17. Muscle Tension
Let’s talk tension. And not the kind of tension we feel when wanting to maim a beloved family member or friend who has absolutely NO inkling whatsoever of the mind and body clusterf*ck you are currently enduring, which you’re trying to navigate through thanks to Mother Nature and the joys of the peri/menopause!
We could spend endless hours talking about that! However, we are going to address another type of tension. So coming in at number 17 on our list of peri/menopause symptoms, we bring you: Muscle Tension.
Muscle tension is a very common symptom as we travel through the menopause journey, and none of us needs a medical degree to know what’s causing the tension, do we hotties?
Let’s say a(nother) big hello - or should that be a big f*ck off? - to those pesky hormones which are currently undergoing ANOTHER cycle in the mischief and mayhem menopausal machine, conjuring up so many more ways in which they can disrupt our lives and pi$$ us off on a daily basis!
Muscle tension can be painful, frustrating and VERY annoying - just like most of the other menopause symptoms on this list!
So what are the main symptoms of muscle tension and how do we tackle them (hot)head on or even occasionally use them to our advantage!?
Muscle tightening can happen when you are undertaking certain physical tasks, and this fellow hotties, can be the perfect excuse to get out of doing those manual chores you hate! You should try to avoid doing anything to strain them and cause you pain, so deploy that ‘Menopause, Get Out of Chores Card’ wisely!
Muscle tension can lead to cramping and spasms. A spasm is an involuntary, sudden and spontaneous contraction of your muscles which - even though they are harmless - come and go in short bursts, can still cause intense, sharp pain, causing discomfort and distress.
Muscle Soreness & Tenderness
As your muscles tighten, they may also become more tender and painful, producing a burning sensation in the areas where the muscles are tense and affected. Always allow them repair and recovery time AND use this time wisely to spoil yourself and indulge in life’s little pleasures such as meditation, the latest ‘Chick Flick’, a steamy novel or a large, pretty, (pretty large?) colourful cocktail!
Muscle tension around the neck and head can cause tension headaches, which can feel like continuous pressure, as if your head is being squeezed from all sides. They can be both painful and a pain in the proverbial, however, these can possibly be used to our advantage, if you know what we mean - wink, wink! “So sorry darling, I can’t tonight - I have a really bad headache!”
A result of muscle tension is fatigue. Don’t get us wrong, we all love a long, luxurious lie-in, or a little catnap in the afternoon; and with the weather being as fabulous as it is, a day spent nodding off whilst reclining on a sun lounger is quite delicious, but you may notice that you are feeling a lot more tired than is usual for you, and this could be exacerbated by muscle tension.
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Now we’ve identified muscle tension in its various forms, how can we deal with it, and ideally, long before we exhaust our limited stash of ‘Menopause, Get Out of Chores’ cards!?
- Up the ante and revamp your lifestyle choices by maintaining a nutritious balanced menopause-friendly diet with healthy sources of lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. Go easy on the ultra-processed stuff. If you can’t pronounce the long list of ingredients…
- Eat the rainbow of fruit and vegetables, keep well-hydrated with water and don’t forget the occasional treat - EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!
- There are lots of meno-friendly herbal supplements, remedies, rubs, and sprays available. Do your research and also speak to your pharmacist or GP before taking any medications/supplements.
- Learn some relaxation techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises, yoga/pilates, or gentle exercise with resistance bands, or maybe walking or swimming.
- A warm bath, sauna/steam rooms, massage, Reiki/crystal healing are all great ways of relieving muscle tension and stress. And if you can handle it, a cold burst of water whilst you shower is also a great way to boost your equilibrium and wellbeing.
And last - yes hotties you’ve guessed it - but not least! A music playlist to help you relax, restore and replenish that hottie mind and body after it’s been depleted of its energy from muscle tension, fatigue and soreness.
Go on. Just try a little tenderness. Take it away Otis…
Try A Little Tenderness - Otis Redding
Bring Me To Life - Evanescence
Come Alive - The Greatest Showman Ensemble
Don’t You Forget About Me - Simple Minds
Feeling Good - Nina Simone
Heaven Is A Place On Earth - Belinda Carlisle
Hold On - Wilson Phillips
I’m Still Standing - Elton John
I Turn To You - Melanie C
It’s Alright - East 17
Keep On Movin’ - Five
Live It Up - Mental As Anything
Ooh Aah (Just A Little Bit) - Gina G
The River of Dreams - Billy Joel
Walk Of Life - Dire Straits
Wings Of A Dove - Madness
You Win Again - Bee Gees