Chronic pain is debilitating both physically and mentally.
Being told nothing can be done about it or, worse the pain is just in your head can leave you frustrated and depressed.
Since most doctors focus on treating the pain symptom without trying to find the root cause, many people live years not knowing the reason they’re in pain.
In fact, if you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome and are still suffering, your doctor might have missed the boat.
There is a disorder that causes whole-body musculoskeletal pain; it can even worsen and lengthen the pain you experience from other causes…
Research shows that chronic pain and thyroid problems are intertwined. In fact, thyroid dysfunction can lead to:
- Pain in your back, joint and hips
- Tenderness of your muscles
- Extreme fatigue and exhaustion
- Fluctuations of your weight up or down depending on the type of thyroid problem
Your HPA axis
Your thyroid gland is part of your HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal) axis. This axis plays a big role in how you respond to stress, your energy level, digestion, emotional well-being and immune system. So, it makes sense that study after study has shown that a problem in the HPA axis is linked to the development of both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
In fact, research has shown that most fibromyalgia patients have a thyroid condition that is not being adequately treated or one that has gone undiagnosed.
Sadly, a lack of diagnosis is all too common in thyroid patients for a number of reasons.
First, many doctors don’t order enough tests to get a full picture of thyroid health — sticking to TSH alone instead of ordering a full panel including free T3 (which is what your body can actually lose) and thyroid antibodies (to find out if your thyroid is under attack from your immune system).
Second, the level of thyroid hormones in your blood may not always reflect the levels in your tissues thanks to problems with transportation of them into your tissue and tissue receptivity.
And finally, you could be living with thyroid resistance (commonly found in patients with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue) — where your blood levels may appear normal but you’re unable to actually use the thyroid hormones your body produces.
Overcoming thyroid problems and the pain that comes with them
All of this means that if you’ve been living with chronic pain or fatigue or been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, your thyroid could be to blame.
To find out, ask your doctor for a thyroid panel including:
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- Ratio of Free T3 and Reverse T3
- Sex Hormone Binding Globulin
- Thyroid Antibodies
You should also take steps to support the health of your thyroid such as:
1. Avoid thyroid disruptors and inflammatory foods
To keep your thyroid functioning optimally, eliminate foods that disrupt its function or raise inflammation levels in your body including:
- High mercury fish like tuna, mackerel and swordfish
- Hydrogenated oils
Replace these foods that can lower your thyroid function with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, organic and grass-fed meat and eggs, wild caught salmon, nuts (especially Brazil nuts) and drink plenty of water.
2. Exercise regularly
According to the experts, physical activity can help you feel better when you’re suffering from a thyroid condition. If you normally don’t exercise or your symptoms are severe, start slow with low-impact aerobics or strengthening exercises.
Good activities to try include walking, yoga, tai chi, water aerobics and light weightlifting.
3. Take thyroid-optimizing supplements
There are also supplements that are known to boost thyroid health to help improve its function:
- Iodine — Iodine provides your thyroid the fuel it needs to create the critical T3 and T4 hormones. And, the best source for iodine is kelp which also boasts powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- L-Tyrosine — This powerful amino acid partners with iodine to create the T3 and T4 hormones your body needs to help efficiently metabolize the calories you eat each day and maintain a healthy weight.
- Selenium — A naturally-occurring trace mineral, selenium helps convert the relatively inactive T4s to the active thyroid hormone T3.
- Zinc — Like selenium zinc is an essential mineral that helps convert the T4 hormone to the more active T3. It also releases the vitamin A stored in the liver to help support a healthy thyroid.
- Copper —Another mineral, copper helps stimulate your thyroid and protect your body from too much thyroxine building up in your blood.
- Ashwagandha root — A strong antioxidant, ashwagandha helps protect your thyroid, allowing it to function better and produce more T4. Plus, it works as an immune modulator to help regulate autoimmune inflammation (like what occurs in Hashimoto’s) that can cause an underactive thyroid.
To defeat your chronic pain and finally get the relief you’re looking for, consider you thyroid health. See your doctor for testing and take steps now to maintain a healthy thyroid — it may be the key to overcoming chronic pain for good.