Is Frozen Shoulder A Complication With Menopause?

Entering menopause is an inevitable transition for every woman, and it brings about both physical and emotional changes. There are multiple popular signs related to menopause, such as hot flashes or changes in mood.

However, there is a less discussed yet commonly found sign, too – frozen shoulder. It is a condition that is characterized by pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. While the exact link between menopause and a frozen shoulder is still under work, we are here with what has been found up till now.

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    The Link Between Frozen Shoulder and Menopause

    Frozen shoulder is medically referred to as adhesive capsulitis, a condition that brings along issues like stiffness, pain, and limited mobility. While it affects both men and women, its prevalence in women is much higher in comparison. Research shows that around 70% of individuals with frozen shoulders are women.

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    Can Menopause Cause Frozen Shoulder?

    Frozen shoulder is a consequence most common around the time of menopause. While its direct connection is not yet established, hormonal fluctuations in menopausal women are blamed.

    A significant reduction in estrogen levels plays a crucial role in increasing the risk of developing this condition. Estrogen helps in maintaining joint health and its lubrication.

    The shift after menopause leads to changes in the shoulder joint that make it more prone to inflammation and stiffness. Moreover, age-related imminent deviations, sedentary lifestyle, and underlying medical conditions like diabetes can further predispose women post-menopause to develop a frozen shoulder.

    Treatment Options

    Living with frozen shoulders is not easy and is something that needs attention. Some of the options for treatments for managing this condition include:

    • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): HRT helps minimize menopause symptoms by replacing hormones that the body no longer produces, like estrogen. It has the responsibility of providing a protective effect on the bones and joints. Moreover, calcitonin is another hormone that can be of help.
    • Lifestyle Modifications: Regular exercise regime, adequate nutrition, and weight management are crucial parts to maintain joint health. It may help prevent the onset of frozen shoulder in menopausal women. Eating a well-balanced diet includes anti-inflammatory items like omega-3 fatty acids help in this regard.
    • Surgical Intervention: There are some severe cases where conservative treatments fail to work. In such a situation, surgical intervention like shoulder manipulation under anesthesia or arthroscopic release can help. The tight shoulder loosens, and as a result, the range of motion gets better.
    • Physical Therapy: This is the foundation of any treatment for a frozen shoulder. Focusing on gentle stretching exercises improves flexibility and reduces stiffness in the joint.
    • Pain Management Strategies: You can ask for over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, if these do not seem to work, ask for a prescription from your doctor.
    • Heat and Cold Therapy: It may not be something new, but is very handy for frozen shoulder during menopause. Alternating between heat and cold packs provides symptomatic relief by reducing pain and inflammation.
    • Therapeutic Ultrasound: Ultrasonic waves or energy is exposed to the area of pain to promote tissue healing.

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    Closing Note

    We hope that this piece of reading provided the answers you seek. If you have more questions regarding frozen shoulder during menopause, get in touch with our expert, Dr. Munira Dudhbhai, MD, FACOG, certified with the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, at Lewisville Women’s Care.

    We always prioritize open communication, so consider us just a call away to help you with your gynecological health management. Call us at (972) 956-8008 to schedule an appointment today.

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