When Meg Mathews, creator of MegsMenopause.com, experienced menopause around age 50, she reported: "My joints were so inflamed; I used to be able to get up and do a downward dog, but I was walking to the bathroom like an old lady. It was taking my body a lot longer to wake up."
A study from the Department of Spinal Surgery, Shanghai East Hospital, in Shanghai, China, published in the journal Menopause echoes her observations about the relationship between menopause and loss of flexibility and pain.
It found that 13% of the women in the study, average age 65, were severely deficient of vitamin D, and that a vitamin D concentration below 10 ng/mL was a marker of severe lower back pain and lumbar disc degeneration.
So if you're premenopausal or menopausal and are experiencing lower back pain, ask your doc about getting a blood test for low D.
- If you're deficient, you may take 2,000 IU of D3 a day until levels normalize, and then take what your doctor says will keeps your level between 35 and 80ng/mL.
- Get retested regularly.
- Don't smoke or gain weight.
- Enjoy vitamin D-rich foods like salmon (3 ounces has more than 450 IUs), mushrooms, and D-enriched soy products.
- Ask about bone-strength-protecting hormone replacement, taken with a low-dose aspirin twice a day, started within five years of your last period and continued for no more than 10 years