If you’re a woman over 50, you may be all too familiar with the term “frozen shoulder.” This painful condition results from the loss of elasticity in the shoulder joint, making even the simplest of movements incredibly difficult. Frozen shoulder is often linked to menopause, as the loss of estrogen that occurs during this time can lead to the loss of elasticity in joints. However, not all women experience frozen shoulder during menopause, and not all women who experience it are post-menopausal.
What is Menopause?
As women age, they may experience several changes in their bodies. One of the most significant changes is menopause, which marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Menopause can cause several symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. It can also lead to changes in a woman’s mood and energy levels.
For some women, menopause may also be accompanied by another condition known as frozen shoulder. This condition can make it difficult to move the arm or perform daily activities.
What is a Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is a condition characterized by pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. The symptoms typically begin gradually and worsen over time. It may make it difficult to perform activities of daily living, such as brushing your hair or reaching for items on a shelf.
There are many potential causes, but the exact cause this condition is often unknown. However, some risk factors may contribute to its development, including age, diabetes and prior shoulder injury.
The good news is that frozen shoulder is often a self-limiting condition, meaning it will resolve on its own over time. However, the recovery process can be slow, sometimes taking up to two years. In some cases, physical therapy or other treatments may be necessary to help speed up the healing process.
The Link Between Frozen Shoulder and Menopause
It’s no secret that menopause can bring on a whole host of unwelcome changes, both mental and physical. One of the more frustrating issues that can arise during this time is frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis. This condition is characterized by pain and stiffness in the shoulder, which can make even simple tasks like reaching for a glass of water tough.
Interestingly, there may be a link between a frozen shoulder and menopause. This is because both conditions are associated with a decrease in estrogen levels. Estrogen plays a vital role in maintaining connective tissue health, and when levels start to decline during menopause, it can lead to the development of this condition.
Of course, not all women who experience menopause will also suffer from frozen shoulder. However, if you develop this condition, there are treatments available that can help improve your symptoms.
Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder
The most common symptom of frozen shoulder is pain. The pain may be mild at first, but it gradually gets worse.
Other symptoms include:
- stiffness and loss of motion in the affected shoulder
- a grinding sensation when the shoulder is moved
- weakness in the affected arm
This condition typically develops slowly. The symptoms may come and go at first, but they eventually become more constant. It usually affects only one shoulder but can sometimes occur in both shoulders.
Several treatments are available for frozen shoulder, depending on the severity of the condition. For milder cases, over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or aspirin can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Physical therapy is often recommended to help stretch and strengthen the muscles and tissues around the shoulder joint. For more severe cases, corticosteroid injections or surgery may be necessary.
You must see your doctor for a proper diagnosis if you think you may be suffering from this condition. Once a diagnosis is made, they can work with you to develop a treatment plan.
Although there is no definitive answer to whether or not this condition and menopause are linked, the jury seems to be leaning towards yes. The main reason for this opinion is that the hormonal changes that occur during menopause are known to decrease collagen production. This decrease in collagen production can lead to the development of the condition. So, if you’re experiencing frozen shoulder and going through menopause, it’s worth considering that the two may be linked.