The menopause and its effects seems to be a subject verging on the taboo and yet the majority of women will pass through it, affecting us all in some way – male and female.
A lesser-known effect of the reduction of oestrogen during this phase in our lives is the effect of the structure and strength of tendons. This means that some women pre and during the menopause are more likely to suffer muscular injuries such as frozen shoulder (a painful and debilitating condition most often found in women from 40 to 65); Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis. Essentially, it is easier to overload the muscles and their tendons with low oestrogen levels and cause strains. Strains can then take longer to repair, as the soft tissue structure is already weaker. Soft tissue therapy, combined with guided rehabilitation, alleviates these conditions, which can otherwise turn into a long-standing complaint. Essentially, if you have a niggle or a sore shoulder/hip/leg/foot that is starting to affect daily life, don’t ignore it. Ignoring it makes the healing process longer winded.
Soft tissue therapy and massage is an extremely powerful tool in dealing with the menopause and helps to alleviate the symptoms associated with it. Declining oestrogen levels means that sleep becomes more fragmented. Obviously sleep is of the utmost importance for a healthy mind and body – I think the effects of sleep deprivation affect literally everything in one’s life and are a massive contributory factor in post natal depression as well as other types of mental health illness. It’s likely that the mood swings associated with the menopause are linked to chronic sleep deprivation. Happily, massage and dry needling is thought to increase the likelihood of better sleep. Soft tissue therapy stimulates blood circulation, helps to activate the body’s lymphatic system; reduces fluid-retention and swelling throughout the body; releases tension in muscles and joints; and reduces pain. Massage and soft tissue therapy also calms the nervous system, and can help reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, and importantly, increases the likelihood of better sleep.
For all the negative things that accompany the menopause, I think we should stop and remember that we are lucky to have reached this milestone, so many of our mums, sisters, aunties, cousins and friends don’t reach their 40s/50s. Maybe I won’t be thinking that when I’m experiencing a hot flush at a socially embarrassing point, but I will try and keep that thought close to me – I am one of the lucky ones 🙂
If you feel that these symptoms are something you you’re experiencing, feel free to get in contact and we can talk through further how treatments can help manage the menopause 🙂
Impact of oestrogen deficiency and aging on tendon: concise review
Effect of massage in postmenopausal women with insomnia