Chronic Pain, Thyroid and Fibromyalgia

When it comes to Hashimoto’s and chronic pain I have my good days and my bad ones, and sometimes it can be bad weeks, where I struggle to do daily tasks, work, and self-care. Even sleeping can become difficult when you are in pain all the time. Waking you through the night and unable to get comfortable, and just lying there and being in your head, ‘’what the hell is going on, I can’t do this anymore” then waking so tired, it is hard to explain to someone why washing your hair can be difficult.

I have found through personal experience and the experiences of my clients that as much as you want and need to hide from the world, you need to get out, outside, out of your head, and into the sun. Before I give you my best tips for helping with thyroid and pain let me tell you about the connection between thyroid chronic pain and fibromyalgia.

 

Some of the key manifestations of chronic pain/fibromyalgia/thyroid are;

Pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness, waking unrefreshed, anxiety, depression and insomnia. Muscle weakness, headache, numbness, dizziness, easy bruising, IBS and high-stress levels.

[1]‘Fibromyalgia (FM) is a syndrome characterised by chronic musculoskeletal pain, tenderness and other somatic symptoms. The prevalence of FM is approximately 2–7% in the general global population and is 30–40% in the population of Hashimoto thyroiditis ‘.And by far the most commonly affected group is women aged between 20-50 years.

[2] ‘Carpal tunnel syndrome was discovered in 32.5% of patients with untreated primary hypothyroidism. Women were more vulnerable to develop carpal tunnel syndrome’.

Chronic pain is generally triggered after exposure to inflammation or a stressful event who are predisposed to its development. Some of the factors that can be seen to influence the development of fibromyalgia in thyroid disorders include, genetics, early life trauma or abuse (emotional and or physical), a history of viral infections, or a  co-existing autoimmune condition.  Muscle pain and fatigue can be due to metabolic changes within the muscle cells and the mitochondria (you know the powerhouse of the cell) are unable to use the normal pathway to make energy, creating inflammation in the cell, this causes pain which causes more inflammation and round and round it goes. There can also be neurotransmitter changes, central nervous system changes reducing blood flow and increasing our pain perception.

How do I treat chronic pain in myself and my thyroid clients.

Naturopathically my favourite ways to help with pain are; sunshine, being at the beach breathing the ocean air, outside in nature with my bare feet in the grass, myofascial massage, physio, acupuncture and a float pod and I use all of these, the magnesium in the float pod helps so much.

Nutritionally I look at an anti-inflammatory diet, some of the most important ones to look at are gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and nightshade free. This is done slowly as it is a big change to make and we go at your pace. I also look at alcohol and caffeine and processed food consumption.

My Fav foods

Fresh fish, colourful veggies; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white and brown hehehe who know there were so many, stir-frying is my fav way of eating many different colours. Fresh  fruits, good fats like  coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds if you can eat them, grass-fed animal  protein, herbs and spices like ginger, garlic, cinnamon and green tea.

Supplements that are my fav’s;

Vitamin D I have found this works amazing for pain, but for all immune dysregulation,

Magnesium for muscles and our nervous system,

Turmeric & glutamine are great for gut health (this is an important part of healing not only the thyroid but our whole body).

Vitamin B’s, and C’s

Herb wise I’m looking at herbs that calm and support the nervous system and these are really dependant on what is going on for you.

Exercise

Gee Lou, I hear you say how am I supposed to exercise I can barely move, well swimming ie walking in a pool helps as you are supported (outside pool so no overwhelming chlorine) , gentle walking even if it is just round the house, as we need to keep our  body fluids moving or we have more pain.

Emotional support

To me this is just as important as everything above, this is so valuable in how you cope, and deal with the trauma of pain, fatigue and thyroid, but also any past trauma you may be holding on to. My Fav’s are Rekindled Ancient wisdom, Kinesiology, a good friend, councillor or psychologist.

 

Conclusion

The relationship between hypothyroidism and musculoskeletal disorders is significant. Comprehensive thyroid testing  with Thyroflex and blood pathology including thyroid antibodies is part of the workup I do with each client presenting with musculoskeletal conditions. Musculoskeletal manifestations can serve as early signs of undiagnosed hypothyroidism and warning signs of hypothyroidism that is not optimally treated.

Take Action:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             There are things you can do to reduce your pain levels, You are not alone.  Which one can you do today to start you on your journey toward reducing your pain level?

I do provide one on one consultations in person or via Skype if you would like the personal support.  Bookings can be made here.

References   

[1]Fibromyalgia in patients with thyroid autoimmunity: prevalence and relationship with disease activity. Haliloglu, S., et.al (2017) 36: 1617. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10067-017-3556-2)

[1] Rheumatic Disorders Associated with Metabolic, Endocrine, and Hematological Diseases Haralampos M, et.al (2018))