My Knee Says It’s Going to Rain Later...
It’s what the Tin Man asks for in The Wizard of Oz, to lubricate his metal joints so that he can move.
If you wish you could do the same, and you’re suffering from joint pain, menopause may be the culprit.
Unless you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, or even Lupus or MS, chances are this is chronic inflammation in your body. Bone density loss from aging and hormone changes can contribute to the symptoms.
Experts believe that over half of postmenopausal women experience some degree of joint pain. This pain is a consequence of immune system changes which occur as a result of unstable hormone levels.
What to do?
Keep a record of your pain over a week or so, then discuss with your doctor about your symptoms so you can eliminate any other possible causes.
Your doctor may suggest HRT to reduce the inflammation and relieve the pain. See our article here on the pros and cons of HRT (and the alternatives).
Other things you can do to relieve the joint pain are: eating fewer simple sugars and refined carbohydrates, increasing fruit and vegetable intake, supplementation with multivitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, and regular moderate exercise.
The food you eat is a major factor in inflammation. Trigger foods include: corn and corn products, gluten, yeast, eggs, citrus, and members of the nightshade family – eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. Sugar and processed foods can increase inflammation.
As much as possible eliminate foods that are known to contribute to body inflammation and your joint pain may improve significantly:
• Sugar (and sugar products such as soda pop, candy, etc.). Check all label contents for sugar content and you may be surprised how much sugar is in your food.
• White flour products
• ‘nightshade’ foods (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers)
• Citrus, with the exception of lemon and grapefruit
• Dairy products, with the exception of plain yogurt with active culture
• Meat including beef, pork, and lamb
• Vegetable oils (use grapeseed oil for cooking, use olive oil in salads and include the essential fatty acids flax seed, sesame, pumpkin, borage, sunflower oils)
• MSG (monosodium glutamate)
You may want to check out Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid for some guidelines about what is best to eat and the quantity.
Consider testing yourself for food allergies using the above mentioned foods. Stop eating them for two weeks, then introduce one at a time and note any affects, especially related to digestion issues and/or pain.
Here’s something you will find easy to add: Increase your water intake – starting first thing in the morning. Add the juice of ¼ or ½ fresh lemon to 12-ounces of water to help alkalize your system. Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge and refill it in the early afternoon. Then stop about 2 hours before bed so you don’t spend the night in the bathroom.
MOVE. Try walking even a short distance, once a day, starting slow. Then work up to walking a bit further each week. Also yoga gives you both the meditation (which helps relieve stress) and easy stretching without jarring your joints
Finally, consider massage or acupuncture. It isn’t for everybody – but it just might be right for you!
Bottom line: Menopause can cause joint pain. But what you eat and how you move can play a huge role in relieving that pain.