Hands up, who is experiencing some (additional, worsening) achiness or pains in their joints since beginning to shelter in place? 

Schedules have turned on a dime, and so have a few roles and responsibilities over the last few weeks with the outbreak of coronavirus, COVID-19. Amid changes around the kids' schedules, work logistics, or even being lately laid-off, there can be a tendency for people to shut down on some level, not only emotionally, but physically. 

 

Do any of these menopause symptoms for aching joints apply to what you’re going through?

You may be sitting for longer-than-usual periods of time, and feeling stiff or painful when you get up to run errands, prep or make the next meal, or take a bio-break. 

You may be working longer hours in a chair or even at a standing desk. And while we affirm that there are definitely a few benefits to the Netflix&Chill movement, we’re also firm proponents of experiencing (and enjoying) some varied tasks each day. 

 

Gennev is telemedicine for women. Online healthcare & support at home is here.

 

Incorporating a little more movement to prevent stiffening or aching joints or weight gain can likely help brain and body balance as well. Shake up your day a little bit; variety in the schedule is a good thing!

 

What else could be causing pain or aches in my joints now?

It could very well be perimenopause or the onset of menopause. Review the Big List of common menopause symptoms or take our initial online assessment

So, what’s the connection between aching joints/joint pain and menopause? A handful of studies have been conducted, and more are needed. This study, led by clinical research psychologist Carolyn Gibson, Ph.D. with the San Francisco VA Medical Center, shared that women with menopause symptoms are nearly twice as likely to have chronic pain diagnoses, such as fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, and back pain.

When it comes to science and studies, observations are noted, but testing and specific findings have not been done. The observations that were documented:

"(Menopausal) Arthralgia is experienced by more then half of the women around the time of menopause. The causes of joint pain in postmenopausal women can be difficult to determine as the period of menopause coincides with rising incidence of chronic rheumatic conditions such as osteoarthritis. Nevertheless, prevalence of arthralgia does appear to increase in women with menopausal transition and is thought to result from reduction in oestrogen levels." — M. Magliano

Plus,

"Chronic musculoskeletal pain represents an enormous health burden, affecting over 50% of adult populations. Common sites of pain are the spine, knee, hand, hip and shoulder.1,2 There is a female preponderance irrespective of the cause of the pain.1,3,4 At the time of menopause, musculoskeletal pain is reported by more than half of women.5 Presentation with joint pain in women is greatest between 45 and 55 years of age.6 Although this appears to implicate the menopause and estrogen deficiency, direct causal evidence of a role for menopause is lacking, partly because musculoskeletal pain is so common throughout life." — Fiona E. Watt

The above study also notes that it is difficult to assess whether musculoskeletal pain is caused by arthritis or arthralgia due to the way previous epidemiological studies have reported on joint pain.

 

First things first

Talk with your doctor. This is a great topic to talk about and try out Telemedicine at the same time. 

Safe movement is key here, so discussing best exercise options with one of our Gennev primary care specialists (or your doctor) online can support your physical, mental, and emotional health while minimizing exposure risk to COVID-19.

While you’re on the call, ask about nutrition, supplementation (specifically, magnesium glycinate for joint pain and as a sleep aid), best forms of exercise, and stress management. 

Movement is a helper, now more than ever, for physical, mental, and emotional health. We’ve got a short, browsable list of recommendations:

 

Movement resources 

  • Get moving with Gennev Health Coach Stasi: Click to and follow Gennev’s Instagram video channel (IGTV) for workouts and talks with Menopause Coach Stasi, an exercise physiologist and registered dietitian. She’s ready for you.
  • Best workout videos on YouTube, according to Greatist.com: Equipment-free and created with working out at home in mind. There are 7 equipment-free workouts, plus yoga, barre, and a few other types of workouts. Links and options aplenty, right here.
  • Easing in: If you’re wanting to start moving more, gentle stretching and gentle yoga may be a nice fit for you. Yoga with Adrienne has a playlist called Yoga for Uncertain Times that’s timely and on point.
  • Reducing chronic pain: This post shares 7 exercises that can reduce chronic pain. Take a look… how about test-driving a few?
  • 10 ways to work out at home when you’re stuck inside: The Los Angeles Times shared some pointers and offered a breakdown of categories, according to what you may be up for (or seeking). Options for de-stressing, immersive experience and more. Click, pick, and enjoy.

 

More regular movement can support your whole body in myriad ways. If the topic of productivity feels like one of your pressures right now, a little time invested in exercise can assist in minimizing worries and maximizing your ability to sleep, stemming menopause symptoms, lubricating your joints and muscles to alleviate pain, and releasing needed endorphins. 

Balance out your schedule, engage in fantastic self-care, and feel better with a little more safe, regular movement.

 

What types of exercise are you considering right now? We’d love to hear about what’s working for you in the Gennev Community Forums. Join us.

 
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