Thyroid and Pain

I had a lesson this week in why a holistic approach to healthcare is so important. Pain management, which is my focus, is not just the simple treatment of sore muscles or tingling nerves; no, if I want to actually make a difference and help my clients I need to go deeper than this. Why are the muscles and nerves hurting in the first place?

For some, the answer is because the person suffers from low thyroid function. Chris Kresser explains it best:

Hypothyroidism is characterized by mental slowing, depression, dementia, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, cold intolerance, hoarse voice, irregular menstruation, infertility, muscle stiffness and pain, and a wide range of other unpleasant symptoms. In fact, every cell in the body has receptors for thyroid hormone.

These hormones are responsible for the most basic aspects of our body’s function, impacting all major systems. Thyroid hormone directly acts on the brain, the GI tract, the cardiovascular system, bone metabolism, red blood cell metabolism, gallbladder and liver function, steroid hormone production, glucose metabolism, lipid and cholesterol metabolism, protein metabolism, and body temperature regulation. The thyroid can be compared to the central gear in a sophisticated engine: if that gear breaks, the entire engine goes down with it.”

Coffee: Lift you up or put you to sleep?

As I have said in previous posts, pain in the body can be a sign of other issues. As the number of people suffering from low thyroid function rises, so too will the number of people in pain because of it. Treating thyroid issues is a complex process involving specific nutritional and supplemental needs. This is further complicated as the exact cause of dysfunction with the thyroid can relate to several conditions, not all of which are caught in a normal TSH test.

Typically, treating thyroid dysfunction will require a reduction of foods which deplete iodine in the body and an increase in the amount of selenium in your diet. Vitamin D and antioxidants are also important as they help with the inflammation brought on by this autoimmune condition. As we come into the holiday season, one should be mindful of maintaining proper nutrition in order to stay healthy.  It is not necessary to completely avoid the holiday treats; however, you should work to offset the nutritional shortcomings of these treats. Enjoy your Thanksgiving pie and all the trimmings, but make sure you eat healthy food so that you can continue to enjoy those special meals.

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