Neck Tension & Perimenopause

August 23, 2023.

Neck tension in perimenopause is a common question in our community. A perry sister recently asked:

Does anyone else have more tension in their neck & jaw? If you do, what has helped you? Let’s dive into the world of neck tension & perimenopause and get the answers we need.

Table of Contents

  • Can perimenopause cause neck tension?
  • What are the causes of neck tension in perimenopause?
  • How long does neck tension last during perimenopause?
  • Can neck tension be a sign of a more serious condition during perimenopause?
  • What can be done to relieve neck tension during perimenopause?
  • Can lifestyle changes help alleviate neck tension during perimenopause?
  • Are there any natural remedies that can help relieve neck tension during perimenopause?
  • What medications are available to relieve neck tension during perimenopause?
  • Can stress management techniques help alleviate neck tension during perimenopause?
  • Valuable Sources to Remember  

Can perimenopause cause neck tension?

Indeed, perimenopause can lead to tension in the neck. As women approach menopause, hormonal changes can trigger a range of symptoms, one of which is muscle tension, particularly in the neck and shoulders. According to The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), (now Menopause Society) this is a common yet often overlooked symptom of perimenopause. 

“Hormonal fluctuations during perimenopause and menopause can cause muscle tension. This tension can manifest in various body parts, with the neck being a common area.” – NAMS

Furthermore, the stress often associated with this transitional stage in a woman’s life can exacerbate muscle tightness. It’s worth noting though, if neck tension is severe or persistent, it would be advisable to consult a healthcare professional to rule out other possible conditions.

Neck tension is a common symptom of perimenopause, but it’s important to rule out other potential causes.
– Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale University School of Medicine

What are the causes of neck tension in perimenopause?

During perimenopause, the fluctuating hormone levels, particularly a drop in estrogen, can lead to various physical changes and symptoms. Neck tension is one of them. It’s not entirely clear why this happens, but several theories exist. 

The Hormone Theory 

The first theory revolves around hormones, specifically estrogen. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) notes that as estrogen levels decrease during perimenopause, women may experience increased muscle and joint pain, which can include neck tension.1 

The Stress Theory 

Another theory suggests that the stress and anxiety associated with perimenopause could contribute to neck tension. It’s well-established that stress can lead to physical symptoms, including muscle tension. The NAMS confirms that women during perimenopause can experience higher levels of stress.2 

The Sleep Disruption Theory 

The third theory involves sleep disruption. Many women in perimenopause experience sleep issues due to night sweats and hot flashes. Lack of quality sleep can result in increased muscle tension, including in the neck.3 

How long does neck tension last during perimenopause?

Neck tension during perimenopause can vary for each woman. Generally, it’s related to fluctuating hormone levels, specifically estrogen, which can affect the muscles and tissues around the neck area. This can result in periodic tension. 

  • The duration of this tension can range from a few days to several weeks, with intensity levels fluctuating through the menstrual cycle.
  • In some cases, the tension might linger until menopause is reached and hormone levels stabilize.
  • However, it’s essential to note that every woman’s body and experience with perimenopause is unique. For some, neck tension could be a minor or infrequent discomfort, while others may deal with it more consistently.

Related: Connect with more than 15k women in our leading (& free) app about real-life experiences in perimenopause

Can neck tension in perimenopause be a sign of a more serious condition? 

Neck tension itself is not typically a sign of a more serious condition during perimenopause. It’s often a symptom of hormonal changes, stress, or poor posture. However, it’s essential to listen to your body and seek medical advice if the tension persists or is associated with other concerning symptoms. 

What can be done to relieve neck tension during perimenopause?

Neck pain associated with perimenopause can be frustrating, but it’s important to know you’re not alone and there are ways to find relief. Approaches can range from lifestyle changes to medical interventions. Let’s explore some effective strategies. 

  1. Firstly, acknowledging that this is a common symptom can provide a sense of relief. According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), it’s not uncommon for women to experience musculoskeletal changes, including neck pain, during perimenopause. As estrogen levels fluctuate and decrease, it can affect the body in various ways, potentially leading to increased tension in muscles and joints. One effective strategy for managing this symptom is regular physical activity. Exercise can help to maintain muscle tone and flexibility, reducing the likelihood of tension and discomfort. It’s recommended to engage in a combination of aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises for optimal benefits.
  2. Another approach is to seek medical advice. If your neck tension is severe or persistent, it may be worth consulting a healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on appropriate treatments, ranging from physiotherapy to medication.
  3. Stress management is also crucial. High levels of stress can exacerbate muscular tension, so it’s important to incorporate relaxation techniques into your routine. This could include practices like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. 
  4. Lastly, ensuring you have good posture can help to reduce neck tension. Poor posture can strain your neck muscles and increase tension, so it’s beneficial to maintain a straight and relaxed posture, especially when using devices or sitting for long

“Neck tension is a common symptom that many women experience during perimenopause. However, if you’re experiencing severe pain, numbness, or weakness in your arms or hands along with your neck tension, it would be beneficial to consult with a healthcare professional as these could be signs of a more serious condition,” advises The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Can lifestyle changes help alleviate tension during perimenopause?

Yes, making certain lifestyle changes can indeed help alleviate neck tension during perimenopause. It’s important to remember that every woman’s body is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. However, some general strategies have been shown to provide relief for many women going through perimenopause. Let’s explore these: 

Regular Physical Exercise 

Engaging in regular physical exercise can be beneficial. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hit the gym every day. Rather, it’s about incorporating more movement into your daily routine. This could mean taking a brisk walk, practicing yoga, or even doing some simple neck stretches. Exercise can help release tension in your muscles, including those in your neck, and improve your overall well-being. 

Healthy Eating Habits 

Maintaining a healthy diet can also play a role in managing perimenopausal symptoms, including neck tension. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains can provide the nutrients your body needs to function optimally. 

Sufficient Rest 

Getting enough sleep is also crucial. When you’re in perimenopause, hormonal changes can affect your sleep patterns, which could contribute to increased tension. Therefore, it’s important to create a sleep-friendly environment and establish a regular sleep schedule. 

Mindfulness Practices 

Practicing mindfulness or relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and relieve muscle tension. These techniques can be especially helpful in managing neck tension associated with perimenopause. 

According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), lifestyle changes can be an effective way of managing perimenopausal symptoms. They recommend a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques.

Remember to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise or dietary regimen, to ensure it’s safe and suitable for your individual health needs. And remember, it’s normal to experience some changes during perimenopause, including neck tension. But with the right strategies, you can manage these changes and continue to live a healthy, vibrant life.

Are there any natural remedies that can help relieve it?

Yes, there are natural remedies that can help alleviate neck tension during perimenopause. These methods don’t just provide a quick fix, but also promote overall health and well-being. It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before trying new treatments, even natural ones. 

Lifestyle changes 

Simple changes in your daily routine can make a significant difference. Here are some suggestions: 

  • Exercise: Regular physical activity, especially stretching and strength training, can help reduce muscle tension. Exercise can also improve your mood and sleep quality, which can indirectly help reduce neck tension.
  • Proper posture: Working on your posture can make a huge impact on neck tension. Keep your head and neck aligned with your spine. Avoid craning your neck forward when using a computer or smartphone.
  • Healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet can help maintain the body’s overall health and ability to heal itself, which can help mitigate neck tension.

Relaxation techniques 

Relaxation techniques can help your body relax and may alleviate symptoms of neck tension. Techniques include: 

  • Meditation: Practicing meditation can help reduce stress, which is often a contributing factor to muscle tension.
  • Deep Breathing: Deep, slow, and mindful breathing can help induce relaxation and relieve tension.
  • Yoga: Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. It’s a great way to improve flexibility, reduce stress, and alleviate muscle tension.

Natural supplements 

Some natural supplements may also be beneficial. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement routine. Be aware that in most cases there is not enough data to support the efficacy of supplements on perry symptoms.

  • Magnesium: Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant. It’s used in hundreds of biochemical reactions, one of which is assisting in muscle and nerve function.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce muscle tension.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to chronic pain, including neck tension. Make sure you’re getting enough from sun exposure.

What medications are available to relieve neck tension during perimenopause?

If you’re wondering whether there are medications available to relieve neck tension during perimenopause, you’re not alone. Many women experience this physical discomfort as a part of their perimenopause phase, and fortunately, various treatments can help manage this symptom. 

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can often provide temporary relief from neck tension. These should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional to avoid potential side effects. 

Can stress management techniques help alleviate neck tension?

Yes, stress management techniques can indeed help alleviate neck tension during perimenopause. During the perimenopause phase, hormonal imbalances may lead to an increase in the body’s stress responses, which can manifest as physical symptoms such as neck tension. Engaging in various stress management techniques can help manage these symptoms effectively. 

Why does this happen? 

North American Menopause Society (NAMS) explains that the fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone during perimenopause can affect the body’s stress hormones, notably cortisol. In response to this hormonal turmoil, the body may develop physical signs of stress such as muscle tension, particularly in the neck area.

What can you do about it? 

Here are some recommended stress management techniques that can help alleviate neck tension during perimenopause: 

  1. Mindful Meditation: Regular practice of mindful meditation can induce a relaxation response in the body, reducing the production of stress hormones and thereby easing muscle tension.
  2. Exercise: Physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Regular exercise can help manage stress and reduce muscle tension.
  3. Deep Breathing: Deep, slow, rhythmic breathing can help reduce stress and relax tense muscles.
  4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This technique involves tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in the body, which can help relieve muscle tension.

Learning how to manage stress during perimenopause is crucial for maintaining overall health and wellbeing. It’s important to note that what works for one person may not work for another, so it’s worth exploring different stress management techniques to find what works best for you.

In conclusion, experiencing neck tension during perimenopause is commonly reported by women and it’s not unusual. However, it’s essential to discuss any concerns you may have with your healthcare provider. It’s crucial to remember that everyone’s experience is unique, and what might be normal for one person might not be for another. 

Valuable Sources to Remember 

When it comes to understanding the connection between neck tension and perimenopause, it can be helpful to consult some reliable, expert sources. These sources can provide you with accurate information, reassure you that what you’re experiencing is normal, and offer guidance on how to manage any discomfort you may be feeling. 

Note: Always consult with a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing persistent, severe, or concerning symptoms. While neck tension can be a part of perimenopause, it can also be a sign of other health conditions that require medical attention.

A key resource to refer to:

The Menopause Society (Formerly NAMS) 

The North American Menopause Society is a reputable source of information about all things related to menopause, including perimenopause and physical symptoms such as neck tension. Check out their comprehensive guides and articles for more detailed information.  menopause.org

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice

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