Body pain and thyroid blood work numbers often considered as separate entities, but there is a link between the two.
Did you know that your thyroid could be the key to understanding your body's pain?
I wrote an article explaining how cholesterol could contribute to your muscle and joint pain. Read the article
This article is the second of a three-part series where I share with you the importance of knowing your lab test results and how they may serve as your explanation for your body pain. Today I'll talk about thyroid hormones and their effect on your body.
The Thyroid Gland
First, let's briefly discuss the thyroid gland and its functions.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland, located in the neck and is part of the endocrine system.
The thyroid gland is responsible for a variety of functions in the body. Its main function is to produce thyroid hormone, which helps regulate metabolism. Thyroid hormones also play a role in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
Not to get overly detailed about chemistry, I would like to inform you about what hormones are . They are chemical compounds that transport messages through your blood to almost every part of your body. These chemical signals tell your organs, muscles, and other tissues what to do and when to do it.
Besides the thyroid gland, the production and release of thyroid hormones are controlled by your hypothalamus and pituitary gland. The thyroid, pituitary, and hypothalamus work together to determine your body has enough thyroid hormone.
Have abnormal thyroid hormone levels?
In the US, many people suffer from thyroid issues, whether they know it or not.
According to American Thyroid Association an estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Of these, up to 60 percent are unaware of their condition. Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.
The most common thyroid disorder is hypothyroidism, which affects approximately 5 percent of the US population. This condition, also known as an underactive thyroid, can cause several symptoms. The most common symptom is feeling tired. Long-term effects may include high cholesterol, heart disease, osteoporosis, fatigue, weight gain, muscle aches, and depression.
Hashimoto's disease is another common thyroid disorder. This autoimmune condition occurs when the body attacks the thyroid gland, resulting in inflammation and ultimately damage to the gland. Approximately 14 million Americans suffer from this condition, especially women.
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis can be hard to diagnose, particularly at the beginning of this condition. The most common laboratory results show elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and low levels of free thyroxine (fT4), combined with increased antithyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies.
Hyperthyroidism, another form of thyroid disorder, is a health condition that causes the gland to produce too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms may include irritability, nervousness, muscle weakness, unexplained weight loss, sleep disturbances, vision problems, and eye irritation.
This is a great book if you are interested in learning more about thyroid and how to
control the symptoms.
Body pain, how is it linked to the thyroid?
Body pain and thyroid function are closely linked. When your thyroid is not functioning accurately, it can lead to a range of body pains. These pains can be mild or severe, and they can come and go. Most common type of body pain associated with thyroid problems is muscle pain. Specifically, hypothyroidism could lead to muscle stiffness, tenderness, and aches, particularly in the arms and hips joint pain and stiffness, as well as swelling of the small joints in the hands, wrists, and Carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please see your doctor and get your thyroid checked.
Recent research has found that many people who suffer from unexplained body pain may have an underlying thyroid condition. It is because the thyroid plays a role in inflammation and pain perception.
This article shows the link between thyroid dysfunction and chronic pain. Studies suggest that persons with underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) suffer from widespread pain more frequently than healthy individuals with a normal thyroid.
The link between stress and thyroid function is well-established. When you're under stress, your body produces hormones that can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones. Stress can lead to a variety of problems, including fatigue, weight gain, depression, and muscle and joint pain.
What can you do?
In the first place, you should know your thyroid numbers. Your physician will likely order a Thyroid panel laboratory test. Be sure to get a complete thyroid panel, as I've seen often, depending on the doctor or the insurance, a poor partial thyroid panel test where you can't see the whole picture.
These are the markers in Complete Thyroid Panel: Thyroid Panel With TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Total T3, Reverse T3, Thyroglobulin Antibodies, and TPO.
You can learn more about the tests here: https://store.directlabs.com/rs/Ls4p under the search name put Thyroid Panel Complete and look under Thyroid Panel + Thyroid Antibodies.
If you already know that you have a thyroid condition, there are some natural things you can do to manage your symptoms;
Consuming a diverse variety of fruits and vegetables is a great way to get all the nutrients you are required.
If you have Hashimoto's then being gluten-free is highly recommended.
You may have heard from your doctor or others that you shouldn't be eating cruciferous vegetables when you have thyroid issues. It has some truth to it. Cruciferous vegetables, especially kale & brussels sprouts contain goitrogens, which are compounds that can affect your thyroid health. No need to worry as long as you cook the vegetables, you can freely consume crucifers.
Yoga, meditation, and other gentle exercise and relaxation techniques are helpful tools for pain management.
If you ever suffer from unexplained body pain, it would be worth checking your thyroid function. Make sure to consult with your doctor for the best treatment options. Don't suffer in silence, get checked out and find relief.
PS: Before official thyroid condition diagnosis there may be signs on your skin