What does ‘joint pain or stiffness’ mean to you? This is a symptom suffered by many women trans and non binary people during the Perimenopause and Menopause. It’s a recognised symptom, and many of my clients have just assumed it will improve once they pass through this transition, for some it may and for others it doesn’t, for we are all unique.

Complaints such as Frozen shoulder and Achilles Tendonitis are recognised conditions which can develop during the hormonal roller coaster of Menopause, but the inflammatory pain which can also flare up can be widespread in muscles, tendons, ligaments and any connective tissue. Some may call it wear and tear, but it can be really noticeable as our hormones start to deplete. Pain and inflammation is my teaching bag.

As a long term rehabilitation teacher I have seen a lot of it. As a long term mover myself who has pushed her body to extremes (we all do crazy things when we’re young and invincible!) I also know personally what it means. For many ‘joint and muscle pain’ will mean knees, maybe hips, and possibly fingers and toes. BUT, it also includes ongoing back pain, foot pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, you name it, it’s included. Depleting Oestrogen means we lose the anti inflammatory effect this awesome hormone gives us. Unfortunately ‘back pain’ is such a vast term and our desire to find the cause (disc, nerve etc) means the simple fact of reduced precious oestrogen can go under the radar. Of course it’s vital to see a Health care practitioner if you have ongoing pain for a diagnosis, but please remember the influence of your hormones too, and ask your Osteopath, Physio or Chiropractor to consider this also.

The classic ‘wear and tear’ diagnosis can actually mean ‘yes you have some degeneration – we all do, but now your oestrogen levels have depleted for good you are going to FEEL it more. That wear and tear may have been there for years (I know mine has) but you didn’t feel it so much, maybe not at all. NOW you do. How do we manage this new state of being? HRT can give many huge relief from pain amongst other symptoms. Of course taking it is an individual choice and there is now far more information available to help us make our choice.

Creating a nurturing movement practice using Pilates for Menopause can be a pathway back to regular exercise. Nutritious micro movements are often the starting point, and having regular treatments from your manual therapist can also support this process. For more information on the benefits of HRT go to balance-menopause.com