Thyroid Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

muscle aches and twitching

I am experiencing lots of muscle pain and muscle twitching all over/specially my legs.  Is anyone else experiencing this with hashimoto?
40 Responses
Avatar universal
I did have this symptom before I had my TT, I had hasi's and every symptom pretty much as well but now (since TT) all symptoms are going away except the tendon & Joint problems. Are you having surgery? On any medications? The meds will help this sensation to go away.
168348 tn?1379357075
I have muscle/joint problems but hot Hashi .. mine is from TSH being on the hypo side .. took them a year to figure it out but definitely related to rise in TSH even on Synthroid as symptoms increased and I told them this b4 I even knew my TSH had risen after partial thyroidectomy .. so no longer a coincidence for me .. that + increased constipation.

Endo said muscle cramps are symptom of hypo.

Not sure if any of this helps but wanted to mention it.

Avatar universal
I got the hypo aches as I call them.The hot tub is getting me through with that and every once in a while an advil pm so I can get some rest.And my body swell to twice its normal size by the endof the day.I just love hypohell. It gets better I promis.
Love Venora
Avatar universal
thanks for your replies.  I keep worrying about lupas and MS...specially with constant twitching in my legs.  I am not on any meds yet because my dr says I am still in range, although my antibidies keep going up and down.
Avatar universal
Hi, Patue--

I do not have Hashimoto's, but with mild hypothyroidism (possibly caused by radiation treatments for acne way back in the '60s), you and I are in more or less the same thyroid-problem boat. There was a time when I had such muscle twitching in my calves that it sometimes felt as if I had a colony of worms moving around in each calf. My calves were not the only place in which I had twitching, but it was the most dramatic there.

I already had a years-long history of problems with muscle pain. For awhile, I had pronounced problems with my calves cramping at night. The muscle pain and twitching co-existed with some classic perimenopausal symptoms, which probably is part of the reason that my thyroid problem flew right under the radar screen of more than one smart and caring physician.

All of my symptoms crept in while I was in graduate school. I limped along (literally!) with no more medical care than what was available at the student health clinic. Then when I was out of school and had a job with good medical insurance, I wanted to have my symptoms assessed. I thought that they were hormone-related, but I wanted to be sure, and even my new gynecologist, when I presented him with a list of muscle and "neurological" symptoms from the previous few years' time, was a little nervous about whether I might have a demyelinating disorder (such as MS).

I am writing with the encouraging thought that it is possible to have really scary symptoms that are entirely hormonal and quite harmless. I was thoroughly assessed, and all of my wiring checked out just fine. That was several years ago. I wish that I could take the next step and tell you that your muscle pain and twitching are entirely related to your Hashimoto's, but as a layperson who is at a distance, I cannot know. What you describe sure sounds like a piece of my medical history, though, so I at least can tell you that it is entirely possible you have nothing wrong with you beyond having an out-of-whack thyroid gland.

Best wishes,
Avatar universal
God I hope so.  I was reading about MS last night and I have myself sick to my stomach.  It has been such a difficult 2 years in regards to health.  first two miscarriages, then hashimoto and now I don't know what is going on with all the pain and the twitching in my legs, specially the right one.  You know, it's usually worst the week after my cycle.  Then it goes away...Then it comes back again...I am terrified.  I do want to thank you whole heartedly for caring enough to reply so ecouragingly to me.  I am 35 and really want to have a life and a family.
Avatar universal
I forgot to ask you what did you do about the pain.  I am hoping it's my hashimoto!!  the thing is, my numbers are still in range, it's the antibodies that are out of wack.
Avatar universal
While not generally well-known or understood, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause a variety of muscle or joint-related symptoms.

Hypothyroidism can create a variety of muscle and joint-related symptoms. Most commonly, these symptoms are due to swelling of the muscles, or swelling that is pressing on nerves. Various problems seen include:
General muscular weakness and pain, including cramps, and stiffness
General joint pain, achiness, stiffness, known as "arthropathy"
Tendonitis in the arms and legs
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-- which involves pain, tingling, weakness, achiness or numbness in the wrist, fingers or forearm. It is due to swelling of membranes that compress a nerve in the forearm.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome-- similar to carpal tunnel, with pain, tingling, burning and other discomfort in the arch of your foot, the bottom of the foot, possibly extending into the toes.

Normally the worst of these symptoms and conditions do usually resolve with proper treatment of the thyroid condition. There are a few considerations when muscle and joint pain does not go away with proper thyroid treatment such as: If you are hypothyroid, are you getting sufficient and proper treatment? If you are receiving optimal thyroid treatment, and still suffering joint and muscle problems, you might consider getting a referral to a rheumatologist, for further evaluation and possible treatment.  A trained rheumatologist can provide a more thorough evaluation for arthritis and fibromyalgia. Rheumatologists are experts in joint and muscle problems, and treat arthritis, some autoimmune conditions, various musculoskeletal pain disorders, fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Have you been evaluated for fibromyalgia? Some practitioners actually believe that fibromyalgia is actually a manifestation of hypothyroidism. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that features specific tender points in the body, with widespread weakness and fatigue.
You might look into alternative therapies.  Some patients with chronic joint and muscle pain related to their thyroid conditions have had success with therapies such as massage, acupuncture, and myofascial therapy. In terms of supplements, researchers  have found that glucosamine and chondroitin "may have some efficacy against the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Muscle cramps are very common with low thyroid levels. Of course we can get them with low potassium levels also. Adding more potassium to your diet might help.   Bananas and potatoes are a good source. I often have muscle spasms/Charlie hoarse in different parts of my body so I have been taking potassium pills, along with other vitamins and minerals ( of calcium, V-D, Magnesium) which I finds helps. And put a wrapped bar of soap under your bottom sheet.

Some suggest  lack of proper fluids, resulting in a mild case of dehydration can cause muscles to cramp. Some have even said that not getting enough blood circulation can cause cramping.

Just my personal opinion and/or experience. Always discuss your health issue with your doctor , always adhere to your doctors advise and, you always have the right to a second opinion. Nothing is a 100% or a 100%, 100% of the time. However, we are not all alike!

1990 - Hyper/Graves'
1997 - Dia/RAI
1997 - MVP - Mitral Valve Prolapse
1999 - TED - slight Thyroid Eye Disease
1999 - Visible Nodule (suspect Marine-Lenhart-Syndrom/hyperfunctioning nodule)
2000 - SAS  - Short Attention Span (short, spaced paragraphs, sweet and to the point helps)
2002 -  IED  - Intermittent Explosive Disorder (Graves' Range)
2007 -  A/ITP (suspect)
158939 tn?1274915197
GravesLady mentioned it but I'm going to champion it too (sorry GL, not the soap, haven't tried that):  BANANAS.  

I seriously always have a bunch of bananas on hand 'cause everyone in my family has thyroid problems and/or muscle cramps.  We've all learned to reach for a banana when we are feeling cramped up (or "charlie horses").  It works faster than a potassium pill.

Worth a try.  Try it for a few days and see if it makes a difference.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for all the information.  I do eat lots of bananas and vitamins including magneseum and folic acid.  I hope to all mighty my pains and twitchings are all hormonal.  I don't think I can handle anything else right now.
168348 tn?1379357075
Wait ... I am totally confused on that one .. what does the soap have in it?

All great info on the muscle cramps .. thanks.

Avatar universal
The H if I know!

All I know is that it works.

I was leery at first too.  

But I didn't have anything to lose in trying  and
everything to gain by alleviated
Charley horses/cramps/muscle pain.
12758 tn?1201219680
does it matter what kind of soap?  just wondering?
Avatar universal
No, I don't believe so.  I am using Ivory. If I remember right, the soap should be replaced once a year. It's just about time for me to replace mine.  

Remember, it's a wrapped bar soap.

Avatar universal
P.S. I still take all my vitamins and minerals.

Not a multi!

All separate, except Bs which I take a B-50 complex, plus some extra Bs.

168348 tn?1379357075
Unfortunately the potassium didn't help me.  I was (in error) taking alot of potassium with my vitamins in a concerted effort to try and use the vitamin regime the Uroologist suggested to prevent kidney stones from growing or new ones forming.  It was ok to take the potassium (I took it in form of alot of juices which contain potassium) and the cramps kept coming.  

I stopped the incrased potassium as the Uro told me the potassium was an inert ingredient in some prescription kidney stone pills *Urocit-K to be exact* to help with absorption so when I stopped the Urocit K (bcz of bad gas/heartburn) I took potassium thinking @ least I'd be getting the potassiumand but the stopped as it was useless all around.  

BOO HOO on the muscle cramps :(  .. they kept on coming with or without add'l potassium for me. :(

Another key factor that didn't help one bit for me was prescription anti-inflammatories!  Did not touch the pain of the ankle joint or muscles.

Exercise specifically to strengthen that area did nothing.  I was ready to see an Orthopedist or Rheumy when we figured this out finally.  

Just 2 weeks ago, I found out it was from hypo for sure and the only thing that helped it was the higher Synthroid.  I am very very lucky to have an answer and proven not a coincidence.

I still get them but nearly as bad ... I may be lucky as having that as a barometer to know if my #'s go off-keel once I'm regulated on my dosing, huh ?!


Avatar universal
Hi, Patue--

I am sorry to have been very slow in replying. I do not have internet access at home, so I was away from the forum all weekend.

It sounds as if your symptoms and mine are a LOT alike. Almost like a reflex, I always encourage anyone who is concerned about a symptom or symptoms to have a medical assessment.  Because I am a layperson, I would be a fool to reassure you that you do not have a neurological disease.

All the same, I have to tell you that when my gynecologist looked at a list of my symptoms and became a little concerned about whether I might have MS, it caused me to do some reading about the symptoms of MS. In no time flat, I was thoroughly frightened, because so much of what I was reading was just like what I was experiencing. As I began the process of having my symptoms assessed, I was well braced for hearing terrible news. What a relief to be told that neurologically, I seemed to be in glowingly good health.

At the time, it was a gynecologist who first heard about the symptoms because I had seen a clear-cut relation between my menstrual cycles and the symptoms' severity. Now that I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I wonder how much of my "neurological" weirdness has been related to the perimenopause and menopausal stages of life and how much to a thyroid gland that was slowly but steadily failing. The two kinds of hormones (reproductive and thyroid) are so intimately linked that it may never be possible to be sure of which has been which for me.

In regard to what I do about the symptoms: the twitching has not been with me steadily throughout the years. When I have a spell of it, I have not been able to do anything about it but ignore it. During one of the times when my calves were cramping at night, I could prevent the cramping if I was diligent about exercising aerobically several times a week. Stretching my calf muscles before bedtime also seemed to help. Then I went through a spell of a few months' time when nothing seemed to help. It will be interesting to me to see if muscle cramping goes away once my hypothyroidism is under control (I am still early in the process of adjusting to medication).

I hope that your muscle problems go away, too, as your Hashimoto's is treated.  Am I safe in assuming that you are being treated? It is my impression that even if your numbers are in range, having a high level of antibodies is a reason to be given thyroid medication. I do not know if a physician has seen a connection between your miscarriages and having Hashimoto's, but I wonder if there is one.

Whatever the specifics of your situation, I DO care about you, and I am glad if that came through in my comments. You are entirely welcome, of course! I am so sorry that you have had a rough time of it medically for quite a long stretch of time. Do you have a good endocrinologist and/or gynecologist? It sounds as if what you need, first and foremost, is one or more physicians you can work with smoothly. Someone ought to be working with you to help you get your very reasonable wish: a life and a family, and someone certainly should refer you to a specialist for an assessment of your scary symptoms. It is an ongoing strain to have scary stuff going on; how well I remember. If you had that particular strain taken away, it would improve your situation a lot, I am sure.

Wishing you the best,
Avatar universal
Dear GL,

In regard to your comments about hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and muscle or joint-related symptoms: thank you for the tutorial! As I look backward in time and rethink the symptoms I have had in light of the still-new knowledge that my thyroid gland has been failing, the framework you have provided is very helpful.

Your opening words "While not generally well-known or understood" made me think of something that has become a running joke during my six-year relationship with a wonderful rheumatologist. The joke is that my LEAST favorite phrase in the English language is "poorly understood."

Best wishes,
Avatar universal
I've been reading this dialogue with great interest.  Surely we can learn from each other's experiences and I'm wondering how much my symptoms have to do with hypothyroidism:  pain/aches in my muscles (legs and arms mostly), weakness in legs at times, headaches, some occasional dizziness, twitching feeling and cold sensitivity on occasion.

The TSH results are within normal ranges, so my doctor hasn't suggested hypothyrodism is the culprit, but maybe there's another marker to check as well?  I don't want to start taking medication but would do about anything to alleviate these issues.

This all started about 9 months ago.  Previously I was a very active 59- year old, having gone through menopause about 5 years ago. I've been to a neurologist, who took a brain MRI, an EMG test (electric probes to check nerve conduction), and an overnight sleep study.  Results were normal throughout, thankfully, because like others I was frightened of the prospect of having MS.

A rheumatologist did 4 blood tests:  C-Reactive Protein (inflammation, homocysteine levels), a gene marker for rheumatoid arthritis, sedimentation rate and checking on viruses.  Again, all normal.  She said the aches are likely part of the aging process and suggested I discuss this with my OB/GYN -- maybe consider taking hormone replacement therapy.  Haven't been through that yet and frankly do NOT want to take HRT.

I have osteoarthritis and am willing to deal with occasional pain in upper and lower back, but the weakness in the legs, along with aches, dizziness, headache, etc. is just wearing me down.  Seems there is no escape from some type of daily assault and I never know what to expect.  At times, I'm afriad to travel because the unexpected seems to follow me everywhere.  No doubt you all can identify with that helpless feeling regarding the unknown.  I keep wondering if the doctors are missing something.    

Any thoughts on what else to check to confirmation that this is familiar (in terms of symptoms and tests taken) would be much appreciated.   Thanks!  
314892 tn?1264623903
I also have dizziness as a main symptom when my TSH is too high as well as muscle twitching all over my body.

Dou you know what your actual TSH level is/was? Did you have thyroid antibodies tested?

Any TSH over 2-3 is suspicious, especially with positive thyroid antibodies.

I went for 13 years misdiagnosed with an inner ear problem I do not have because my TSH levels were deemed normal. They were always in the upper end of the range- over 3.5 consistantly.

My endo said I should have been treated several years ago, at least.

The above 2 ladies rarely post here anymore. I am friends with EmpatheticJenny. She recommended her endo to me as we live in the same area.
Avatar universal
I do!!  I'm hypo, but have been on Synthroid 150 for several months and am now slightly hyper.  I get twitches in my face, arms and legs.  The worst is when I'm tired or hungry, my legs muscles will shake and shake and there's nothing I can do.  I also get odd cramps that don't really hurt, just feel  weird, in my arms and legs.  I often get strange sensations in my neck too.

I know I haven't offered any explanation...  but at least you are not alone :)
Avatar universal
Speaking of JOINT problems...I was originally diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a little over 1 1/2 yr. ago by the GP,  who then sent me to a rheumy.  I was taking Celebrex 1-2 times a day with Tylenol for break through joint pain, stiffness and mild swelling of feet, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists and some finger joints.  They were just about to start me on Plaquinel, when low and behold, it was discovered that I had a goiter (along with some symptoms of hypothyroid).  I was started on just 25 mcg of thyroid hormone and within just 3 DAYS the deep aching pain, etc. I had more than 2 yrs magically went away!  It was miraculous!  The character of the achiness just changed dramatically overnight.  I still have some muscle problems-- mostly a little stiffness and soreness, but nothing I need to take pain pills for.  I told my dr that he is a genius!  I have been on the thyroid med for only 2 months now and am really looking forward to him bumping up the medication this next month when we redo all the labs to see if we can get rid of any residual muscle problems.  
Avatar universal
I was just diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis also a couple weeks ago. Did you ever have a RA Factor blood test?  
Avatar universal
Yes, but the RF and SED were always only low positive.  So, they were talking more in terms of mild RA, although I was miserable in pain and fatigued all the time.  Meanwhile, it is amazing how many ways the thyroid can affect the body,  mimmicing so many other diseases when it is out of wack.  But, if you have autoimmune thyroiditis (Hasimoto's) it frequently goes along with other autoimmune diseases, like RA.  My new GP hasn't tested my antibodies yet, but plan to ask him to at the next "blood letting".  I wouldn't be surprised if the tests are positive as I have lots of allergies, Celiac (inability to digest gluten), sever milk protein intolerance, and some kind of crazy thing going on with visiual auras (some or all of these are autoimmune).  I really feel for you if you really do have RA!  That is one mean disease and the drugs used to slow down it's effects mean serious business. I pray that your aches and pains end up being just thyroid as that can be treated far easier. Keep us posted on how it is going for you.  I'll keep sending the good thoughts your way!!!!!
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