Arthritis On Top Of Menopause You’ve Got To Be Kidding
Unfortunately, it is common to have joint pain accompanying menopause whether you are peri- post- or somewhere in between. There are a few reasons for this which you will be able to see below.
One caveat I do want to mention first is that there is hope even if you have menopausal arthritis. There is hope for pain relief and better movement. There is hope for an active life.
For example, one woman I recently met was dealing with joint pain from bone on bone knee arthritis that escalated once she passed menopause. She was able to find hope for her condition even though surgery was the only option she was told about.
After going through my signature Arthritis Adventure Blueprint she is now able to JUMP! Take a look at this!
Menopause does not need to take away your active lifestyle. You just have to do the right things to keep your joints healthy even with lower estrogen levels.
Menopause is a natural process most women endure and at least half of those women will experience joint aches and pains. These can commonly occur in your neck, shoulder, knees, hips, or hands. Lets take a look at some of the symptoms.
Ligament Injury Of The Knee
Trauma can cause injury to the ligaments on the inner portion of the knee , the outer portion of the knee , or within the knee . Injuries to these areas are noticed as immediate pain, but are sometimes difficult to localize. Usually, a collateral ligament injury is felt on the inner or outer portions of the knee. A collateral ligament injury is often associated with local tenderness over the area of the ligament involved. A cruciate ligament injury is felt deep within the knee. It is sometimes noticed with a “popping” sensation with the initial trauma. A ligament injury to the knee is usually painful at rest and may be swollen and warm. The pain is usually worsened by bending the knee, putting weight on the knee, or walking. The severity of the injury can vary from mild to severe . Patients can have more than one area injured in a single traumatic event.
Ligament injuries are initially treated with ice packs and immobilization, with rest and elevation. At first, it is generally recommended to avoid bearing weight on the injured joint and crutches may be required for walking. Some patients are placed in splints or braces to immobilize the joint to decrease pain and promote healing. Arthroscopic or open surgery may be necessary to repair severe injuries.
Tips From Myrateam Members
Many myRAteam members share home and natural remedies that have helped their knee pain:
- Ice is your best friend. Try a polar ice unit it’s a little cooler with a host and cuff attached, one member said. Fill with ice and a little water, wrap around your knee, elevate, and relax for about a half hour. The ice water circulates all around your knee, it’s heaven.
- Biofreeze is great, another member noted. You can buy large tubs of it from Amazon for much cheaper than the drug stores.
- A warm compress really helps, one member said. I use a heating pad.
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Dont: Ignore New Or Worsening Knee Osteoarthritis Symptoms
Knee osteoarthritis is a chronic condition, which means that pain is always possible, Pisetsky says. However, if pain grows more severe and occurs at rest instead of after periods of activity, or if it awakens you from sleep, it could mean that your knee osteoarthritis is progressing, he says. Other symptoms such as swelling, a locked knee, or one that just gives way are concerning, too. Let your doctor know about new or worsening symptoms, as an adjustment to your treatment plan may be necessary.
You Need Resistance Training
It is absolutely vital that if you are over 50, going through menopause and dealing with joint pain- resistance training is a must.
Resistance training, using weights when exercising has been shown to actually reduce the severity of menopause symptoms.
A randomized controlled trial in 2019 found that after 15 weeks of resistance training, hot flashes decreased in both severity and frequency for post-menopausal women.
Building strength is of the utmost importance to help with healthy body composition, weight loss, improved quality of life and joint support. Contrary to popular belief, strength training is one of the best things you can do for osteoarthritis too. Learn more about that here.
Resistance training has also been shown to improve bone health, as the risk for osteoporosis also increases with menopause.
When you have arthritic joints on top of feeling fatigued and unmotivated from menopause, strength training can be scary, even impossible at times. that is why I created a 4 Day Kickstart Your Arthritis Adventure Challenge to show you exactly how to safely strength train with arthritis.
One of the biggest barriers people face is the fear that they will make their joints or the pain worse with exercise. With menopausal arthritis though, you cannot afford not to strength train. You have to build up the support around your joints to help absorb some of the stress from the weakened cartilage.
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Running Safely With Knee Osteoarthritis
Knee osteoarthritis doesnt have to stop you from running when done carefully, it can actually reduce pain associated with arthritis.
Many people mistakenly believe that running causes knee osteoarthritis however, doctors now know this is not true. Researchers who compared long-term effects of walking, running and other strenuous forms of exercise found that running significantly decreased the risk of hip and knee replacement, while other forms of exercise increased it. Another long-term study of runners versus non-runners showed that the runners did not have a higher incidence of knee osteoarthritis than the non-runners.
While doctors are still trying to understand how running can improve knee arthritis directly, it is well understood that running can facilitate weight loss, which is known to significantly reduce stress on joints and improve OA symptoms.
Running can be a healthy way to manage symptoms of knee osteoarthritis, but there are a few considerations that should be made before you begin.
Take it Slowly, and Listen to your Body
Like with any new fitness program, its important to start slowly. D. Casey Kerrigan, MD, a pioneer of gait analysis research at Harvard University and owner of OESH Shoes, suggests working closely with your doctor and physical therapist, listening to your body and using pain as a signal to back off when youre pushing too hard. The goal is to run without knee pain. Build up to it, says Dr. Kerrigan.
Get The Most Out Of Your Virtual Care Experience
Some aspects of your care might be a little different, so you might need to prepare a little more, highlights Patricia when speaking of virtual care. As we continue to navigate the changes brought on by COVID-19, virtual care is a great avenue to improve your access to care while staying in the comfort of your own home.
For the best virtual consultation experience, here are a few tips:
- Dress in loose, comfortable clothing so you can move around easily.
- If your appointment will occur over the phone, think about how to best describe what your joint looks like.
- In the case that your appointment will be over a video call, make sure you are in a space where you can move comfortably and show your joints.
- Try to log in early so you can check your internet connection!
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When Should I Have A Knee Replacement
Great question !! The person in the examining room who determines when you should have a knee replacement is you. This is predominantly a quality of life procedure. Therefore only you can determine if your quality of life is affected enough that you are willing to assume the significant risks associated with joint replacement surgery. If a surgeon tells you to have knee replacement surgery simply because you have bone on bone changes on your Xrays, then you are in the wrong physicians office.
Disclaimer: this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.
Exercise And Other Knee Arthritis Remedies
For both OA and inflammatory knee arthritis patients, exercise is a key component of treatment, particularly if youre overweight or obese
Physical therapy may be a necessary first step for some to strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee joint and improve range of motion. Low-impact exercises walking, cycling, or swimming are usually best for those with arthritis of the knee, but you may be able to do higher-impact exercises if dont have much joint damage.
To help make activity more comfortable, your doctor may recommend using assistive devices such as a cane or a knee brace or sleeve. Wearing well-cushioned, shock-absorbing shoes or inserts is also key unsupportive styles such as flip-flops and flimsy flats only exacerbate knee joint pain. High heels, which throw off your alignment and place added stress on your knees, should also be avoided.
Its also a good idea to talk to your doctor about how to get more rest, since many people with arthritis experience sleep disturbances that studies suggest can lead to pain, depression, and greater disability. Simply practicing good sleep hygiene sticking to a regular bedtime, keeping your bedroom quiet and dark, exercising during the day, etc. can help in many cases.
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Inflammatory Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis: Causes And Symptoms
Arthritis actually describes over 100 different conditions that affect joints and the surrounding tissue. They fall into two main categories: inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis .
Inflammatory arthritis is a systemic disease in which the mechanisms that normally protect your body attack your own joints and tissues instead. The most well-known example is rheumatoid arthritis its hallmark symptom is prolonged stiffness and achiness in the morning after waking up. RA also tends to be symmetrical, meaning you’ll have problems in the same joints on both sides of your body, like both wrists or both knees.
The second type of arthritis and the most common form is osteoarthritis. A degenerative disorder, it’s caused by trauma or age-related wear and tear on your joints over time. Osteoarthritis is most likely to affect weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hip, lower spine or big toe, but it can also cause pain and stiffness in your thumb or finger joints.
How To Get Moving Every Day
In addition to physical therapy, its critical to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine.
Joints are built to move, says Dr. Day. The evidence shows that people who are least active have more arthritis pain than people who do some form of exercise. Choose lower-impact activities, such as bicycling, swimming or exercising in a pool.
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Understand What Is Possible
Before we go any further, I want you to know that climbing stairs with knee arthritis wont damage your joint IF your joints are ready for it! The idea of learning the things to avoid is going to set you up for success in preparing your knees to climb stairs with ease. But first, I want to give you a sneak peek into some of the things my clients did to make stairs a breeze now.
When Should A Person With Arthritis Ask For Help
Ask for help when you need it.
Depending on yourself is important. But there may be times when you’ll need assistance. Remember it’s okay to ask for help. Your family or doctor therapist or nurse friends or religious group and many other community agencies are close at hand-ready to help you when you need them.
While it maybe hard to admit that some things are more difficult to do than before it is important to get help when you need it. This is especially true for activities that place a lot of stress on your joints. Your family and friends will understand you better if you share your feelings with them and let them know how they can help you.
You may even find that your family and friends have some of the same emotional reactions to your arthritis as you do. They may feel shut out or frustrated when they aren’t able to help. Tell them that the amount of pain and stiffness you feel varies throughout the day and from day to day. Using a scale from one to 10 to describe feelings helps family members and friends understand changes in severity. Try to involve your family in decisions about sharing chores and making new arrangements of shelves and furniture. Ask your friends for their understanding if you have to change or postpone plans you’ve made.
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How Is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed
There is no specific test for osteoarthritis. Your doctor will confirm or rule out osteoarthritis based on your symptoms and a physical examination. Some signs they may look for are:
- swelling around the joints in your body
- damage to joint cartilage cartilage is the smooth, cushion-like surface that covers the ends of your bones to allow them to move smoothly
- spurs extra bone growing around the edge of a joint
- weakness in the ligaments and tendons the connective tissue that holds your joints together or attaches muscles to bones
Your doctor may refer you for an x-ray to look for narrowing and changes in the shape of your joints. A blood test may help to rule out other types of arthritis .
Making Daily Activities Easier
Cooking and cleanup
- Plan meals ahead to lessen last-minute tasks.
- Use electric appliances such as can openers, mixers, crock pots, microwave ovens, and dishwashers to get the job done with less energy and stress on your joints.
- Place a mixing bowl in the sink while stirring. A damp cloth underneath will help keep it from slipping. Hold the mixing spoon like a dagger to take stress off your hands.
- Hammer rustproof nails through a cutting board to secure vegetables while cutting.
- Use a French chef’s knife which keeps hands in good position for cutting slicing and chopping.
- Use disposable aluminum baking pans for easier cleanup.
- Spray a non-stick product on pans or line with foil before baking or frying. Use lightweight baking dishes, plates, pots, and pans and serve from them. Use a wheeled cart to move heavy items from place to place. Sit on a high stool while cooking or washing dishes. Store appliances within easy reach. Use long-handled reachers.
Laundry and housecleaning
In the bathroom
In the bedroom
- Keep files and supplies within easy reach.
- Use vertical files on your desk for current work.
- Install work assist arms or wrist rests at your keyboard.
- Use a glare screen and paper holder on your monitor.
- Use lateral file cabinets for easier access.
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What Challenges Does Arthritis Pose
People with arthritis experience some changes and challenges that are different from those of people with other diseases. For example:
- arthritis is usually long-lasting
- the course is often unpredictable
- pain depression and excess stress may result
- activities can be limited
- the ability to express and enjoy sexuality may be affected
Adjusting to the changes experienced with arthritis takes time. However there are things you can do to better cope with the situation. With work and understanding you can learn to deal with the effects of arthritis.
Stop Ignoring Your Physical Limitations
Just as there are people with arthritis who aren’t active at all, there are those who push beyond their limits. The trick is to pace your activities. Overdoing it is just as harmful as underdoing it.
Pushing your limits can increase pain and put you at higher risk of joint damage. Respect pain and choose activities with your physical limitations in mind.
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Are There Complications Of Osteoarthritis
For many people, living with osteoarthritis will not cause major problems. However, complications that may arise from severe osteoarthritis include:
- deformity due to swelling of the joint
- poor sleep due to pain
- reduced ability to exercise
- restrictions performing daily tasks
As osteoarthritis is a long-term condition, you may feel anxious, frustrated or upset about how it is affecting your life. Talk with your doctor or a friend you trust if you need help and support.
Find Simple Ways To Move
If you have hip or knee osteoarthritis, staying active can be a challenge.
But staying active can help you manage your pain. Consider incorporating the options below in your daily routine:
- Aim for 3,000 steps a day. If you are able, you can work your way up to 6,000 steps or more! Use hiking poles or a cane to ease any pain and improve your walking pattern.
- To put less of a load on your hips or knees, biking and water-based exercises are great options.
- Mind-body exercises like Tai Chi can help to improve strength, balance and your mood.
Its important to remember that aiming for 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day is a great way to start. This doesnt have to be one 30-minute chunk you can exercise in 10-minute intervals throughout the day too, says Patricia.
You might also consider attending a GLA:D Canada Hip and Knee Arthritis Exercise Program after consulting with your family doctor or arthritis specialist.
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