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Joint Pain
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Joint Pain

I have been on thyroid medication for 22 years.  In the last 3 - 4 years I have experienced pain in my toes, heels, ankles, and hands.  At first my General Practitioner and Pediatrist thought I broke my toe.  For a year I saw an Orthopedic that treated me for what he thought was scar tissue in my foot.  I also saw a Physical Therapist during that year to help me recover from this broken toe....that really was not a broken toe.  I then went to a rheumatologist who diagnosed me with Psoriatic Arthitis.  For the past year I have been taking medication for this with no significant improvements.  It has actually gotten much worse in the last 3 months since the birth of my son.  My TSH levels are tested at least every year and consistantly come out normal.  I currently take 200 mcg a day of levothyroxine.  Could my joint pain be a result of my hyperthyroidism?  
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177 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm not sure but before I was diagnosised hypothyroid every joint and muscle in my body hurt.
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Avatar_n_tn
Have you ever taken Armour Thyroid medication?
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Avatar_n_tn
I also diagnose Hypothyroid /Hashi in May 2006 since then i am taking Levoxyl . I did have joint /muscles pain in the begining  , however since laast 2 months my joint pain is lot specailly in my toes/heels , ankles and hands which is similar to what you describe . I am going to see rheumatologist. I am wondering ,is it common to see in Hypothyroid this kind of pain.
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Avatar_n_tn
That sounds exactly like what I am experiencing.
Through research on the internet, my husband found some interesting information regarding synthetic thyroid replacement (Synthroid, Levoxyl, ...)  It seems that for some people the synthetic replacement does not work well and the original symptoms of hypothyroidism linger even though the TSH levels seem to be normal.  When this happens the doctors tend to tell their patients that it must not be the thyroid, it is something else....go see that specialist.  However, when these patients switch to a natural thyroid replacement the symptoms and joint pain go away.  I have chosen to try Armour Thyroid...a natural thyroid replacement.  I have only taken one dose so I can't really say if it has had any effect or not.  Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
Well it is really to have our doctor believe us . My doctor told me it is not thyroid and make me run all around but at the end i still don't have an answer.
It seems like once you get Hashi/Hypo you have to live with all kinds of residual symptoms , i am tired and it seems like it is now dream to feel same way as before.
If you have any improvement  with Armor please do let me know, based on my research i am not really a good fan of Armor.
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Avatar_n_tn
What about Armour don't you like?  I am new to it and could use any information you have.  Thanks!
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Avatar_n_tn
May that help you

http://www.altsupportthyroid.org/treatment/hypomedcomp.php

Armour has other hormone as well which you may not need it so these days doctors try to use T3/T4 combo rather use Armour . Let me know if you have success with armour.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in January. Was put on levothyroxine too.  My ths is normal with it.  After two back surgeries and an deadly infection, I started having muscle pains mostly in my legs.  I attributed it to the atrophied muscles.  By July it was much worse and my neck started hurting and then my arms.  Had a ton of blood work, bone scan, x-rays etc take and was found to have Hashimotos and an autoimmune arthritis.  The bone scan showed inflammation throughout my body.  After months of tests, I just started Celebrex and I am finally able to turn my neck (though I still hear it cracking) and live fairly pain free.   Unfortunately the arthritis is progressive so I don't know what happens when it get worse, but answers do help.
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Avatar_n_tn
I strongly believe levothyroxine is causing these promlems in many of us. The Doctors are running around thinking we have RA or something else but reading your posts and going off my meds for 2 days I believe it's the levothyroxine I am 32 years old and have been on levothyroxine for over 3 months and I am very ill. My blood test show normal throid levels but my heart races, pulse is high,I get out of breath, I have night mares, hot flashes and my joints hurt very bad can harldy move, stiff neck and head aches terrible so bad I cry all the time. My kids are scared and are worried as is my hubby.
My Doctor say my levels are fine. I aked him if it could be my levothyroxine he says he doubts it. But its funny that  it all came on me 5 weeks after taking the medication. He switched me to the actual sinthroid to take now and I'm so scard that too will keep me in a 100 year old body.
Im living on steroids for pain and the Dr. is thinking of sending me to a  Rumatholigist.
I don't know but I think these medications have bad reactions in some people. My sister seems to do very well on levothyroxine. Go figure!
Anyone else want to chat about this. Email me please!
***@****
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Avatar_f_tn
Did you also have any problems with getting to sleep and staying asleep?   I have been plagued with insomnia for 1.5 years and it started when I was taken off synthyroid for 8 weeks for a body scan.  I also have nighmares and joint stiffness is terrible. I do get relief from the stiffness when I take Excedrin, and I'm able to sleep with 50mg of an anti depressant.  The Gp said that I have low yet elevated levels of an enzyme that gathers in the joints and eventually I will develop Lupus.   Does this happen to you?
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes I get up a lot toss and turn and pee tons at night. LOL
I just got off the synthroid today was my first day off it I will let you know how I do. I took my last Prednosoine steroid for pain day before yesterday. I found this really good web site look into it.
I think Im going to talk to my DR about Armour see what he says if my numbers go low again. I had night mares too and the stiffness is the synthroid after looking at this sight Im convinced check it out! I even had a stiff jaw and neck. I was living on advil till it got so bad they put me on steroids I hope this all clears up. I too take a anti depressent. Are you off synthroid?

http://www.askapatient.com/viewrating.asp?drug=21402&name=SYNTHROID
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Avatar_n_tn
Im doing great now! I was off the synthroid 2 days and I was terrible I was so tired and weak I knew it was the wrong thing to do. I went back on it day 3 ( cant believe I felt it that fast) I saw my Dr. I did all kinds of research on the web before I saw him, so I believed I needed to try a medication with T4 and T3 and so I saw my Dr. He said I could be right and looked at my blood work and low and behold my t3 was on the lower end.  He said ok lets give it a shot you could be a low converter to t3. My Dr put me on Cytomel with my sinthroid just .05  added to my .50 Synthroid and it worked! Im back to myself but better! No joint pain no curple tunel my hands feel great my body feels normal again. NOw I hope this weight comes off!  Hey all this could be whats going on if you are going through joint pain and curple tunel still after going on synthroid.
Good luck all!
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Avatar_n_tn
To add to my post it took a good week before the joint pain went away. And just yesterday, day 7 is when I noticed my hands and wrists were not in pain and normal. It takes a bit  to work but OMG its so wonderful!
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393685_tn?1325870933
It is very common in Hypo patients to experience joint pain and stiffness. "Pain in the neck" should be out slogan. I will say I started out on Synthryroid 4 years ago after RAI. Amoungst other aliments /pain in the joints was terrible. I never had great sucess with the Synthryoid and wanted to try Armour. I really do feel better on that. Pain and the "fog head" has really been better.

Not sure if this helps you - but good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
I've had Hashimotos for 30 years.  About two years ago by thumb joint all of a sudden went stiff (could move it forward but not back).  Then the other one started the same thing.  Got a cortizone shot in that one that helped for a while.  I take Aspirin or Aleve (seems to help the inflamation (inflammation)) - trying not to take more than I need because of the NSAIDS long-term warnings for stomach upset etc.  Now starting to have pain in the other fingers (particularly when I first get up).  Endo says my levels would have to be way off to cause this - they were high (around 6).  Think it's time to see a Rheumatologist to see what's going on.  Sounds like it could be related to Hashimoto's to me.  
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393685_tn?1325870933
Your endo is wrong.

If your ( I stress the word your) levels are not right for you the body will start to send you warnings signs.

This may be how your body talks to you.
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734073_tn?1278899925
My daughter is 8 born without thyroid. She was on Synthroid until we switched her to Armour 5 months ago. her weight gain has stopped, appetite under control, PVC's deminished if not stopped,happy and more energetic. Only problem now, bad ankle aches and joint poping when she rotates foot. Her last blood draw on 120 mg Armour was ***@****, free ***@****, and ***@****. What do you think? Any ideas?
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734073_tn?1278899925
Why won't this site let me post Lab result numbers?
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Avatar_m_tn
I have pain almost every where in the body(wrist,hand,elbow,hip,thighs,knee,foot,leg,arm  and ankle).I am Hypothyroid,i posted many times in medhelp,i don't see any clue and if i see the doctors very oftenly they are giving many anti deppressents making me more sick.
I have tried  Amytriptyline,CYMBALTA,ULTRAM and Zoloft also pain medications LYRICA and CELEBREX.Nothing worked for me.My TSH,T3 and T4 are in the range.

what could be the hidden cause ?
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Avatar_m_tn
Please post the actual results and reference ranges for your T3, T4 and TSH tests.
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734073_tn?1278899925
Are you on Armour by chance? If not, what thyroid meds are you on?
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't know how you're posting your labs, but there is some censorship on the forum..."nasty" words for sure and anything that looks like an email address...I suspect that's your problem because of the @ signs.  Try again...we post labs all the time.
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734073_tn?1278899925

labs  taken on 6/5/09
TSH      0.142 (ref. range 0.360-5.800)
Free T4 1.13 ( ref. range 0.82-1.58)
Free T3  4.5 (ref. range for 6 to 10 year old: 2.7-6.2)

Labs done by LabCorp
daughter is 8 born without thyroid gland
increased Armour dose from 90mg to 120mg on 5/5/09: lots of ankle and joint aches since increase.
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Avatar_f_tn
Her labs actually look really good.  FT3 is right in the middle of the range and so is FT4.  If the symptoms came on after the increase, it would be logical to assume that perhaps the increase was a very little bit too much.  On the other hand, her FT3 and FT4 are both mid-range, so it's also possible that they need to be nudged up a bit to relieve the joint pain.  I hate to be so wishy-washy, but it's really hard to say.  The FT3 is a bit high with regard to the FT4, and although I don't know how children react specifically, usually they shoot for a mid-rnage FT4 and a bit higher FT3.  It's so hard with kids since sooo many things are going on.  If all her other symptoms were relieved, do you think it could be something else?  Or do you think it might be residual and will go away after the new dose really stabilizes in her system?

You might ask her doctor about cutting back ever so slightly to see if the joint pain is alleviated.  Perhaps going back to 90 every third day, or twice a week?
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734073_tn?1278899925
My gut tells me that we need to back off a little and shoot for a TSH between 1 and 2. The lowest her TSH has ever been in her life until now is 1.126, but that was on Synthroid. We switched to Armour 5 months ago due to heart palps (PVC's) on Synthroid and weight gain, plus many other symptoms.  However,the joint aches are new to us on the Armour. We switched over gradually and then checked labs when Synthroid was out of her system and we were on 90 mg Armour. However TSH was still high at 3.467, free t4 was 1.02 and the weird thing is that the free t3 was higher on the 90mg of Armour at 6.9 then the 120 mg reading of 4.5. That is quite a difference. I would expect just the opposite to happen.I split her dose today 60 mg at 8:30 am and 60 mg 6 hours later at 2:30PM.I'm hoping that will help. I had new labs run yesterday and I'll have results next Wed. 8/5/09 when we meet with her doctor. I'm thinking that if 90 mg wasn't enough, and 120 is too much, then maybe 105 mg would be better suited? I was looking back at her free t4 levels throughout her life and they were slightly higher then on the Armour, I guess that is because it was a t4 drug? Maybe she would do better with her t4 a little higher? I wouldn't know about her history on Freet3 as her pediatric endo. never ever looked at it. Her new doctor (MD) is much better.This thyroid mystery is a hard one to solve. I can't give up. My little girl is counting on me!
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Avatar_m_tn
Just wondered if she was consistent in taking or not taking meds before blood draw?  I found there to be a significant difference in results when I delayed taking my Armour until after the tests.  FWIW
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734073_tn?1278899925
Now why didn't I think of that??? Yes, now that I think of it, the blood draw done on the 90 mg was done during the school year. She took her meds that morning before she left for school with breakfast and I picked her up before lunch for labs. The 120 mg lab was done at the beginning of summer vacation and I remember specificly her doctor saying to wait to take meds until after the draw, so we went early to the lab. Now I can see why we have the descrepancy in the t3 readings! Makes since to me now. Thank you for thinking of that! We will do all labs before the Armour is taken from now on.
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Avatar_n_tn
I've read alot of comments on here about women who think that their meds are causing pain in their bodies.  Let me tell you my experience.  In april of 2009 my feet started hurting then in August, 4 months later the pain spread to my ankles, knees, hips shoulders elbows, wrists, hands, and fingers.  Then more recently, in October the muscles in my upper back and my collar bone have started hurting.  Until just yesterday, Oct 23rd.  I wasn't taking any medications or even diagnosed with anything.  I went to the Dr. yesterday for my pain and was diagnosed just today with hashimoto's.  So all that just to say, I don't know what could be causing your pain or mine.  It seems strange that most of you got the symptoms soon after starting medication, but I have had them all along, even before taking any meds.
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Avatar_f_tn
My back pain occurred before I was diagnosed with Hashi's and went away shortly after starting levo.  I also had some carpal tunnel syndrome.  Joint pain is not at all unusual when hypo.  It's not the meds that cause the pain, it's being hypo.
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734073_tn?1278899925
I think that the pain is not the medication, it is the medication not being the right type for "ME" or given at the right dose for "ME" to fully eliminate the Hypo. symptoms. It's the Hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone, specifically the t3 level)) causing the pain in our joints and muscles, as it is the active hormone that is needed for proper function of our bodies at the cellular level. Our challenge as thyroid patients is to find the right med for each of our specific individual needs, and to get it at the right dose, to keep our thyroid levels at the EXACT right place,(simple being in "normal range" does not necessarily cut the mustard for most of us) to be as close to symptom free as possible! For Hashi. patients this can be particularly difficult as the antibodies can swing you from hyper to hypo and back within a blink of an eye! So your challenge will be in controling those antibodies so that you can control those wild swings from one extreme to the other, so that you can get close to that target with your specific med and level! (The next challenge is finding out what your "specific target" is and what med works best and at what dose is needed to get you there. That can take lots of trial and error and much time and patience, and sometimes a new doctor to get you there. It's near impossible for many, but we never give up the good fight! Never except less! You are worth it!
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Avatar_f_tn
I totally agree that its not the meds causing the aches and pains but the lack of it or too much.
Get the levels right and the pain disappears.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had thyroid cancer in November.... was on Levothryoxine for 5 months no problems... then doctor switched me to Synthroid and I foolishly said O.K.  Was on Synthroid for 5 weeks and started getting pain in feet.  Within 3 days I had symmetrical, systemic joint pain in my feet, knees, elbows and wrists.  Went back to Levothryoxine and have now been on it for over three weeks and still lots of pain.  Pharmacists say they've never seen folks have joint pain due to Synthroid or Levothroxine (levothyroxine)... yet it's on the flyer (and in my joints!).  Best to you.... God bless.
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Avatar_f_tn
This is a very old thread.  You'd get more attention to your individual concerns if you posted your own new thread by going to the top of the page and clicking the orange "Post a Question" button.  

If you have them, please post recent labs with reference ranges (they vary lab to lab), a brief history and a meds history when you start your thread.
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