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Neurological Problems Associated with Hypothyroidism
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Neurological Problems Associated with Hypothyroidism

18 months ago I began to have severe twitching  and burning pain throughout my entire torso. But mainly confined to my shoulders, upper back and right hip area. I also developed a bizarre twitch between my shoulder blades on the left side of my spine in the upper thoracic region (which is still with me today). What was frightening is that when I would try to sleep, I would get the sensation of a band slowly tightening around my lower chest area. This was accompanied by random muscle twitching through out my entire body.

My doctor could not find anything wrong with me except Hypothyroidism.  He also ran a CPK test and ordered a set of cervical and thoracic X Rays. The X Rays revealed some bony encroachment on some discs (Cervical region, not sure of the areas) and the CPK was normal.

Since going on Thyroid replacement therapy, most of these strange neurological problems have subsided. I do occasionally get a burning sensation in my hip area if I sit in a chair too long or exercise too vigorously. I also still have the twitch in my upper back.

My question:

Is it possible that the initial enounter was brought about by swelling of the muscles/fluid retention brought on by my Hypothyroidism? Could it possibly have been stress induced ?
Can a lack of T3 or the failure of my body to convert T4 to T3 also cause something like this to occur?

Thank you for any advice.

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Avatar_n_tn
Hypothyroidism is well known to cause neurological side effects such as muscle disease and peripheral neuropathies. Glad that you are feeling better with replacement therapy. Your particular problem with the muscles could certainly be related to the hypothyroidism. The twitching can be indicative of benign fasciculation syndrome, but in your case it is likely due the thyroid problems rather than stress. Talk to your doctor about a possible neuro referral if the problems persist for a formal neurological exam and possible EMG. Good luck.
14 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had neurological problems too that the neurologist attributes to hypothyroidism (due to lack of any other reason). I have been on thryoid replacement therapy and I still have the nerve symptoms (numbness, tingling, pins and needles sensations, along with muscle twitching, all of these anywhere on the body but especially arms and legs). The twitching throughout my body has subsided somewhat but I still have nerve sensations. My endo dr. put me on a therapy of T3 along with T4 to see if it makes any difference. I've been on it a month and no change as of yet. I will be interested to see what the dr. has to say. I have a brother in law that is a neuro dr. and he says they have a lot of patients with neuro symptoms with thyroid problems. Shouldn't they go away with thryoid replacement? I'm at a good level of medicine according to my blood tests and it just doesn't make any sense to me.
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Avatar_n_tn
When you described your burning feeling in your hip area, it perfectly described the feeling I had when I had an inguinal hernia.  It would get irritated when I exercised, or exerted myself.  Have the docs checked for that?  Also, hip pain can come from spine problems. Hope you feel better!
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Avatar_n_tn
I was very interested in this post, as I have had (since late March of this year) some unsettling neurological problems that came on quite suddenly.  Tingling and slight numbness in arms, legs and face; lightheadedness; some "brain fog" and fatigue; etc.  I have been to a neuro, had an mri and emg; also been to cardiologist, my internist and finally to an endocrinologist.  Was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease (autoimmune thyroid disease).  However, my thyroid is still functioning and I'm not on meds yet.  I still have lingering tingling and numbness on my left side most days (but do have some days that I feel fine now), but it is greatly improved from the first several weeks.  No doctor has suggested that the neuro problems are due to the thyroid condition, though I have suspected there may be a link.  I have tried to post online here, but am never able to get through.  I am thrilled to read this; should I bring this up with my endocrinologist?  Should I be on meds?  I am due for a follow up with him in Oct.  I plan on talking to him then.  If anyone has any advice or can add info, please let me know!  Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
I too have Hashimoto's. My thyroid level was also normal, it was the antibodies that was off the chart.  Prior to being diagnosed I had all of your symptoms.  My internist, who found the Hashimoto's also did not put me on meds.  My symptoms were still there for quite a while until I decided to go to an Endo on my own, and I'm very glad I did. He sent me for other tests and found I also had a goiter and a nodule on my thyroid.  I  had a biopsy of the nodule and it was benign.  The nodule is from the antibodies being so high.

Anyway, my point is that even though my thyroid level was normal, the endo still put me on a small dose of Levoxyl. Gradually I start feeling better. It can take weeks before you begin to feel the effects but you will notice how much better you will feel.  I'm passing on this info to you because you might want to ask your Doc to put you on a thyroid med to see if works for you.  You have nothing to lose.  Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
To LKNS- Did your neuro dr. know that you have hashimoto's disease? Was your MRI and EMG normal? If so, I'm surprised that they didn't pick up on the thyroid problem as a possibility. Your TSH may be in the normal range sometimes and not others. That was my case and my endo dr. decided to go ahead and put me on thyroid replacement.
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Avatar_n_tn
THANK YOU both for your comments!  I think I will talk to my endo about a small dosage of meds to see if it helps.  What dosage are you on?  When I saw the neuro, I had not yet been diagnosed with Hashimoto's, btw.
If you have any other info or advice, you can email me at ***@****.  Thanks again!
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Avatar_n_tn
DITTO.  I am slightly hypothroid, and have been on synthroid for two years.  All thyroid function normal but the neuropathies...there are many...remain and have even worsened!  I also take prednisone and imuran for autoimmune hepatitis, but I have had the tingling, burning etc, for much longer than I have been on these drugs.  No known cause for the peripheral neuropathy from many doctors.  I am starting to think it may well be a hypothyroid thing, even when under treatment, as so many of us still have the symptoms.  Strange...huh?  I have even experienced the tight band around my chest sensation and I have twitching all over every day!  Thought I had MS, but all tests and MRIs have been perfectly normal.  Rebecca
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Avatar_n_tn
Yip, I'm another one with Hashimitos and Peripheral Neuropathy. Strange thing is my Dr's never seem to make the connection! Also turns out that my B12 was only 213 - looks like my stomach problems are causing malabsorbtion of B12 - which is another cause of PN.  So it looks like I have double trouble! Always worth having B12 checked too as there as links to auto  immune hypothyroidism.It's so easy and cheap to treat.

Now on B12 shots and hopefully daily supplements soon. Twitches have calmed down but not disappeared (yet) but I'm very hopeful.
Have had puzzled looks for years from my Dr's here in UK and I ended up finding this B12 thing out for myself - had the test - and lo and behold - only 213.

So all Hashimotos with PN - it's worth having your B12 done - just in case - and there's a great site to visit called Brain talk Communities - PN board.

Good Luck
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi everyone!  I'm a 35 yr. old mother of 3 and very scared, but optimistic when I found your postings.  A year ago I was having numbness randomly and sharp shooting pains in my head.  Had MRI done of brain & spine - all normal.  Neuro put me on Zoloft because she thought it was nerve endings causing pain in head.  After taking Zoloft for one year, I began twitching.  I decided to go off Zoloft because I'd heard twitching was a side effect.  Four months later I'm still twitching all over my body with cramping that has just started in muscles, mostly in calves & numbness throughout arms, hands & legs.  I'm very scared about ALS, but neuro says numbness is not a factor with ALS.  I don't feel weak, but today I think my anxiety has drained everything from me.  I've just had blood work done & am worried about results.  I've never had an EMG, but I'm sure that's next.  It's comforting to know that it may be thyroid or B12 defiency related to these strange neurology symptoms.  Thanks for your support!
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Avatar_n_tn
I wouldn't worry about ALS, it doesn't affect sensory symptoms from what I've read. It's amazing how many people have nerve symptoms and the cause is unknown, so try not to worry about the worst. I've had nerve symptoms for a year now and I'm hypothyroid. I'm on medication but the symptoms still exist. The Dr. says that many times they do not know the cause. It's hard to live with them, but it's better than the alternative. I have had so much anxiety over the last yr. and I'm working on just living my life, I have two kids and I just can't be upset all the time.I'm sure you relate to that one. Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks so much for responding!  I got my results back from my bloodwork & everything was normal except my b12 was very high.  My family doctor says this is the cause of my twitching, cramping, etc.  My neuro says she doesn't believe that high levels of b12 are causing these symptoms.  Now as if I weren't already worried I'm not sure who to believe.  I'm going to take your advice & try not to worry.  I've put my husband & mother through enough turmoil with worrying.  It can really consume a person.  Thanks again for your feedback & support. We definitely need it as mothers.
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I am on antidepressants, MAO Inhibitor (Nardil) kind, and also on Synthroid. Few months back I was on too high dose kind of long to where I ended up in emergency room. I had high anxiety, nervousness, jittery and very uncomfortable. I asked the doctor to lower my meds and she changed me from Levoxyl to Synthroid. Now my body can only handle 12 mcg and I am underdosed now. I can't go any higher, even 25 mcg makes me have bad symptoms. There was a time I used to take 150 and was ok till I got those bad symptoms. I am afraid now and don't know what to do. My doctor and endocrinologist seems like they don't know what they're doing either. Why is my body doing this and not able to handle the thyroid meds for hypothyroid. The meds make me feel hyperthyroid even at the very low dose. I have also reduced my Nardil too. Was taking 2 a day, now am down to 1 a day. I also have bad lower back and neck from car accident too. I am sedentary too with lack of exercise too if that helps. If you can email me at ***@**** I would appreciate it if anyone has an idea what I should do. Can neck whiplash problems cause problems with thyroid. Since I got hit in rear of car again this year I have this problem now. I sit alot at computer too and I feel it'sThanks :(
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Avatar_n_tn
I am on antidepressants, MAO Inhibitor (Nardil) kind, and also on Synthroid. Few months back I was on too high dose kind of long to where I ended up in emergency room. I had high anxiety, nervousness, jittery and very uncomfortable. I asked the doctor to lower my meds and she changed me from Levoxyl to Synthroid. Now my body can only handle 12 mcg and I am underdosed now. I can't go any higher, even 25 mcg makes me have bad symptoms. There was a time I used to take 150 and was ok till I got those bad symptoms. I am afraid now and don't know what to do. My doctor and endocrinologist seems like they don't know what they're doing either. Why is my body doing this and not able to handle the thyroid meds for hypothyroid. The meds make me feel hyperthyroid even at the very low dose. I have also reduced my Nardil too. Was taking 2 a day, now am down to 1 a day. I also have bad lower back and neck from car accident too. I am sedentary too with lack of exercise too if that helps. If you can email me at ***@**** I would appreciate it if anyone has an idea what I should do. Can neck whiplash problems cause problems with thyroid. Since I got hit in rear of car again this year I have this problem now. I sit alot at computer too and I feel it's making me have problems with moving bowels too. Thanks :(
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