Fibromyalgia-Falling Through The Cracks With Low Thyroid

file1801281015946Seventy percent of my fibro patients suffer with an undiagnosed or mismanaged thyroid condition. The symptoms of fibromyalgia, fatigue, low moods, anxiety, brain fog, hair loss, tingling in the hands in feet, and cold hands and feet, are similar to those of low thyroid.

Did You Miss My Recent Tuesday Night Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia Teleconference? If so, you missed a good one? One of my patients joined me and shared her story of recovery-battling poor health and fibromyalgia for years only to be passed from doctor to doctor including a well-respected thyroid doctor who FAILED to diagnose and treat her low thyroid!

The sad thing, I think he is one of the brightest endocrinologists in the state.

Following my protocols she is off 90% of her meds and feels better than she has in years. Finding and fixing causes is the key to reversing fibromyalgia symptoms!

 

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Listen to the recording and hear what Robin shares about her road to recovery

You can listen to the free recording and hear what I have to say about thyroid disorders including explaining why low thyroid is so detrimental to your health, what tests you need to have done, what Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is and how to treat it. I shared quite a bit of information on the importance of finding and fixing low thyroid disorders.

I encourage you to listen to the recording and find out for yourself if your thyroid is part of your problem. Could it be one of the KEY pieces of the puzzle for your recovery? Learn more by listening to the FREE recording:

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Undiagnosed or misdiagnosed low or hypothyroid, continues to be a real concern for those with fibromyalgia. I find that in my practice, as many as 70% suffer from low thyroid function. Most have been tested for and cleared of having the disease, despite the fact they have all the symptoms of low thyroid.

There are over 27 million Americans who currently suffer from thyroid dysfunction, over half of which never get diagnosed.  About half of the cases that involve hypothyroidism (low thyroid), come from Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder.  Currently, it’s estimated that 10 million women with low thyroid function go untreated, and almost 8 million people with hypothyroidism go undiagnosed.  This is essentially because the blood test to look at the TSH level (thyroid-stimulating hormone) usually comes back normal, which leads doctors to think symptoms are more psychological in nature.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism or thyroid dysfunction are similar to the symptoms seen in fibromyalgia and include, but are not limited to:

  • Fatigue and feeling run down all the time.  This is the most profound symptom
  • Headache
  • Swelling, especially in the face, hands, and feet
  • Increased sensitivity to coldsad woman face
  • Memory problems
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Tingling and burning in the hands and feet
  • Balance problems
  • Joint and muscle pains
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Chest pain
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • High cholesterol
  • PCOS
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Nasal allergies
  • Skin yellowing
  • Weight gain, despite less eating
  • Thinning hair
  • Pale, dry skin
  • Decreased smell and taste
  • Skin thickening
  • Hoarseness
  • Slow speech

 

I can’t even tell you how many of my CFS and fibromyalgia patients come to me with all or most of the above symptoms that have gone untreated for years.

Normal blood work does not tell us anything; it is simply the start of an investigation because, clearly, something is wrong. If you’ve got all the symptoms of low thyroid and your doctor says your blood work is fine, something isn’t right.

It’s important to keep in mind that blood tests are compared to results from the general public, and we all know that those with CFS and fibro are not normal.  Their biochemistry is different from everyone else’s, so “normal” levels are not necessarily determinative for them.  Blood work in these patients needs to be carefully scrutinized for any changes or differences over a period of time.  Otherwise, they will fall through the cracks and continually get worse.

doc hlding pill bottlesThere is a herd mentality that is in place in our current Western healthcare system.  Many doctors have this idea that “well, blood work looks normal, so it must be psychological; therefore, I will give you medication that has nothing to do with the problem!”  Many of these herd doctors will take one or two of your symptoms and prescribe a medication that will treat just that one symptom… or at least, try to treat that symptom.

Popular medications that are being used when patients are found to have “normal” blood work despite their low thyroid symptoms are antidepressants, pain pills, stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall, and cholesterol-lowering drugs.

The art of doctoring is in the investigation; it’s taking the time and energy on the detective work to figure out underlying causes rather than simply taking a symptom or few and covering them up with potentially harmful drugs. 

Sadly, most doctors do this because “it’s what we’ve always done.”  Most will not take the time to find something new, even though they know what they are doing is not working.  Einstein once said that the “definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

Not all physicians are like this, of course, but their numbers are still overwhelming.  Even if blood work does come back slightly abnormal according to “normal standards,” many doctors are reluctant to prescribe thyroid replacement therapy because it puts the health of the patient at risk.  Risks of this replacement therapy include increased thyroid hormone, which can elevate heart rate, increase pulse, and accelerate bone loss.

Portrait of happy elderly black lady with eyeglasses smilingHowever, we need to remember that patients with low thyroid, especially if they have had it for years, are suffering with symptoms far worse than what comes inappropriate (given when blood tests are normal) from thyroid replacement therapy.

My experience is that patients DO IN FACT need thyroid hormone therapy or need the ones they are taking changed to one that works.

And fortunately I’m able to use special over the counter thyroid hormones and don’t have to depend on “follow the herd doctors.”

If you take a good long look at the pros and cons of giving replacement therapy to a patient with normal blood work and all or most of the symptoms of hypothyroid, in my professional opinion, I would say it is malpractice to withhold that therapy.  This is especially true for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue patients because they are already on a long list of possibly damaging medications that are likely contributing to their low thyroid function.  If you can take the chance to treat this problem with thyroid replacement therapy, which would help these patients reduce or remove some medications from their pill box, why not do it?

The state of affairs in treating hypothyroid is absolutely tragic.  It is why I have worked so hard to advocate for more accurate testing and treatment of hypothyroid.  Doctors need to take a chance and think before acting with a herd mentality.  The world, our culture, and our biochemistry and genetics are changing so doctors should be innovative, not stagnant.

There are a lot of doctors with their heads in the sand. They don’t understand fibromyalgia and certainly don’t know how to successfully treat it. Finding and fixing the CAUSES of fibromyalgia, rather than covering up symptoms with an ever-growing list of prescription drugs is the best way to reverse fibro symptoms. Drugs don’t make you healthy. They can be helpful but they don’t make you healthy. The way to beat fibromyalgia is to get healthy. Again finding and fixing the underlying causes is the key to success.

One common cause of fibromyalgia symptoms is low thyroid function. Finding and fixing low thyroid should be high on any doctors and patients lists.

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14 replies
  1. Sandra Kendall
    Sandra Kendall says:

    I truly believe I do have a low fibroid. My doctors have tested me and I was on the low side of normal but I have all of the symptoms. What medications but I ordered from you that would help ?

    Reply
  2. Tracey
    Tracey says:

    I live in Norman, Oklahoma and have had hypothyroid for almost 4 yrs. It was discovered after an unexplained very large grand mal seizure that last about an hour. Haven’t had one since. About 6 mths later bloodwork was done and thyroid was discovered only after I read my results with the Dr and working in the medical field my entire adult life I knew what I was looking at and question the results for it. I was always swollen and have never weight more than 125 pds at 9 mths preg. But was now 172. I started medication for it and the weight just fell off and water pill controls my swelling. I do yearly check ups for it and less than 2 yrs ago I started having weird joint and shoulder pain. My mom has very bad RA and also check that every now and then. This time he didn’t feel that was what it was. My results came back 3 times positive for Lupus but now think I may have fibromyalgia. My Dr also thinks my thyroid is off possibly and it’s time to check it anyway. So I’m getting ready to do that. I’ve been to 3 specialist and they just tell me I just need to keep seeing my psychiatrist. Which I do and keep all of my Drs in the loop of what I’m on why etc. BC I don’t want to take pain meds and won’t. Don’t like taking flexoril unless it’s just absolute last resort and steroids don’t really help much and I don’t like taking them. I’m almost giving up but I can’t!! I’m a newly divorced single mom and have to work and looking for new job now. I also have anxiety and panic attacks. They are less right now but with bills and when o have flare ups I get more depressed and fatigue from the pain. It’s exhausting!! I have grandchildren and feel this last year I haven’t been able to enjoy life. Your information has been very helpful! I want to find a great Dr that can help me and not just through drugs at me or tell me I’m crazy. One dr told me to see my psychiatrist after I told her I was in such horrible pain all day and not and lost a job from it for the first time in my life. It was humiliating and a week later I was in the ER with lots of gallstones and had emergency surgery the next Monday. She had just done an MRI and the stones were clearly there just not as many I thought or could see on the films myself. I’ve about thrown the towel in and just deal with it and for sanity reasons just tell myself I just have thyroid issues. I’m a very active person normally, don’t drink, never used or experimented with drugs so this has been very hard for me. And adds more to the depression and anxiety and harsh panic attacks I never had before. Any suggestions or guidence of where to start over and get help??

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

      Sorry you are having such a hard time finding a doctor who understands what you are going through and is willing to do the detective work to find out what is wrong and how to fix it. I’d love to help any way I can. You can see if there is a doctor trained by me in your area at http://www.functionalfibrodoctors.com and if not 955 of my practice is phone consults with folks throughout N. America. I can and do order blood work and functional medical tests that patients do in their town then I get the results and make my recommendations based on them. You can also call clinic 205-879-2383

      Reply
  3. Mary Anne Blum
    Mary Anne Blum says:

    Suffered from this for many years…was told I have palindromic rheumatoid arthritis…10 years later was sent to an RA specialist who had previously been an Ortho doctor…after 4 months of testing with no results went on a trial of Armour Thyroid and lo and behold instant (5 months) relief…over the years, many doctors would have me do a trial of other thyroid meds with a sudden onslot of symptoms… have continued on with the Armour Thyroid and loving life…it works…people, give it a try

    Reply
  4. Lenea
    Lenea says:

    I was dx with FMS at age 38. after a car accident, I was being treated by a Chiropractor that told me this. Plus I read about FIBRO in a magazine and realized I had the symptoms! I went to other drs. (4).. to see what to do and be sure this was true! I went to Dr Frederick Wolfe at the Arthritis Foundation in WIchita, Ks. he said I defintely had it… then in one year,I called for another appt. and was told he changed his mind about Fibro and a nurse said he didnt believe in it anymore..I was like what? He had gone on a world tour with pamphlets about FIBRO.. and then changed his mind?..WOW! I was put on Neurontin and Trazadone and turned into a mess… I was paranoid, aggressive and destructive…and suicidal! Saw a nuerologists and he did a DSM II test and afterwards said..”get a life”! That was real encouraging! I said what about all this PAIN?.. My sleeping habits have really gone haywire…my days are my nights and vise-versa..I

    Reply
    • Lenea
      Lenea says:

      I wasnt done… I get about 32-5 hrs sleep. wake up, griggy, more tired, drag around a while.. eat, get more tired and take a nap… for another 2-3 hrs… back up for 12-18 hrs this has been going on for about 14-15 yrs. I have asked many DRS. to check my thyroid…and they always come back with its FINE… but I know they dont dig deep enuff..just the reg. thyroid tests… because Ive read about it and what needs to be tested! My newest Dr. says my INS wont pay for it unless there is a true reason to believe that it’s a problem. How does he know that?
      here is a reason..I have most of the symptoms you listed…I did however cure my migraines..yay… a headache Dr at the clinic i went to had just told the ARNP.. that migraines are caused by MAGNESIUM deficiency… so I began taking 400 mgs a day and saw them less, so took 800 mgs a day for about 8 weeks and havent had a migraine in nearly 4 yrs.PRAISE GOD!..THEY were some of the worst… 2-3 days in bed.. in the dark, no sounds whatsoever.. light sensitivity.. head pounding loudly. So that’s over at least! Now im taking pain meds… Nexium for acid reflux (gerd)..81 mgs aspirin for heart (have had 2 mild strokes-2010 and one mild heart attack 2014). Vit D3.. IF I remember to take o them all… Im not much of a pill taker!I have an inhaler Symbicort was told I have COPD..and I know I dont..*dont have the symptoms… My MOM had it and I know what they are..and I have flexaril if i want to take them but they make me too GROGGY..so dont take them much.. couldnt take 10mg, so was RX 5 mgs
      Im not really on a lot of drugs.. but I really do believe its my THYROID causing the probs. mostly! And in the past 4 yrs I have put on a lot of weight. Im 5’3″ tall and weight 192-194 back and forth… have cut down on different foods, dont drink a lot of soda, generally eat the same things every month, that I buy.Not really active, (exercise less) because of back pain. Had back surgery in 2004. DIDNT HELP!Worse now really!A broken heel in 2007 form a car wreck.. have a brace for it but cant wear it because of hip/back pain. it makes me limp!.. Most recent Dx is Osteoarthritis in left hip and pelvic (inside thigh)left side. Was supposed to give me meds for that, but hasnt. I was given a home respiratory therapy machine.. for the COPD.. I tried it 2 times both made me hake so bad I couldnt stop.. so I dont/wont use it anymore. Another reason I dont believe I have COPD! Was told Id get used to the shaking?… Ill pass. lol.. So thats where I stand..I truly believe my thyroid causes most of my problems. I had an Aunt born with it, had a big goiter on her neck, removed and took meds all her life for it!Thanks for long post here but this has been a long time IVE dealt with this..I am now 63..Lenea s.

      Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      While I dont have a personal relationship with any doctors in that area that I can share with you, I will tell you that I work with patients all over the globe. you dont have to be seen in my clinic for you to follow my programs nd get well. I work one-on-one with people through the beauty of technology every single day, via video chat, or phone consults. You have access to my team, our programs and our products that are giving people hope and their life back every day. If you want to learn more about how you can get started, please visit http://fibroconsults.com

      Reply

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