Menopause & muscle aches

Written by cindi pearce
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If someone tries to tell you that it's in your head, just respond that "it," the unrelenting pain, is in every part of your body and it is very real. Menopause can be a difficult time for some women. Hormonal upsets and deficits may contribute to muscular and joint aches and pains. Some menopausal women develop a condition called fibromyalgia, a cure for which still eludes the medical community. The best way to describe this condition is that it feels as though you've been beaten with a baseball bat. Age contributes to the problem. Osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear-on-the-body type of arthritis, can develop, causing a woman a lot of grief. Her joints creak and ache and threaten to collapse.

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Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is cumulative. Your joints start to degenerate as we get older, and bone can beginning rubbing against bone. This hurts. Unfortunately, our bodies aren't as capable of repairing themselves as they were when we were younger.

Other Contributing Factors

According to Susan S. Weed, author of "Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way: Alternative Approaches for women 30-90," lack of restorative sleep, which is a problem for many hot-flashing and night-sweating women, contributes to body aches and pains. In addition, nutritional deficits, such as a lack of calcium, can make a woman's bones ache.

Pain Everywhere

Nearly 50 per cent of menopausal women experience joint pain of varying degrees, according to Project-aware.org. These pains are often felt in the shoulders, knees and elbows. If you are feeling pain in your wrists, lower back or hips, Project-aware.org advises that this could be a sign of kidney weakness, an immune system malady or worsening osteoporosis.

Change Your Diet

If you are in pain daily, address this issue by first changing your diet. There are some foods that you should eliminate, including dairy products (although don't exclude yoghurt); beef, lamb and pork, which promote inflammation; potatoes, eggplant, peepers and tomatoes, which are called "nightshade" foods; sugar; monosodium glutamate (MSG); alcohol and vegetable oils (although olive oil and flax seed, sunflower oils, borage, pumpkin and sesame see oils, which are essential fatty acids, are OK).

NSAIDs

Some women find relief when they take NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

Herbs

Consider using herbs. Some herbs are rich in sterols and/or salicylates, which can provide relief from pain and also serve as anti-inflammatories. These herbs reportedly offer other benefits such as immune-bolstering micronutrients, bone-building minerals and endocrine-nourishing glycosides. Salicylates are contained in the leaves, buds and bark of poplar, true wintergreen, birches, willow and black haw tree. Sterols, which are fatty substances made up of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon, are found in plant roots such as ginseng, black cohosh, poke, sarsaparilla, wild yam and devil's club. Sterols will reportedly calm sore joints.

The herb arnica is considered a good remedy for sore, aching muscles, according to Susan Weed. Use of rhus toxiodendron also reportedly will reduce pain by 25 per cent in those suffering from fibromyalgia.

Yoghurt and Fibromyalgia

Consider eating yoghurt on a daily basis. It is believed that yoghurt nourishes and strengthens the immune system, and since fibromyalgia is considered to be the outcome of an immune system malfunction, yoghurt consumption seems to help quash the symptoms.

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