Thyroid Disorders Community
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798555 tn?1292787551

Muscle, tendon and joint pain from thyroid, whats your experience?

Not a question. Share your experiences for others. You might learn something.  Many thyroid 'newbies' are unaware (docs too) of how thyroid hormones effect body tissue. Some get this as a severe symptom, some almost never. Back, feet, legs, shoulder, wrists (carpel tunnel) , all.  A reminder that symptoms vary with autoimmune.

I have self learned a lot on this subject - I had too. And learned acupressure muscle release (trigger point therapy is another name) from books and PT's, that has saved me thousands of dollars, and relived pain, (this is different from acupuncture). I since learned I needed T3, as many do with continuing pain on a T4 only med. Still have some, its a long healing process (years).

I recently spoke to very experienced physical therapist / massage therapist on this subject as she has experience working with Fibro patients and noted some mentioned they had 'wacked' thyroids. She was interested in how thyroid hormones work, symptoms , and, well, now she knows some of what I know, which is better than not knowing.

Many do not realize that what they think is joint pain may not be caused from within the  joint, unless there is physical joint damage or Rheumatoid.  Referred pain simply means pain felt in a different area from its true origin. Knee, ankle and shoulder pain is usually from tight muscles (nearby or far) pulling on a joint, so that's where you feel it. Loosening the muscle (if it wont stretch) via acupressure or trigger point release can relieve joint and muscle pain.

What brings this up was a recent experience of "burning feet" (new to me and very wierd) from FT4 under the range (totally off) which resulted in a 58 tsh. Another member mentioned burning feet to me with low thyroid levels. At tsh of 24 now, my feet feel better.

So this thread is about others thyoid body pain experience and relieving it, if they have anything to share for others to learn. If you had or still have thyroid body pain, you know how miserable it can be. (Dont get alarmed of my tsh, that is being worked on slowly - another subject altogether).
99 Responses
Avatar universal
I had severe tendonitis in my elbows...I thought it was due to playing too much golf.  I quit golf, still had pain four years later.  Then I had my thyroid removed due to cancer.  Almost immediately the pain in my elbows went away, and I haven't had any since.  Coincidence?  I think not.
219241 tn?1413537765
I have Hashi's but had my thyroid partially removed May 4 2007 and the rest on Dec 14 200. I still have anti-bodies to the Hashi's.....bleurgh!

The one thing I have noticed is that whenever I get run down, from an infection or what have you, I tend to get aches and pains. My nose had been bleeding earlier this month like a tap. Got it cauterised and discovered an infection up there. Since having the 'goop' up the nostril to get rid of the infection, I find my old knee problem has flared up again. So naughty infection has moved from one part of the body to another...( I can see it now, Rocky and Bullwinkle style...Aha! I'll get you yet!, says the evil infection)

I tend to get arthritic pains in my little finger on my right hand, but I put that down to having been a knitter, crotcheter, cross stitcher, gardener and a writer for over 40 years!

So having my thyroid out hasn't helped me one bit! Sorry guys...it might work for you, but I am just a delicate little snowflake who is cursed with rotten illnesses all my life!
1263014 tn?1318032697
My thyroid levels are within normal ranges.  but I do have Hashimoto's and I have severe hip pain and achiness.  I also get severe back and neck pain.  I do believe that Hashimoto's can cause other autoimmune symptoms all over the body as I have dealt with this for 12 years now.  
Avatar universal
Just being somewhere within the "normal" ranges does not assure symptom relief because the ranges are far too broad, since they have never been purged of suspect hypo patient data and revised as was done for TSH 7 years ago.  I believe that is why we hear so often from patients that their symptoms were not relieved until their FT3 was moved into the upper part of its range and FT4 was adjusted to at least midpoint of its range.

How about posting your test results and related reference ranges used by your lab, so that members can help interpret your current status?
640719 tn?1277140030
Recently as some of you already know I went slightly hypo due to a  medication change. It didn't take much my TSH went from 0.26 to 1.68 and it was debilitating to me. It began with muscle soreness Flu like symptoms it hurt to move. Then~

Toes went on fire and I mean on fire cramped and were yet numb (Tarsal Tunnel) arches fell (Plantar Fasiitisis) heals hurt. Could barely walk from room to room felt like the padding was gone from my feet.

Fingers went numb/burned in the night (carpal tunnel) both hands

Lower back and hips began to ache, Thigh's ached/burned/cramped/ and yet there was a weakness kind of feeling. I felt like I had a toothache deep within in my bones at times. Cramping/drawing like pains to.  

Joints became tender stiff and sore and also ached. The worse of it was the sharp shooting pains that stabbed me though out my body. (Fibromyalgia) I felt like 200 lbs were on my shoulders when walking..

Heartburn, blurred vision, sweating, hotness at times. Hands and feet felt froze at times. Skin turned red like a sunburn. Stomach knotted and hurt/cramped felt nauseated. The worse part.. It's been 3 months and some symptoms are still lingering because now I've gone hyper. Meds are being reduced I can only pray I have no effects. The best part Endo told me yesterday that all my symptoms were indeed caused by my levels.

I've had thyroid disease for over 10 years and I have NEVER experienced such debilitation from this disease until now. Did I mention depression? My life stopped and I was very active running 2 miles a day I was in good shape before all this started.. oh yeah I've gained 10 pounds to.
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto this past Jan.  I was experiencing palpitations, dizziness and diarrhea.  I had a miscarriage in Nov. and all these symptoms followed shortly after.  My endo.  said I was Hyper w  hich explained my palpitations.  I was also beginning to experience body pains.  I was then asked to take blood work 3 weeks later and I was hypo now.  10.2 was my level.  My endo started me with Synthroid 25mcg.  I was on it for 6wks.  My body pains were still there.  Really bad lower back pain, shooting pain going down my legs and hip pain.  Stomach pain and feeling moody.  My endo said the body pain was not coming from my Thyroid.  But I told her it has to be because I never felt this way until I was diagnosed with Hashimoto.  But she insists it is not related. I think she is wrong.  I just had my blood work taken and my thyroid went down to 2.6 which is great.  She increased my Syntrhoid to 75mcg.  SHe wants my levels to go down so that I can hopefully get pregnant again.  Body pains are making me miserable.  I have to take Advil PM to sleep every night.
798555 tn?1292787551
You were DX'd this Jan? It can take a while for symptoms to go away. And if your body pain does not diminish on Synthroid, you may need some additional T3 med (cytomel). Additional t3 relieves most body pain in many people. Give the synthroid a try for at least 4 months, to get the lab levels correct. You might want to post the levels hear, as most docs go just by TSH- wrong.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your response. Its a relief to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I have  been on Syntroid since 3/11 so I just started, really.   I will talk to my doctor about Cytomel.  
Avatar universal
THis is my kind of post. My biggest problem in the last 5 years has been muscle pain. Mostly it's in my low back and hips. I do have 2 mild bulging discs L4-L5-S1 the area most of us get that problem. However, I know the pain from the discs when I overdo it, but I have daily stiffness/aches behind my hips up high around the sacum and I suppose near those bulges, but I get it around 3-5pm when I'm a bit more stressed maybe with afterschool homework and getting dinner ready,etc. I also will get it if I'm under any type of emotional stress for some reason earlier in the day.

I get a very tired, fatigued pain all over my lower back just from standing or walking 15 minutes. I feel like I've walked 100 miles, it's a really bad fatigue, burning pain. I also found I had tender or trigger knots in my glutes and around the sides of my hips as well.

I've found a therapist who does acupuncture and acupressure on those points (trained with Janet Travell, who found these issues) and so far I haven't had too much of a problem with the glute pains any more, but I still get the late in the day burning/aching around the sacrum and behind the hips up high.

I also continue to get knee pain and leg pain. Today my low back, hips, thighs, and knees hurt awful. Some days it doesn't hurt at all. It's just strange.

The chronic pain is the one from standing more than 15 minutes and the burning/aching behind the hips.

I also can't exercise as well as I used to before all this started. I'm now up to 3 grains of Erfa and still on 15mg Cortef and I have stable daily temps, but my waking basal still is 97.2-97.6 most days. So I think I may still be hypo???

I have D levels up there, ferritin too, and I take a lot of magnesium and Malic acid, and other trace minerals, etc. but I'm still having pain issues.

Mentally I'm better and want to do more, but physically, I'll get sidelined still. I'm able to do more around the house now that I'm higher on the thyroid hormone, but today, I'm back in my chair b/c of all over pain.

For me, I have Reverse T3 issues. It was high again on 2.5 grains, and now it may be higher still. I will test it again in a week or so, and if RT3 is even high, I think I have to do Cytomel only and forget the T4 because somehow I'm not converting it all the correct way and maybe this is why I'm still having muscle pain symptoms???

Of all the symptoms, this one is the worst for me, but anxiety and depression are right up there with it. I can deal with dry skin and having to wear sweaters, and pulling my thinning hair back, but pain, it causes even more depression.

798555 tn?1292787551
Hey Corky21. If you still have all over body pain as you do,  you need to start fixing it at the core- your back. Once the back gets better, other areas can follow, but this process can take a few years. Remember, you didn't get this way over night. Inflammation spreads outward from the lower back. The lower back has trigger point areas too, but they are hard to find when the whole area is tight.

If lower back muscles are strenghtend, then the weak discs can be less bothersome. And if the tension is removed - bulging discs can sometimes heal. Surgury is not the only answer for wacked lower discs.

I researched back strengthening programs that many physical therapists use. Many use generic machines that are the same in gyms - dont work for beans. One brand on PT equipment that works for backs and necks is called Med-X. If you have ins that covers Physical Therapy, you need to do this. Call around and ask if they use Med-X brand equipment. That is the brand that pro sports teams fix there teams on - it really is the only one that works. I tried the others-waist of money.

Once the lower back is strong the sacrum - Illiac joint will start to heal. No more burning! Right now your glute muscles are stronger than you back and that is pulling on the SI joints (tail bone area). The you can move on to other areas of the body, with trigger point therapy. Been there, better now.

But you also need to get the thyroid meds figure out for muscles to heal.

Avatar universal
Thank you. I will look into those machines. The problem I had was doing physical therapy. When I'd go and do the back exercises they gave me I'd be worse after and get bad spasms. I'd have to wait one week before going back for more treatment. I eventually stopped it and tried a chiropractor and that didn't do much either after 12 treatments.

I'm now with a Janet Travell trained trigger therapist. She uses acupuncture and acupressure on the knots in my glutes and legs. So far I'm not having as many problems with the glutes, but that sacrum, middle area is still a big problem.

I have all the back exercises still and I suppose I could try them again. I will look into the Med-x Equipment too.

798555 tn?1292787551
Using the Med - X twice a week, you will be sore for the first month. And then a slow recovery will happen. At the same time they will have you do low impact crunches on one of those exercise balls, way easier on the back than the floor! If you do this simultaneously with Trigger Point therapy, all the better.

The weekly home or gym exercise after the PT is lumbar extensions on an inclined bench using just your body weight.

If you have inc, its well worth it to find a PT with the black Med-X machines. They will try to get you in even if they dont use Med-X, but its just not the same- dont fall for it.
Avatar universal
Diagnosed with Graves in 2008, had total thyroidectomy in 2010.  Been placed on Levothyroxine and Propanalol.  Started 150mg Levo, increased to £175mg (which was when they introduced the propanalol also as the levo caused panic attacks and high blood pressure).  Dropped me back down to 100mg then increased to 125mg....still feel awful, can't cope with the pains in wrists, ankles, neck, shoulders and back much more.  They have sent me to physiotherapy which is rubbish as they just have me doing exercises with a latex strip (which aggrevates the pain even more).  Feel at a loose end.  The pains in my wrist keep me awake at night, i can't even open a jar anymore, carry shopping and as i drive a manual car the gears and clutch are getting harder to manover.  Painkillers knock me out and gel pain relief does nothing.  can ANYONE please suggest anything i can take to my gp as they really dont have a clue what they are doing.  I feel like im a guinea pig for them.
Avatar universal
I had really stiff and painful ankles and wrists when I woke up. People said it was lack of exercise and aging. I tested 6.0 TSH and my cholesterol was 290 so the doc put me on synthroid.
798555 tn?1292787551
I have learned a lot about hypo muscle pain since this 2010 post.

There are several more of my posts about muscle pain since 2010 if one choses to search.

Melaniejayne73 : Many people with thyroid removal dont do very well on T4 meds only.  (Just so someone does not get confused  I believe your levo is measured in mcg.)The thyroid gland is partially responsible for converting T4 to T3.

T3 levels in the upper third of the range are known to help people with muscle pain. Magnessium glycinate and magnessium tourate are most effective for muscle pain as well and easier on the stomach than mag citrate- take this night away from thy meds. Malic acid capsules remove lactic acid in muscle fiber, which is the cause of the pain.

To get things rolling after all of the above is completed you need to manually force the lactic acid out of the effected muscle tissue - to heal the damage. Trigger piont therapy, trigger point release, myofacial release and the best of all - Active Release Technique works for this. A limited amount of new age Chiropractors offer this, books are available as well as videos on u-tube.


798555 tn?1292787551
This post is about thyroid pain while on thyroid meds.

If meds are at the right level for you(not just in range) or you are maxed out (almost hyper) and you still have muscle pain then further action is needed. - Thats what this post is about.

I personally had bad muscle pain even after being on levothyroxine and the synthroid brand for 10 years, clearly more treatment of a different type was needed. This is where Drs are baffled - and I refuse to be on pain meds, which is what Drs wanted to push. Following the treatment plan I devised ( posted above) I am slowly getting better. Hopfully others can use this coupled with ideas of their own when / if the medical community fails them.
798555 tn?1292787551
Dont forget listening to your gut. Many hypo people cant eat what they used to eat. I'm not focussing on the gluten free band wagon either - look at many foods and just try to eat better and eliminat what does not go well with you.
Avatar universal
??? My big question is: Why is it that the majority of members did not start having Muscle, joint, hip, and lower back pain until after starting thyroid meds, Levo and Synthroid in particular, Doctors tell you the same old thing "Your pain is not caused by the medication" I really think a connection exists here. I was on a very low dose of Levo for a year, like 10 or 15mg per day, I never had any symptoms at all, then I had a lab done and the GP put me on 50mg Levo, after that increase I had a little trouble sleeping, I complained to the GP, so he states it is my thyroid causing the insomnia, so he raises it to 75mg, then the insomnia was worse, I could not sleep at all, and became depressed, and started to have some muscle pain starting in my hips at night while in bed, So the quack puts me on anti-depressants and sleeping pills, now 6 months has gone by since I
Had my first increase in Levo, so since my TSH  (Yes he was one of those idiots that only knows TSH) did not budge, he put me on Synthroid 100mg, now the crap hits the fan, I had muscle pain everywhere, lower back, hips, calves and real bad neck pain and stiffness. That is when I found this web-site, trying to find out why I was in so much pain, and the other symptom that I think was caused by the medication, and I know some of you members have complained of the same issue is, sinus issues, like you have a terrible cold. I wonder if either the medication or the Hashimoto's is the cause of the nerve damage that is causing the pain issues I have now.
My Neurologist seems like he is stumped as to the cause. And with the attitude of most MD's that it is not thyroid related, I doubt he will find the cause.   FTB4
798555 tn?1292787551
"  ??? My big question is: Why is it that the majority of members did not start having Muscle, joint, hip, and lower back pain until after starting thyroid meds, Levo and Synthroid in particular, Doctors tell you the same old thing "Your pain is not caused by the medication"  "

- FTB4,  I have noticed among other posters what you are saying. In my case I had increasing muscle pain starting in my hands and neck with other hypo symptoms 12 to 15 years before my diagnosis with Hashimoto and starting Levo. It was there before Levo and just got worse for another 10 years until  I discovered T3 med a few years ago. So I attributed easing my pain not from discontinuing Levo, but from adding T3 and eventually changing to natural dessicated T3/T4 combo med. And then the other stuff I've done seems to be working slowly towards getting better.

I do know that if people need moreT3 in them, but only get T4 from their Dr, muscle pain, digestive difficulties and insomnia can be the result.

On the other hand I know hypothyroid people in real life that never had unusual levels of body pain , before or after med - this baffles me.

I still believe the cause of pain in most people with hypo is muscle related , since its known that hypothyroid causes a build up of lactic acid in the muscles. This in turn causes muscle knotting and can compress on surrounding nerves sometimes causing tingling and weakness in the limbs. Fixing the muscle tissue can end further nerve damage. In time, nerves can also heal, which is what seems to be slowly improving now in my case. I'm still looking for the end of the tunnel.
Avatar universal

I am getting ready to try armour because for past 12 years cytomel/levothyroid not working. I have severe tendinitis all over which is very common with hypothyroid but mainly in women. It appears that since women produce more estrogen than men that it may be related to fluctuations of estrogen and or DHEA. I know with me having Addison disease (primary adrenal insufficiency) that I struggle to keep all my hormones up. They were all low. And we (Endo's) can not seem to raise my DHEA. We have tried many different supplements, creams, you name i have tried it.

The body is so complex that doctors just do not know nor does the medical community have any definitive testing to determine what is really going on, thyroid tests are not 100% accurate. I hope the armour will work better.
I take 88mcg levoxyl and 7.5mcg of cytomel so we are staring with 1 1/2 grain of armour. This sounds a bit high since the T3 in 1 grain of armour (60)
is 9mcg. However, since I am starting at 11/2 that would be 13.5 mcg of T3.
Plus, I heard the new armour had more cellulose and a coating on outside so it was hard to diagnose or absorb. People are crushing it up and adding honey and getting great results for absorption with the new formulated armour.

I was wondering if this was true and were other people having problems with the new formulated armour. I am  tired of muscle pain. Tired of test, MRI CT and EmG, blood test that show nothing. I have had trigger point,magnesium
Acupuncture, compounded meds ..you name. Nothing works much except when I go off synthetic Thyroidis meds for a day or two some of it goes away ...so maybe I just can not take synthetic thyroid meds.

It is tricky for me to increase my thyroid because it could push me into adrenal crisis due to Addison's. I wear a medical bracelet for this. I normally have to increase my steriods some to tolerate increase in thyroid. :(

This thyroid/ adrenal thing is a pain and very depressing trying to manage it. Both can cause so much pain. I pray we all get some relief soon. And hopefully one day we will have better thyroid testing and much better meds.

God bless
798555 tn?1292787551
[  "I have severe tendinitis all over which is very common with hypothyroid but mainly in women. It appears that since women produce more estrogen than men that it may be related to fluctuations of estrogen and or DHEA."  ]

There are are plenty of men who have muscle / tendon pain with hypothyroid. In your statement above it looks like your pointing to lower estrogen and DHEA from your hypothyroid as the reason for pain. Men can get lower testosterone from low thyroid, I dont think it causes more muscle pain though, dont really know for sure.

What I do know is hypo will upset the chemical balance in tendon and muscle tissue in both genders. ATP chemical process for rebuilding soft tissue can be unbalanced from magnessium deplettion while taking thyroid meds and a build up of lactic acid, a bi-product of muscle breakdown and contraction. Lactic acid does not deplete while hypo
798555 tn?1292787551
Malic acid pills can push out the lactic acid, and you musct stretch to help this. trigger point therapy and active release techniqu help out a lot to. This plan is working great so far for me while at the same dose of Canadian erfa thyroid for almost 2 years. I was in pain for many years. I do not take testosterone or DHEA. I do exercise, not exercising made it worse.

Yes, Armour does not work as well as it used to for some people. Supposedly the new NP thyroid from Acella is like the older Armour and ERFA thyroid.
Avatar universal
Is there a treatment or a medication for dealing with this lactic acid?
798555 tn?1292787551
If you have actual Addisons, that itself can cause muscle issues. Are you able to get that under control? And if you have had your adrenals (Addison's disease) under control in the past, was your DHEA improved then (they usually parallel each other to some extent.

In men with hypothyroid and low free testosterone under about 50 yrs old, they can see an improvement in testosterone levels when thyroid levels are improved. I would imagine this is somewhat similar with women's estrogen levels, although I have not seen the later mentioned anywhere.

I want to mention the trademarked technique called Active Release Technique or ART. It works better than trigger point therapy. There are a lot of younger chiropractors to do much , much more that the traditional cracking of joints. ART is quite amazing I must say. Some physical therapist do ART, but its rare to them and they charge a lot more.

But it works best once you stop accumulating new muscle pains, this means your hormones are in balance. Once that occurs, then its easier to fix the painful muscles, and they will get better.
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