Frozen Shoulder & Menopause: Are They Connected?
Frozen shoulder is a condition caused by inflammation in the shoulder muscles and joints, which limits the range of motion and is often accompanied by pain or stiffness. People with frozen shoulders describe the process as having three stages:
- Freezing, the onset phase in which movement becomes limited. This is the stage in which sufferers report the most pain. This stage typically last 2-9 months.
- Frozen, when the shoulder stiffens and loses mobility, though the pain experienced may go down. This stage generally lasts for 4-14 months
- Thawing, when inflammation goes down and mobility is restored. This stage often lasts 5-24 months.
Though the most common cause of frozen shoulder is keeping the shoulder immobile for a period of time (most often due to injury), women over 40 are more at risk for frozen shoulders than others. But there is no causative link between menopause and a frozen shoulder, only correlative. Thyroid disorders, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and cardiovascular disease also raise the risk of developing frozen shoulder.
Frozen Shoulder Prevention
If you've recently had surgery or an injury to your shoulder area, make sure to speak with your doctor about the best gentle range-of-motion exercises you can do regularly to keep the area as flexible as possible.
You can also try gentle exercises even in the absence of surgery or injury, just to make sure the area is staying flexible.
Some studies have suggested that hormone therapy lessens menopausal women's odds of developing frozen shoulder, though further research is needed.