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Can Thyroid Problems Cause Muscle Cramps

Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism

How Hypothyroidism Causes Chronic PAIN (& How to Stop it)

Thyroid disorders are common. In fact, about 12% of people will experience abnormal thyroid function at some point during their lives.

Women are eight times more likely to develop a thyroid disorder than men. Also, thyroid problems increase with age and may affect adults differently than children.

At the most basic level, thyroid hormone is responsible for coordinating energy, growth and metabolism in your body.

Problems can occur when this hormones levels are too high or low.

Hypothyroidism, or low levels of thyroid hormone, slows your metabolism and decreases growth or repair of many parts of the body.

Did You Know Your Muscle Pain Can Come From Thyroid Disease

Muscle disease, called myopathy, may occur as a result of having an underactive thyroid or an overactive thyroid .

The good news is that the symptoms of thyroid-related myopathies, such as muscle pain, weakness, or stiffness, are generally mild and eased with prompt treatment of the thyroid disorder. That said, in less frequent scenarios, a persons myopathy related to their thyroid disease can be severe and debilitating.

In the meantime, a Therapeutic Massage could be your best friend. Please make sure to tell your therapist about your condition so they may adjust the pressure.

Please also Remember, its important to see your doctor if you notice new and/or significant muscle pain or weakness. While your thyroid may be the culprit, there are other health conditions that can cause muscle symptoms, and these conditions require a different treatment plan. From my personal experience a Functional Medicine Doctors might have a different approach to analyzing your thyroid if you are getting the same answers from your PCP.

Antithyroid Drugs: Methimazole Or Propylthiouracil

Antithyroid drugs work by blocking the thyroid glands ability to make new thyroid hormone. These drugs are the choice of therapy during pregnancy or breastfeeding, for children under the age of 12 years, for people with severe Graves disease, and as a pretreatment for older adults, cardiac patients, or patients with toxic nodular or multinodular goiter before radioactive iodine or surgery. About half of the people treated with antithyroid drugs have a later recurrence of hyperthyroid activity. Relapse is higher in smokers, patients with large goiters, and patients with positive thyroid-stimulating antibody levels at end of therapy. Major side effects include rheumatoid-like arthritis and agranulocytosis, which usually resolve after 10 days of discontinuing the drug. Minor side effects include rash, fever, gastrointestinal effects, and arthralgia. Liver damage is another very rare side effect.

Read Also: Side Effects Of Levothyroxine In Women

Muscle And Joint Pain From Hypothyroidism

Chronic muscle or joint pain is a symptom of low thyroid that people hardly ever associate with the condition despite the fact that as many as 80% of people suffer from it. Hypothyroidism is common in women, especially as we age. One in six of us women will be hypothyroid by the age of 60, and in a significant number of women, low thyroid will go undiagnosed often because symptoms can be confusing or misleading. Unfortunately, many women experience years of needless suffering, and worse, when a thyroid condition is finally caught by their doctors, it is already at a stage that requires medication.

There has to be a better way, and there is when you learn to tune into your body and recognize red flag warning signs that your thyroid is sending you to take action now.

Are you experiencing weird muscle pains and joint aches that seem to happen out of nowhere? Heres what you need to know about low thyroid function and how it can lead to body pain, including joint pain, muscle aches or stiffness, muscle weakness and muscle cramping.

Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes


Hypothyroid myopathy is fairly common but often missed because clinicians fail to ask patients about muscle-related symptoms. It is often mistaken for fatigue. The condition is best managed by an interprofessional team that includes a pharmacist, orthopedic nurse, therapists, and physicians. The key it to replace the thyroid hormone, encourage physical activity, and enroll in a physical therapy program.

The recovery is not immediate and may take months or even several years. The patient should be monitored by serial CK levels. Even after treatment, residual muscle pain and fatigue may persist in some patients. Nursing staff should assist with monitoring, followup, and education of the patient and family.

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Musculoskeletal Manifestions In Hypothyroidism

Thyroid hormones play an important role in the development, maturation and maintenance of morpho-functional integrity of locomotor system structures, wrote a researcher in the Romanian Journal of Rheumatology. The relationship between hypothyroidism and musculoskeletal conditions has appeared in the scientific literature since the 1800s.

Shoulder pain and its relationship with thyroid disorders has been suspected since the late 1920s. More recently, the implication of thyroid disease in rotator cuff tendon tears has been studied.

The neck stiffness and joint pain associated with hypothyroidism have been known for centuries.

In 2016, 52 rheumatoid arthritis patients underwent thyroid function testing and 20 of the 52 patients had hypothyroidism.

Carpal tunnel syndrome was discovered in 32.5% of patients with untreated primary hypothyroidism. Women were more vulnerable to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.

Adhesive capsulitis , Dupuytrens contracture, trigger finger, and limited joint mobility are common in patients with hypothyroidism as well.

The prevalence of fibromyalgia is approximately 2-7% in the general global population but as high as 30-40% in the population with the thyroid autoimmune disease Hashimtos thyroiditis.

Based on a study which analyzed data from individuals who participated in health screening programs at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in northern Taiwan , both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism were significantly associated with gout.

Prevention Of Muscle Cramps

Preventing cramps is the best approach. The following measures can help:

  • Not exercising immediately after eating

  • Gently stretching the muscles before exercising or going to bed

  • Drinking plenty of fluids after exercise

  • Not consuming caffeine

  • Not smoking

  • Avoiding drugs that are stimulants, such as ephedrine or pseudoephedrine

Stretching makes muscles and tendons more flexible and less likely to contract involuntarily. The runner’s stretch is the best stretch for preventing calf cramps. A person stands with one leg forward and bent at the knee and the other leg behind with the knee straighta lunge position. The hands can be placed on the wall for balance. Both heels remain on the floor. The knee of the front leg is bent further until a stretch is felt along the back of the other leg. The greater the distance between the two feet and the more the front knee is bent, the greater the stretch. The stretch is held for 30 seconds and repeated 4 or 5 times. Then the set of stretches is repeated on the other side.

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Investigate Other Sources Of Joint Pain Such As Rheumatoid Arthritis

Hypothyroidism most commonly occurs when your immune system mistakes your thyroid for an enemy and interferes with its ability to make the proper amount of thyroid hormone, according to the Mayo Clinic. Similarly, rheumatoid arthritis causes your immune system to go off-track your body attacks your joints and connective tissue, causing them to swell and be painful, notes the NHS.

Doctors aren’t sure why, but if you have either of these autoimmune disorders, you’re more susceptible to the other, according to past research. It can be difficult to tell if one or both are causing your joint pain. “We can fix hypothyroidism with the proper dose of hormone,” Dr. Harrell says. And different treatments are available for RA. Either way, finding the cause and a proper treatment for your pain is the first step to feeling better.

When To See Your Doctor

Is Your Chronic Pain Caused By Your Thyroid- Dr Hagmeyer

Although most muscle cramps are benign, sometimes they can indicate a serious medical condition.

See your doctor if cramps are severe, happen frequently, respond poorly to simple treatments, or are not related to obvious causes like strenuous exercise. You could have problems with circulation, nerves, metabolism, hormones, medications, or nutrition.

Muscle cramps may be a part of many conditions that range from minor to severe, such as Lou Gehrig’s disease , spinal nerve irritation or compression , hardening of the arteries, narrowing of the spinal canal , thyroid disease, chronic infections, and cirrhosis of the liver.

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Diagnosing Benign Fasciculation Syndrome

Fasciculations can be symptoms of several health problems. A serious neuromuscular disorder isnt usually the cause. Other more common causes can include sleep apnea, hyperthyroidism , and abnormal blood levels of calcium and phosphorous.

Still, fasciculations can be a sign of severely debilitating neuromuscular problems. For that reason, doctors are likely to evaluate them carefully.

A common way to evaluate muscle twitches is with electromyography . This test stimulates a nerve with a small amount of electricity. Then it records how the muscle responses.

Doctors may also evaluate overall health and risks for fasciculations with:

  • blood tests
  • a thorough neurological exam, including tests of muscle strength
  • a thorough health history, including psychiatric problems, physical symptoms from stress, and quality-of-life concerns

Benign fasciculation disorder is diagnosed when fasciculations have been a frequent, main symptom and there is no other sign of a nerve or muscle disorder or other medical condition.

There is no treatment to reduce benign fasciculations. They can resolve on their own, especially if the trigger is discovered and eliminated. Some people have had relief with medicines that decrease the excitability of nerves, including:

  • carbamazepine

Tight And Stiff Do They Mean Anything

Our muscles can never be truly relaxed, short of paralysis. Living muscle is always on the job. There is a baseline level of mild contraction applying continuous tension to all our tendons, holding us together even when we are completely at rest. Contraction is not on/off, but a matter of degree, and the same muscle tone may be more or less functional in different ways for different people in different conditions.

And so the idea of normal muscle tone cannot be defined, or even be objectively measured. There is no tensionometer. What about subjective measurement, like when your massage therapist says youre tight? Surely if anyone can detect muscle tension its a massage therapist! But no, not really: theres a wide range of apparently healthy muscle texture it seems to be only loosely related to any common aches and pains and stiffness, and devilishly difficult to assess. See Youre Really Tight.

Can you feel your own tightness? Probably you can sure as hell feel a cramp! And many other pathologies that involve unwanted contractions.

And yet stiffness usually doesnt describe a tissue state its just a subjective feeling, a symptom, which correlates poorly with anything measurable . Its likely that stiffness is more like a form of mild pain, and is a terrible way to judge muscle tone. See Why Do Muscles Feel Stiff and Tight?

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Symptoms Of An Underactive Thyroid

Many symptoms of an underactive thyroid are the same as those of other conditions, so it can easily be confused for something else.

Symptoms usually develop slowly and you may not realise you have a medical problem for several years.

Common symptoms include:

Elderly people with an underactive thyroid may develop memory problems and depression. Children may experience slower growth and development. Teenagers may start puberty earlier than normal.

If you have any of these symptoms, see a GP and ask to be tested for an underactive thyroid.

How Abnormal Thyroids Cause Pain In Feet

Can Thyroid Problems Cause Bags Under Eyes

Hypothyroidism can lead to foot pain.

Thyroid disease can refer to any dysfunction of the thyroid gland, a large butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. People who have thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, often experience foot pain.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive and no longer produces all the hormones the body needs. The lack of hormones causes chemical disruptions throughout the rest of the body, including the autoimmune system and metabolism. Fortunately, treatment of hypothyroidism is fairly easy if caught early. Patients with the condition often take hormonal supplements in order to keep their body balanced.

Advanced Foot & Ankle of Wisconsin helps patients with hypothyroidism manage foot pain caused by this condition. Learn more about hypothyroidism including:

  • Cold sensitivity
  • Muscle pain or stiffness

If you notice many of these symptoms, it is best to see your doctor for a formal diagnosis. Once you have confirmed hypothyroidism as the cause of your pain, it is time to move on to treatment. An untreated underactive thyroid can lead to a fatal condition known as myxedema. Other long term complications include heart problems and depression.

Who Is Most Likely to Develop Hypothyroidism?

A hypothyroidism diagnosis is your first step to treatment.

Finally, if anyone in your family has hypothyroidism your chances of having it increase. Check with your doctor if you have a family history of thyroid disorders.

Recommended Reading: Does Fasting Affect Thyroid Blood Test

Benign Fasciculation Syndrome Symptoms

The main symptom of benign fasciculation syndrome is persistent muscle twitching, tingling, or numbness. These symptoms happen when the muscle is resting. As soon as the muscle moves, the twitching stops.

The twitches occur most often in the thighs and calves, but they may occur in several parts of the body. Twitching may only be every now and then, or it may be almost all the time.

People often worry that fasciculations are related to a serious neuromuscular condition like ALS. Its worth noting that fasciculations arent the only symptoms of ALS. In benign fasciculation syndrome, fasciculations are the main symptoms. In ALS, fasciculations are also accompanied by other problems such as worsening weakness, trouble gripping small objects, and difficulty walking, talking, or swallowing.

Benign fasciculation syndrome is thought to be due to overactivity of the nerves associated with the twitching muscle. The cause is often idiopathic, which means its unknown.

Some studies have shown some association between fasciculations and:

  • a stressful time

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What Can You Do For Weak Legs

This approach involves the following:

  • Rest. Take a break and rest your legs.
  • Ice. You can ice your legs or soak them in ice water for 20 minutes at a time.
  • Compression. Wrap your legs in a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
  • Elevation. Keep your legs raised with some pillows to reduce any swelling or discomfort.
  • Recommended Reading: Fasting Blood Test Thyroid Medication

    Hypothyroidism Foot Pain Treatment In Wisconsin

    Dont live with foot pain from an under active thyroid get treatment!s

    The podiatrists of Advanced Foot & Ankle of Wisconsin help local hypothyroidism patients handle their foot pain. Stiffness can be treated with physical therapy exercises determined by our podiatrists. We are able to treat pain in the:

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    Hotshot In The Dark: A Spicy New Cramp Treatment

    What Causes Muscle Cramps?

    Biologically plausible? Check. Credible scientists on board? Check. Actually tested? Um

    Do we really have a cool new cure for athletic cramps? Have they been un-invented? And wouldnt that be great?! Or is it just another case of putting the marketing cart before the science horse? A good article from Dr. David Colquhoun about Hotshot anti-cramp product breaks it down for us:

    three references, two are to unpublished work. The third is not about Hotshot, but about pickle juice. are sufficiently suggestive that it might be worth testing Hotshot properly. One might have expected that would have been done before marketing started. It wasnt.

    And it still hasnt been done . Shocker.

    The other critical point Dr. Colquhoun makes is that its well known that nobody understands cramp. Indeed, we just do not have a good grip on the biology of that malfunction, which makes it tough to treat. While it is possible to stumble on a cure for a mysterious problem such things have happened before in the history of medicine most shot-in-the-dark treatments never pan out. So, wake me up when theres good trial evidence.

    Meanwhile, being prone to cramps myself, I look forward to trying some for kicks. Not that my personal experience with it will matter one whit. As Dr. Colquhoun points out, There can be no condition more susceptible than muscle cramps to self-deception because of regression to the mean.26

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    Trouble Concentrating Or Remembering

    Many patients with hypothyroidism complain of mental fogginess and trouble concentrating. The way this mental fogginess presents itself varies by person.

    In one study, 22% of low-thyroid individuals described increased difficulty doing everyday math, 36% described thinking more slowly than usual and 39% reported having a poorer memory .

    In another study of 14 men and women with untreated hypothyroidism, the participants showed difficulty remembering verbal cues .

    The causes for this are not yet fully understood, but difficulties in memory improve with treatment of low thyroid hormone .

    Difficulties in memory or concentration can happen to everyone, but if they are sudden or severe, they could be a signal of hypothyroidism.

    Summary: Hypothyroidism can cause mental fogginess and difficulty concentrating. It may also impair certain kinds of memory.

    Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroid Myopathy

    Hypothyroid myopathy typically manifests as polymyositis-like myopathy with proximal muscle weakness and an increased creatine kinase level. However, it sometimes manifests as muscle enlargement and stiffness in adults, this condition is called Hoffman syndrome. In children with hypothyroid disease , a pattern of proximal weakness and diffuse muscle enlargement is known as Kocher-Debré-Sémélaigne syndrome.

    Several case reports describe rhabdomyolysis associated with hypothyroidism. In these cases, the hypothyroidism is thought to have predisposed individuals to rhabdomyolysis.

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    What Should I Monitor During Treatment Session

    • Vital Signs: This is especially important if the patient is an older adult, has CAD or previous hx of heart disease, or presents with signs of dyspnea, fatigue, tachycardia, and/or arrhythmia.
    • Watch for signs of hypoparathyroidism such as muscular twitching, tetany, numbness, and tingling around mouth, fingertips, or toes if patient is post thyroidectomy. Hypoparathryoidism may result 1-7 days after thyroidectomy if there are complications during the surgery resulting in unintentional removal of part of the parathyroid glands.


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