How to Treat Menopause Joint Pain

3 minute read

By: Alloy Staff|Last updated: May 10, 2022
Medically reviewed by: Sharon D. Malone

It doesn’t seem fair. Another menopause symptom? Come on! 

For millions of women across the globe, menopause joint inflammation can be a daily occurrence that puts a serious damper on everyday life, turning an already challenging phase into what feels like an uphill battle.

As with other menopause symptoms, there are steps you can take that make things better. Understanding what may be causing joint pain and discovering what you can do about it can help a lot. You deserve to enjoy your life, and pain doesn’t need to be part of it.

We’re here to give you all of the necessary tools to reduce menopausal joint pain.

What Causes Menopausal Joint Pain?

Menopause can have a lot of different effects on the body. The symptoms of menopause are caused by the body’s decreased production of estrogen as we age. From increased anxiety to hot flashes to hair loss, if you want something to aim your frustrations at, decreased estrogen is a good place to start. 

Joint pain is a little more involved than some of menopause’s other hormonal changes, however, so it’s important to understand exactly how lowered estrogen affects your joint health.

The Role of Estrogen

While the impact of estrogen levels on your mental and emotional state may be mostly clear, the role that the hormone plays in your physical state may seem abstract at first. Our bodies are densely populated by receptors that react to all kinds of different chemicals released by the brain and other bodily systems. Estrogen receptors are just one of many, but they have an extensive reach that includes the tissue around your joints.

When estrogen binds to these receptors, it’s thought to have a protective effect that keeps the joints from feeling too stiff or swollen. As estrogen levels decrease during menopause, the tissue around these joints loses some of that protection, thus creating the not-so-lovely joint pain and stiffness that so many menopausal women experience every day.

What Does Menopause Joint Pain Feel Like?

The severity and type of joint pain can vary for everyone. Some women may experience stiffness or tightness in their joints during physical activity, but it’s also possible for there to be a dull aching during moments of rest. Other women feel a burning sensation and occasional shooting pains. 

Joint pain can vary in intensity as well. As with other menopause symptoms, there are good and bad days.

What Joints Are Most Affected?

When it comes to where you’ll feel the most joint pain, the most commonly affected areas are the knees, shoulders, and hips. These are parts of the body that do a lot of work, and once the protection granted by estrogen has declined, this strain will begin to show through unwelcome aches and pains. It’s also possible to feel joint pain in your jaw, neck, elbows, wrists, and fingers.

What Time of Day Is Joint Pain the Worst?

No one likes to start their day in pain, but menopausal joint pain isn’t very considerate. In most cases, joint pain will be the worst first thing in the morning, as that’s when your joints are generally at their least flexible. Once you’ve had time to stretch and move around a bit, your joints adjust and become less stiff.

What’s the Treatment for Joint Pain in Menopause?

If you’re looking to get rid of painful joints, there are a number of things you can do to lessen the aches and stiffness. While not every technique may work for everyone’s unique situation, it’s better to know all possible options so that you can find the solution that works best for you.

Weight Loss

Trying to lose weight can be difficult under any circumstance, and the effects of menopause can sometimes make it seem like a fruitless endeavor. When it comes to joint pain relief, however, shedding excess weight can help take significant stress off of your body. The knees and hips are especially vulnerable to the stress of body weight, and if the cartilage in your joints has also worn away with age, menopausal joint pain can have serious effects on those areas.

Even if it’s just a few pounds, taking that additional strain off of your joints can significantly reduce your overall feelings of pain.

Getting Enough Sleep

The time we spend sleeping is vital to our body’s ability to naturally recover from daily stresses, especially physical strain. If you don’t get a good night’s rest, you may find that your joints hurt more than usual because they haven’t had a chance to fully rest themselves. Getting a proper amount of sleep allows any possible swelling or stiffness in your joints to relax, that way they don’t feel progressively worse as days go on.

Low-Impact Exercise

Joint pain can turn some exercises into a painful endeavor, but one of the best ways to relieve aches and pains is to remain as physically active as possible. Low-impact exercises like yoga or swimming are great ways to keep your joints flexible and help you build up a tolerance to certain movements so that your joints can become less stiff over time.

Exercises like weightlifting or running should be done in moderation. They put a significant amount of stress on sensitive joints like the knees and shoulders.

Over-the-Counter Painkillers

In some cases, joint pain can become so persistent that the best way to manage it immediately and in the long term is through over-the-counter pain medication. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are common painkillers used to help reduce menopausal joint pain and inflammation. 

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

You can also focus on making anti-inflammatory foods and nutrients a large part of your diet. These include:

  1. Fruits and vegetables

  2. Whole grains

  3. Omega-3 fatty acids

  4. Dark chocolate

  5. Nuts and seeds

  6. Certain oils (oily fish, olive oil, etc.)

Menopause Hormone Therapy

As we mentioned earlier, menopausal symptoms are largely caused by hormonal changes that cause just about every other menopausal symptom. It only makes sense that menopause hormone therapy can get your levels back up so that your body can feel like how you remember it before menopause began.

Alloy was founded on a desire to relieve joint pain and other menopause symptoms to help women through every step of their menopause journey. Visit our Solutions page to get started with your menopause treatment.

When Should I Go to the Doctor?

Joint pain is definitely uncomfortable, but it’s rarely an emergency that needs to be addressed by a doctor. However, sometimes joint pain can be serious.

When Joint Pain Is an Emergency

Joint pain can become an emergency in some rare cases, and you should see your doctor if you notice any swelling, redness, or tenderness in the area around a joint. These could be indicative of a greater issue and should be addressed immediately to prevent any damage.

Turn to Alloy for Help with Joint Pain and Other Menopause Symptoms

You don’t have to deal with menopause symptoms like joint pain alone. Our hormone solutions are designed to balance out your hormones and help you live the life you deserve.

We make menopause treatment easy–just choose a product, complete our medical intake form, and start a conversation with our doctor.

Menopause is a journey. We’re here to ride with you.

Written by:

Alloy Staff

Who is Alloy? Alloy exists to help women age healthfully and feel like their best selves. We approach women’s health with radical honesty. We fuse together powerful medical expertise, science backed treatments, and the support of a community that knows how you feel. We don’t just get you - we are you.

Medically reviewed by:

Sharon D. Malone

Dr. Sharon Malone is among the nation’s leading obstetrician / gynecologists with a focus on the specific health challenges associated with menopause.