I am closing in on my 45th birthday, and the perimenopause is in full swing. With each new day comes a new symptom. Recently, I’ve noticed significant pain in my right shoulder which has limited my range of motion. It absolutely came out of nowhere, and it’s extremely uncomfortable. The best way to describe the pain is that my shoulder is tight and it feels like I’ve “slept on it wrong.”
Every day I find myself doing shoulder rolls and shrugs—and popping a couple of ibuprofen—to get relief. I tried adjusting my sleeping position to see if that would help. So far, it hasn’t. And that’s because my pain has nothing to do with my sleeping position.
I finally found out why this sudden shoulder pain appeared when I came across Dr. Mary Claire Haver, a prolific and popular doctor on social media who focuses on menopause.
That’s not an official medical specialty, per se. But, Dr. Haver has made it her own rare specialization for the purposes of providing information that many women wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
According to a recent post from Dr. Haver, the recent shoulder pain I have experienced is an extremely common symptom of menopause known as “frozen shoulder.” And about 70 percent of her patients who experience it are between the ages of 40 and 59.
The Common Denominator
“What do women between the ages of 40 and 59 all have in common?” Dr. Haver asked in a recent TikTok post. The answer is: The loss of estrogen during perimenopause and menopause.
As the doc explained in the clip, estrogen is an anti-inflammatory hormone. If you “take it away, things get inflamed.” With that short phrase, a lot of things started to make sense to me and many other women my age. The comments section proved it.
“Hold up. Is this why my shoulder feels like it’s full of bolts sometimes? It literally happened overnight a couple years ago,” one person commented. Another added, “Wow! This was me. Why do I have to find answers on TikTok?”
The Masked Singer star Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg even chimed in to share that she’s experienced it, and she had a treatment solution.
“I had it bad. Yoga really helped it. It’s gone now,” McCarthy wrote.
Other treatment options for frozen shoulder—as outlined by the MayoClinic—include OTC pain medications like ibuprofen and aspirin. To help recover shoulder movement, consult a physical therapist for some range-of-motion exercises.
If severe symptoms persist for more than 12 to 18 months, it’s time to talk to your doctor about more aggressive forms of therapy, like steroid injections and hydrodilatation.