Definition of Menopause Muscle Problems
Menopause muscle problems occur when muscles feel weak, tight, spasming, or tensed up due to hormonal declines. During menopause, muscle tension is an uncomfortable – or even painful – condition, causing strain and soreness in the muscles throughout the body.
Muscle problems can run the gamut during menopause, ranging from chronic tension to “charlie horses,” spasms and twitching of the muscles. Many women experience chronic pain and soreness in the muscles of their bodies. Women may also experience muscle cramping throughout the body during menopause, causing physical exhaustion and immobility.
Symptoms of Menopause Muscle Problems
Despite a myriad of menopause symptoms, some women suffer from twinges of muscle pain and irritation. Unlike other neurological symptoms of menopause such as migraines, mood disorders, or difficulty concentrating, muscle problems can start and stop without notice. Twinges of pain, lack of muscle control or sharp tingling sensations can occur in the upper extremities, neck, chest, and shoulders. Other menopause related muscle pain can occur in the hip, back and knees.
Although muscle problems can be indicative of typical muscle or joint strain, these menopause muscle reactions often have no trigger. Some women experience some muscle twinges that cause pain that ceases, abruptly. Other women experience pain that can last several minutes. As with other menopause symptoms, these muscle problems arise from the loss estrogen in the body. As estrogen wanes, the nervous system's muscle connections can go haywire, causing false sensations of pain, tingling, numbness and for some women even severe and debilitating temporary pain.
Browse through other muscle problems symptoms caused by menopause:
Muscle strains and sprains
Lack of mobility
Causes of Menopause Muscle Problems
During menopause, muscle tension often occurs due to hormonal imbalances that women experience as they transition out of fertility. In response to descending levels of estrogen and progesterone, levels of stress hormones – particularly cortisol – rise. As a result, muscles tighten throughout the body, leading to chronic muscle tension, fatigue, weakness and spasming. Imbalances in testosterone can also contribute to muscle problems during menopause, as women find it more difficult to build and maintain muscle strength and tone.
Other factors that may worsen menopause muscle problems include ongoing emotional stress and anxiety that may also occur due to hormone imbalances. Some women may experience greater muscle strain due to midlife weight gain that occurs during menopause. Lifestyle factors such as injuries, lack of exercise and incorrect posture may exacerbate muscle problems during menopause, as well.
Menopause Muscle Problems Treatments
Because menopause muscle problems occur due to hormonal fluctuations and imbalances, establishing hormonal balance is the key to successfully alleviating muscular issues in midlife. Other treatments may include prescription painkillers, over-the-counter medications, application of heat, increased nutrition and hydration. In severe cases of muscular injury, physicians may recommend surgery to remedy chronic pain.
Some women may find low levels of relief from herbal remedies or alternative medicine techniques such as yoga or qi gong. However, unless the underlying hormonal imbalances that cause menopause muscular issues are addressed, chronic muscle stress and tension may continue.
Menopause Muscle Problems FAQs
Q: Can weight training improve muscular problems during menopause through muscle strengthening?
A: While weight training can provide muscle tone and strength that can benefit women’s health during menopause, muscular problems arising from hormonal imbalances will not resolve with weight training. Women should always consult their physicians and fitness instructors before starting a new exercise regime, to ensure against injury.
Risks of Menopause Muscle Problems
In some women, muscles can even grow weakened over time, leading to injuries such as strains and sprains in the extremities, back and neck. In some cases, muscle problems can even lead to bone breakage, particularly in women experiencing osteoporosis alongside menopause muscular issues. Over time, women can experience depression, added weight gain and fatigue from the ongoing muscle problems that occur during menopause.