Soreness, pain, stiffness, and tension can all plague the muscles during the menopause transition. A collection of hormones - estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and cortisol - work to regulate different aspects of the muscles, including muscle mass, strength, contraction, fiber quality, and inflammation. When hormone levels shift during menopause, muscle problems can easily result. Other symptoms of menopause - which are also caused by hormonal imbalance - can contribute to tension as well. Continue reading to learn about the three approaches to treating muscle tension.
Three Approaches to Treating Muscle Tension
Three approaches are viable for women wishing to treat muscle pain. These are defined as: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications.
Women are encouraged to begin with the least risky form of treatment, lifestyle changes, before progressing to the subsequent approaches. Medications should be applied only in severe cases when all other options have been exhausted.
1. Lifestyle Changes
The first tier of treatment entails the lowest risk, but conversely, it necessitates the most self-discipline. In many cases, small lifestyle adjustments will pave the way toward relief from muscle pains in addition leading to overall better health and wellness.
The first step in relieving muscle tension is eating a balanced diet with foods that especially benefit the muscular system. Protein, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium are all essential for optimal muscle growth and functioning. Both vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation. Also, foods that contain phytoestrogens - such as soybeans, flax, and chickpeas - can boost estrogen levels. Nuts, dairy products, and tofu make a good combination to get many of these nutrients.
Foods Rich in Omega-3'
- Tuna and other fish
- Nuts and seeds
Although it may seem difficult in the face of muscle tension, regular exercise is a great way to strengthen muscles and relieve the pain. Stretching first can help lengthen muscles and reduce or eliminate post-workout soreness. Low-impact exercises like Pilates and yoga can benefit the muscles without much exertion or strain. In addition, exercise can help lower tension and stress, another contributing factor to muscle problems. Certain exercises and stretches can be done to target the muscles that are tense.
Finally, maintaining healthy habits is an essential component in treating muscle soreness. Studies have shown that smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can easily worsen hormonal balance, and since so many hormones are involved in muscle functioning, they can be greatly impacted by the use of these substances. In order to reduce both tension and the production of cortisol, it is important to manage stress effectively and sleep for at least seven hours a night, which gives the muscles time to heal.
While wholesome lifestyle adjustments can be an effective way of managing muscle tension, they can be hard to implement and continue. In addition, not all changes directly affect hormone levels. Alternative medicines, however, can treat the cause of most menopausal muscle tension at the source. Keep reading to learn more about natural treatments for muscle tension and hormonal imbalance.
2. Alternative Medicine
In this approach, many possible techniques are available, such as therapeutic massage, supplements, and warm compresses. Herbal supplements are the most commonly-used alternative treatment, since they require less time and money than options, are easier to follow, and can address hormonal imbalance.
Regarding herbal supplements, two main types can be used for balancing hormone levels: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating supplements.
Phytoestrogenic supplements - e.g., ginseng
To balance estrogen levels, these hormones contain phytoestrogens, or plant-based compounds that work like estrogen in the body. While they can boost estrogen levels, these supplements should not be used for an extended period, since introducing external hormones into the body can diminish its ability to produce natural hormones, ultimately leading to a dip in estrogen levels.
Hormone-regulating supplements - e.g., Macafem
Instead of using outside hormones, these supplements balance hormone levels by nourishing the endocrine system and thereby promoting steady hormone production. This results in a balance of not only estrogen, but also of the other hormones that affect the muscles, like testosterone. In addition, they entail little to no side effects, making them safe for any span of time.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
"Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the endocrine glands." Click on the following link to read more about Macafem.
Combining approaches is often an effective way to combat muscle tension and balance hormone levels. However, in persistent cases, women may wish to try medical treatment, but it is imperative to first understand the related risks and benefits.
The last approach involves the most risk and most often the greatest costs. In the U.S., the most popularly-prescribed medication to treat menopausal muscle tension and other symptoms of hormonal imbalance is hormone replacement therapy or HRT. While this can be a swift and potent form of treatment, it also increases the risks of various diseases like ovarian cancer, as revealed in the following study.
In 1991 , the National Institutes of Health started the biggest clinical study ever carried out in the U.S., the Women's Health Initiative. It was designed to research the pros and cons of HRT, but it was cut short 11 years later, at which point it was found that the use of artificial hormones can play a role in the development of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Other painkillers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, may be used to treat muscle tension and soreness, but could pose the risk of long term side effects, and they only address the symptoms, not the root of the problem. If muscle pain is due to an underlying condition and not related to hormonal imbalance, that condition should be treated. It's important to see a physician for a proper diagnosis and prescription.A mix of approaches is often the most effective. An increasing number of women are finding that a combination of lifestyle changes complemented by alternative medicine provides the most relief from menopausal muscle tension.
A Safe Way of Treating Muscle Tension
Making lifestyle changes:
- Eating a balanced diet full of estrogen boosters
- Exercising and stretching regularly
- Getting enough sleep each night
- Alcohol and tobacco
- High stress levels
- Excess caffeine and sugar
And taking herbal supplements like Macafem:
- Provides nutrients to the hormonal glands
- Balance all the hormones involved in muscle function
- All-natural, effective, and safe
- Maltais, M.L. , Desroches, J. & Dionne, I.J. (2009). Changes in muscle mass and strength after menopause. Journal of Musculoskeletal & Neuronal Interactions, 9(4), 186-197. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19949277
- National Institutes of Health. (2015). Muscle aches. Retrieved April 25, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003178.htm
- Office on Women's Health. (2012). Menopause and menopause treatments fact sheet. Retrieved April 25, 2016, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menopause-treatment.html
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). 18 Ways Smoking Affects Your Health. Retrieved April 25, 2016, from http://smokefree.gov/health-effects