Fibromyalgia and Low Thyroid Disorder

Dr. Rodger Murphree's Fibro Doctor: What is Your WHYIt is not unusual for patients to tell me that despite having all the symptoms associated with low thyroid, they have been tested over and over again for hypothyroidism but their tests are normal and their doctor tells them they are fine.

Well doctors and you should realize that you aren’t normal-“Normal blood work doesn’t mean anything, it is only the start, the beginning of the investigation. Those with fibro and or CFS are different, strange, weird. OK special! Their biochemistry is different. It is no wonder they often have “low normal” or “high normal” blood work which in their case suggests they are in positive for that test. Blood tests are based on samples from normal population or samples. You are special and your blood work needs to be scrutinized for any clues, otherwise you fall through the cracks. The herd mentality, lazy doctor, is all too happy to recommend a mood elevating antidepressant, stimulating amphetamine like Ritalin, pain pill or high cholesterol medication for the symptoms of low thyroid, missing the real problem, the cause hypothyroid itself. I believe the “art” of doctoring is taking the time to do the appropriate detective work, time to figure what the cause or causes are, not to merely treat symptoms because it is “what we do.” Patients are more than an ICD insurance code, they are real live human beings, as unique and different on the inside as they are on the outside-there is no one test fits all.

Cindy wrote,

“I’ve felt miserable for 14 years, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, hypothyroid, I had it all. My problems began after I had a hysterectomy. I was never the same after the surgery, I felt rundown, weak and I started having problems with poor sleep and lots of pain. I could barely get out of bed. I gained 30 pounds the first 2 years after the surgery, my hair was falling out, I became depressed and totally withdrawn from the world. I went to doctor after doctor and finally I was diagnosed first with fibromyalgia and then with a hypothyroid condition.

I was put on all sorts of drugs including Synthroid for my thyroid. Every 3-4 months I’d have blood work to check my thyroid and my endocrinologist would say everything looks good keep doing what you’re doing. How could everything be good? I was still gaining weight, had now gained a total of 60 pounds in last 5 years, my hair was falling out, I was tired all the time, and I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Something had to change. I met Dr. Murphree at a lecture in St. Louis, I knew he was someone who knew what I was going through and who could fix me.

He ran lots of tests and found that my thyroid medicine wasn’t working so he added an over the counter thyroid supplement to help it work properly. I felt better in a week. He then placed me on adrenal cortex supplements, vitamins, minerals, and a sleep formula. Six weeks later I was sleeping through the night, had more energy, less pain, and felt better than I had in years. I lost 14 pounds the first 2 months and

40 pounds while on his anti-inflammatory weight loss diet.  Thank you Dr. Murphree.”

 

concerned_womenIf you are struggling with fatigue, weight gain, low moods, cold hands, cold feet, hair loss, constipation, low body temperature (below 97.8), elevated cholesterol, and brain fog, you most likely have some low thyroid issues. This could be true hypothyroid (elevated TSH), inactive T4 hormone not converting into active thyroid hormone T3, or you’ve got the beginning of an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (elevated thyroid antibodies TPO and TGB).

If you suspect you are suffering with a low thyroid condition find a functional medicine doctor who will recommend specialized thyroid blood work.

I have an entire updated chapter on thyroid disorder in my upcoming 5th edition book, Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which will be in book stores later this summer.

You can learn more about thyroid conditions, proper testing and treatment by listening to a free teleconference I did on the subject by visiting my teleconference archives:  http://drrodgermurphree.com/fibro-conference-recordings/

62 replies
  1. Tommie Sharratt
    Tommie Sharratt says:

    That first part of the letter sounded just like me. It all started after hysterectomy. I gained alot of weight hair started falling out started having pain all over. Every time I asked about my thyroid I was told it was normal. I no the way I feel has a lot to do with thyroid. But since I don’t have insurance I have to go to the health dept. and they keep telling me its alright. Wish I could go to a good Doctor.

    Reply
    • Dr. Rodger Murphree
      Dr. Rodger Murphree says:

      I understand, but where there is a will there is a way. Money can be huge hurdle to getting well, but I encourage you to not let what is and what isn’t covered discourage you from finding a doctor who knows what he or she is doing.

      Reply
  2. Peggy St Clair
    Peggy St Clair says:

    I have been told over and over that my labs are fine. Yet I have al the symptoms of a bad thyroid. Finding a dr in our area of the ozarks is almost impossible. I have read that the adrenal gets tired after too much stress Isn’t this how Fibro start?

    Reply
  3. Martha Murphy
    Martha Murphy says:

    I have had Fibro for 15 years. I noticed low thyroid symptoms a decade ago. Luckily, my GYN/PA has a close association with a great compounding pharmacist. He had me take my basal underarm temp average over a week and it was quite low. They put me on a transdermal cream, Liothyronine, once a day. Within 24 hours, I was a new person. I still have Fibro, but the many low T3 symptoms have been largely defeated.

    Reply
  4. Diane Hines
    Diane Hines says:

    Dear Doctor, I would appreciate it if you could refer me to an Endocrinologist in my area that will check me for all you mention above, as I have all of that. Right now I’m on 25 mg of the same thyroid med and am still tired all the time, plus the pain and other symptoms. One day of maybe shopping, or visiting or something out of the norm and I’m exhausted for the next 2 days and in pain all over. I live in Taylor, MI, a southwestern suburb of Detroit. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Diane

    Reply
  5. Diane Schroeder
    Diane Schroeder says:

    What is the over the counter thyroid supplement that this lady is taking? I have been on synthroid for about 10 years and still have symptoms even when the blood work comes back and that everything is fine.

    Thanks, Diane

    Reply
    • Dr. Rodger Murphree
      Dr. Rodger Murphree says:

      Thyroid supplement is available only to patients I’m working with by phone or in clinic. Sorry but like medication, although over the counter, this supplement needs to be monitored through blood testing.

      Reply
  6. Jane Fuller
    Jane Fuller says:

    I DIAGNOSED WITH HYPOTHYROIDISM WHEN I WAS 4 YRS OLD.HAVE TRIED THE SYNTHETIC THYROID MEDS AND GOT NOWHERE SO DR.WENT BACK TO ARMOUR THYROID 120 MG 1@DAY,I’M 62 YRS OLD.I HAVE NOT HAD ANY ENERGY FOR ABOUT 25 YRS,WAS TOLD I HAD FIBRO ON 12/20/12 BY PAIN DR.FAMILY DR SAYS WALK IT OFF AND I’LL HAVE ENERGY.HE JUST DOESN’T GET IT HOW CAN I WALK IF I’M IN PAIN AND HAVE NO ENERGY?THYROID TSH ALWAYS COMES BACK IN THE “NORMAL” RANGE I’M SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED WHAT BLOODS TESTS DO I NEED I’VE MADE SEVERAL SUGGESTIONS TO FAMILY DR.AND HE REFUSES TO LISTEN.I WEIGH ABOUT 176 LBS.AND I’M 4ft11COULD YOU PLEASE HELP ME OVER THE PHONE?I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT HOME PHONE IS 301-696-1232.I ALSO HAD 3 LOWER BACK OPS AND STILL SUFFER RESIDUAL PAIN.

    Reply
  7. Karen Messerli
    Karen Messerli says:

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 24 years ago and for years managed to function with one little pill a bedtime. I just had surgery a couple of weeks ago and the pathology report state severe inflammatory disease in the sinus. It was a horrible surgery and I tried to ask if there a connection with fibromyalgia (severe inflammation) but I couldn’t explain it well enough for him to understand. My concern is that I’m being treated by a family doctor and not someone who is going to be aggressive enough. I am now disabled and I just want to be sure that I’m getting every opportunity. Where is Dr. Murphee’s office located. I think I want a more aggresive approach.

    Reply
    • Dr. Rodger Murphree
      Dr. Rodger Murphree says:

      Karen,
      My office address is: 2700 Rogers Drive, Suite 100 in Homewood, AL 35209. I also do phone consultation with patients all over the world. If you are unable to come to my clinic, please don’t let that stop you. You can contact my office and schedule a phone consultation. Toll Free Phone: 1-888-884-9577, or Regular Office Phone: 205-879-2383. I wish you the best in health and happiness.

      Reply
  8. Caryn S FitzGerald
    Caryn S FitzGerald says:

    My sister has all of these symptoms and has had so much trouble getting help, even with a growth on her thyroid.
    Thabk you for this article, just sent it to her!

    Reply
  9. Sue
    Sue says:

    I have fluctuating T3 Free T4 tests…it’s been as low as 0.012 and usually will go back to a low normal of 0.43 and the other test will be a high normal.
    I have had lots of weight gain, 45lbs in a few months.
    Temp is 97.6 to 98.1 normal anything above is a low grade fever. At the dr. office a 98.6-99 degree temp is normal.
    I get constipated or very loose stools. I’m very tired all the time. The Hashimoto’s came back neg and so did the other one, can’t remember the name. if you poke me anywhere on my body lightly it feels like you’re poking a bruise or poking me with a needle. It’s very hard to remember things, especially during a conversations. I could really use some suggestions to talk to my dr about that would get his attn. Thank you,
    Sue

    Reply
    • Dr. Rodger Murphree
      Dr. Rodger Murphree says:

      Sue I suspect you have thyroid autoimmune disease and need to have special testing done including thyroid antibody tests. For your TSH to be low and you have low metabolism something is being missed.

      Reply
  10. Deborah White
    Deborah White says:

    Dr. Murphree,
    I have had Fibromyalgia for 16/17 years and did quite well with it up until 2 years ago when I had the flu from “heck.” I never have recovered. I also have hypothyroidism for the last 8 years. One of those where I never fell outside the margins until one day – then now I am on Levothroxide 112mcg. What is left from that flu is an exhaustion like I have never felt with just Fibro. I have had throat issues – swallowing, sore, swelling of glands up and down and a fever for no reason leaving a flu/strep throat feeling 24/7. For a year I have had insurance so we were on a hunt to find out why. I have had blood tests that all came back normal including lupus, lyme, and the one that tells you have an infection component to it, all normal. I had an endoscope to see why I felt that things were getting stuck in my throat – came out fine – movie to prove it. I have had the dye put in to see if there was anything clogged. Due to the exhaustion I have had heart tests with treadmill etc. And when they couldn’t find anything and I was still complaining of the pain, sore throat and flu feeling and the occasional bruise showing on my throat and trouble swallowing, they sent me to an neuro-psychologist. I came out fine and showed “I was putting my best foot forward.” Just recently I had from my regular Doctor a sonogram as my chiropractor took an extra that “showed something” and it showed Thyroid u/s showing generalized inflammation but no discrete nodules. All that to ask if this is normal for a patient that has Fibromyalgia? ****what I have read is that the inflammation will start from an illness, the patient presenting this has not been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and they put them on meds. The patient then is put on meds and in 2 months the problem has been solved. I have been on meds for 8 years and the swelling has been going on for 2 years. So I must be one of those weird patients. Is this something that you have heard about in your vast travels into the Fibromyalgia world? Thank you.

    Reply
  11. karry larsen
    karry larsen says:

    Dr. Murphree,
    I have the same issues as the above. It started when I had a hysterectomy. And I was diagnosed with fibro about 2yrs ago. Can u refer me to anyone in myarea…SSpringfield, TN or the Nashville area? Or can I call u for help? I love what you”re doing for people like me!! God bless you!

    Reply
    • Dr. Rodger Murphree
      Dr. Rodger Murphree says:

      Karry: I don’t know of a doctor in TN but I do phone consults, which make up 90% of my practice. I can order tests for patients they get at their local lab and we consult by phone. 205-879-2383

      Reply
  12. Dee Jones
    Dee Jones says:

    Hi Dr. Murphree, this question isn’t just in regard to thyroid issues, but it’s pertinent here as well. I’m one of those folks who has been through years of tests and treatment protocols, from allopathic doctors, holistic doctors, and self- directed. I have a diagnosis of FMS, CFS, and MCS, depending on the doctor you talk to. My question is about the “chemical sensitivity” part of this. Many of us are sensitive to or intolerant of not just medications, but nutritional supplements as well. Best intentions may be to treat naturally, but if some of us just get more toxic, what’s to be done? I would appreciate knowing your philosophy about this. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Dr. Rodger Murphree
      Dr. Rodger Murphree says:

      Chemical sensitive patients are a challenge – I do a special liver urine test to see where problem/chemical issues are – phase I or II, and have a protocol for treating with a subtle approach. Some detailed in my book. I have a number of chemically sensitive patient I work with.

      Reply
  13. charmaine
    charmaine says:

    I had that same issue, but my doctor was persistent I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and was finally diagnosed with Fibro. I have suffered for years with Fibromyalgia, I was told that your entire body cannot hurt that bad, I am lazy, I am depressed etc. I am always fatigue.

    Reply
  14. Johanna Jimenez
    Johanna Jimenez says:

    I am absolutely at my wits end, not only with my own health issues which I cannot resolve, but not with my 24 year old daughter. We were literally laughed out of a doctor’s office and he lectured me telling me that I “really need to stop filling my daughter’s head with this nonsense.”

    WHY is that way today?! WHY do so many doctors just roll their eyes when you start asking about things with any degree of intelligence?

    Honestly, no offense to you.

    It’s just that every time I read these posts and all these stories, I see myself and now my daughter in every single one. We’ve been through hell and back and there again. WHY can’t our doctors see it?

    Reply
  15. Janice H Allen
    Janice H Allen says:

    Oh my gosh I feel like someone turned a light on. This is me to a tee. The only thing I don’t notice is cold hands. It happens every once in a while, but I had a hysterectomy when I was 28 and when I was 30 I gave a kidney to my sister. I had a blood clot in my left arm four months later. Ever since then I have been in pain and tired. I take all the same meds. My mom had low thyroids. Is that something that is genetic? I am now 55 and I don’t want to live like this. Last year I was in an automobile accident and broke four ribs and then one month later I got sinus infection and staph that I lost my hearing in my left ear and my since of smell. They blew out my sinus cavity and repaired a deviated septum. I blew a clot in my right eye. I was a sick pup. I am looking for a Doctor that can get me off some of this medicine. I want to loose 50 to 60 pounds. I am 5’2 and weigh 205. I weighed about 135 to 140 before all this began in 1986. I have to take 3 pain pills a day just to be able to work, and I love working. On the weekends I can sometimes get away with two. My family would love for me to get off pain meds. They truly don’t understand. I sometimes have attacks, or that is what I call it. It literally makes me bed ridden. I was told back in 1988 I had zarcoidoses. I may not have spelled that correct. I have had my appendix, gall bladder, and have had two spinal fusions. I get shingles anytime my nerves get over stimulated. If I cry I can count seven days and I will have a break out. If you can help me or guide me it would be greatly appreciated. I currently live in Mobile, Al.

    Reply
  16. Peg Mellenbruch
    Peg Mellenbruch says:

    Dear Dr Murphree,
    I have been diagnosed with Fibro about 4-5 yrs ago. I resently lost my job of 20 years working at a police station as a dispatcher. Ever since my body is so full of pain, (almost feels like the same feeling when I had the shingles) however they are not surfaceing. I told my dr the other day that it feels like razor blades inside my body going down and across as slow as one can take them. I also explained my loss of memory, concentration, and not being able to pass the test for another police agency. I tell him I have been research on the internet reference the Fibro Fog. I kind of laughed at me and said that he has never heard it being called that and Fibro does NOT cause memory loss. I am VERY confused!!!!! Can you suggest what I can do, as since I lost my job of nearly 20 years, I do not have any insurance at this time. I appreciate your time.

    Reply
  17. J Miller
    J Miller says:

    That first part of the letter is me EXACTLY, except my health went downhill after having my daughter. I went from 103 lbs to 240 in 2 years and i was active my entire pregnancy (mountain biking, running, etc). I was diagnosed with fibro, CFS, and hypothyroidism when my daughter was 3. Nine years later, my white blood cell count is sky high and my blood work always shows inflammation. The doctor has no answer except to shove me off to then hematologist. I suffer from migraines and every migraine med stopped working. Then they switched me to injections. Those stopped working. I do not sleep. I get immune to everything I take including sleeping pills. I’ve been on Synthroid for about 10 years. My hair is still falling out, my skin cracks and bleeds because it’s so dry, I’m always cold, I don’t sleep. I totally feel for everyone that suffers from this. It steals EVERYTHING away from you. I can no longer do anything that I used to. Those hobbies and activities were my identity and that’s gone. What do you have when you can’t work, can’t do activities with your kids, and can’t enjoy hobbies? You sit and slowly watch it all fade in pain. I hope that everyone that suffers from this can find answers and relief.

    Reply
  18. Becky
    Becky says:

    My thyroid levels where high for the first time in my last bloodworm. Dr said I’m such a mystery, that he’ll wait and check levels in 4no. I’ve had fibro for 18 years. Any advise? Thank you!

    Reply
  19. lisa thompson
    lisa thompson says:

    I believe that I have many of the same issues you are discussing and what the comments are mentioning. Could you please tell me the cost of phone consulations? Thank you, going to read your book very soon, picking it up from the library tomorrow.

    Reply
  20. Mary
    Mary says:

    Ive had fibro for almost 3 years now , amongst 3 neck surgeries, have chronic lower back pain , really bad migraines , that last for days…getting them more lately…I have fatigue , so much , and anxiety , and lately have felt really depressed…but wanted to say too , depending on what kind of insurance you have , makes a big difference on how you are treated , and what all they can do, had a dr once , first time going in , saying , I cant do this, this , this , right off the bat…had another dr ask me , when are you getting good ins?…I thought….what the heck ! What Im saying is…hard to find good drs…on medicaid…state ins….

    Reply
  21. Lisa Choiniere
    Lisa Choiniere says:

    What does a phone consult entail? I have had testing done and have results and my T4 is low, T3 is marginal and TSH is “normal” but I have every single symptom of hypothyroid. Do you order more testing and is that testing qualified under insurance? My doctor is convinced I am not hypothyroid but he does believe in my fibro. I am frustrated and need help.

    I also have fibromyalgia, bilateral pulmonary emboli, migraines, insomnia, and a host of emotional issues.

    Reply
    • Dr. Rodger Murphree
      Dr. Rodger Murphree says:

      Lisa I review the new patient questionnaire you fill out, go through your history to uncover where potential problems are-goal is to correct causes not cover up symptoms. I review any recent blood work you have and if needed order additional blood work or labs. Most thyroid blood work is incomplete and patients fall through the cracks. 205-879-2383

      Reply
    • Dr. Rodger Murphree
      Dr. Rodger Murphree says:

      Phone consult-you’ll need to fill out comprehensive new patient health history paperwork. If have any past labs from last 2 yrs then please email or fax or let us request them for you. I review your health history do consult then based on or consult order blood work for you to do at your local lab I may also order test kit(s) sent to you for testing for adrenal fatigue, yeast overgrowth…etc. The new patient consult is $129 please call 205-879-2383 my staff is happy to help.

      Reply
  22. Chris eckstrom
    Chris eckstrom says:

    Dr.murphee , I have been diagnosed with RA ( neg for rheumatoid factor) and with fibro. My rheumatologist states I might have the start of Hosimotos disease so she order a thyroid test. I have had pain that no Medicene has helped. I am on Remicade for RA no help. A ton of pain med ( slightly takes away the pain. But now increased anxiety my hair is falling out. I lost about 15 pounds for no reason.
    I have been to a endochronogist about 3 years ago she diagnosed me with thyroiditis. No meds we started. I really want someone to listen to me. There is a thyroid history in my family and with all the meds I am currently on with no relief in site I am guaranteed a s have been for 6 years that I do not have RA but thyroid issues.
    Could you please let me know how much a consult is a d if you write a script for blood work is it covered by my insurance if it usually is. I am at my wits end. Please help

    Reply
    • Dr. Rodger Murphree
      Dr. Rodger Murphree says:

      Chris a new patient introductory consult is $129. Insurance doesn’t cover the visit. I can and do write a script to get the appropriate blood work, often labs that have never been done, although should have been done…The lab work is usually part of a global fee and included when I accept a patient into a 3 or 6 month get healthy program. 205-879-2383

      Reply
  23. rebecca
    rebecca says:

    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism one year ago and I am also a chronic pain patient. I have gotton no help from the thyroid medicines and am always fatigued and my moods are constantly unpredictable. I am at a loss as to what to do next since I have recently been diagnosed with anemic hemolysis on top of all this and they cant tell me what has caused this. nothing they recommend seems to help, do you have any ideas?

    Reply
  24. Darlene Thomas
    Darlene Thomas says:

    I have everything and then some. No one should feel this bad that goes to a doctor at least every 3 months and always has good normal labs!: Don’t you agree Dr. MURPHREE??

    Reply
    • Dr. Rodger Murphree
      Dr. Rodger Murphree says:

      I do. Sorry you’re not doing well. I suspect they aren’t doing the right labs, aren’t interpreting them correcting or content to let you fall through the cracks.
      205-879-2383 please call my staff will be glad to help anyway they can. I do phone or in clinic consults.

      Reply
  25. Karen Wallace
    Karen Wallace says:

    I was diagnosed with FM/CFS in 2009 and migraines in 2012. It has been a heck of a trial and error. I’ve been using Plexus products for 6 months now and feel better than I ever have. However, I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroid and put on synthroid. Since starting synthroid and raising my dose to 75 mg, I’ve put on 15 lbs. This is WITH Plexus, which most people lose weight with. My doctor has only tested my TSH. Is there anything else we should be checking?

    Reply
  26. Lisa Boyle
    Lisa Boyle says:

    I watched all of your videos that I could find, took notes, and started taking your suggested supplements and vitamins. I have struggled with fibro for about 4 years and was almost bed ridden after HELLP syndrome and a very difficult labor and delivery. Since following your suggestions and adding juicing (one per day, mostly veggies), I am pain free, migraine free, and running daily again. I was also able to discontinue all of the pharmaceutical drugs the doctors had me on. You have given me my life back and I can’t thank you enough!!

    Reply

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