness, swelling, and even shooting pains in the back, arms, and legs.

Some women report more burning, especially after a workout.

If you have joint pain, it can be difficult to differentiate between menopausal pain and arthritis pain.

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During menopause, women may be at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis (particularly of the hands) and possibly rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear of the joints.

In contrast, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease.

This means your immune system, which normally fights infection, mistakenly attacks the cells lining your joints, leading to joint swelling, stiffness and pain.

Although pain doesn’t necessarily mean arthritis, it’s important to know when to seek additional help and advice.

Stopping Menopausal Joint Pain

Although there is currently no specific treatment for menopausal joint pain, various measures can be effective.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been shown to have some benefit in relieving joint pain associated with menopause and may be considered for women with vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes (or hot flushes) or night sweats.

Simple pain relievers, weight loss, and exercise are also encouraged, especially in women with osteoarthritis.

You can also try applying ice to painful or inflamed areas.

The Cool One from Opal Cool is wearable cooling therapy to relieve back and hip pain. Use promo code MYSYSTERS20 at checkout to get a 20% discount.

The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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