How Hypothyroidism Causes Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia + Treatment

Is your intuition telling you that your hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's is causing your chronic pain?

​I've got news for you:

Your intuition may be right.

thyroid intuition gif

Low thyroid hormone can potentiate musculoskeletal pain that can be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia. 

Even more important than that is many providers (and patients) don't understand how to correctly diagnose, treat or manage pain and fibromyalgia related to hypothyroidism. ​

In this post I'm going to talk about how hypothyroidism causes chronic pain and fibromyalgia, how to correctly diagnose the condition and other treatments that may help or benefit patients who suffer from this debilitating condition. ​

To understand how this works you really need to understand the concept of Tissue Level Hypothyroidism...


The Connection Between Hypothyroidism, Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia

(Dr. Mercola and Dr. Lowe discuss the relationship between Chronic pain, Fibromyalgia and Hypothyroidism)

You probably know that your thyroid helps to control the metabolism of your entire body but did you know that it also has many more functions than just that? 

It's common for patients who are hypothyroid to gain weight, but one of the other (many symptoms) of hypothyroidism includes chronic musculoskeletal pain.

In fact it's not uncommon for hypothyroid patients to present with back pain, joint pain or multiple tender points deep in their muscular tissue

While hypothyroidism can cause chronic pain and a fibromyalgia like syndrome this doesn't mean that ALL cases of fibromyalgia and chronic pain are due to hypothyroidism. 

​That being said...

If you have either condition (chronic pain syndrome, fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome) you absolutely should have your thyroid checked out.

And I don't mean a cursory glance at your TSH, I mean a complete thyroid panel and thorough work up that includes ALL thyroid ​lab tests including markers for autoimmune thyroiditis. 

I hear patients all the time respond that their thyroid is "fine" only to find out upon closer look it's anything but fine. ​

Before we talk about how to correctly diagnose thyroid issues we need to talk about how thyroid hormone can cause chronic pain and fibromyalgia. ​

  • Bottom line: Hypothyroidism can certainly cause and potentiate chronic pain and fibromyalgia. Standard blood tests and standard "interpretation" of thyroid lab studies is insufficient to correctly diagnose the problem. To properly evaluate for this condition you need a complete set of lab tests and proper work up. 

Tissue Level Hypothyroidism Explained

​So what can cause "normal" thyroid lab tests but all the symptoms of hypothyroidism?

This condition is known as tissue level hypothyroidism

Tissue level hypothyroidism

Tissue level hypothyroidism may explain why there is a widespread dissatisfaction with standard thyroid treatment and standard thyroid replacement therapy with Levothyroxine or Synthroid

​It turns out that there are many patients currently being treated with thyroid hormone and yet they still have all of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, including chronic pain, hair loss, weight gain and weight loss resistance. 

​So what is tissue level hypothyroidism and how does it cause these symptoms?

​Tissue level hypothyroidism is the idea that you as the patient might have "normal" blood levels of thyroid hormone but due to a number of factors (including inflammation, weight gain, medications, chronic illness, etc.) that thyroid hormone can't get into the cells to do its job. 

So it remains outside of the cell in the blood stream making it look like your thyroid function is fine but in reality that thyroid hormone is almost inactive. 

This is also known as Thyroid Resistance. And it is probably one of the most commonly missed thyroid conditions due to how most Doctors and Patients diagnose thyroid issues. 

Standard laboratory tests can only measure what is happening in the blood stream. 


When it comes to thyroid hormone we don't care what's happening in the blood stream because thyroid hormone has to get into cells to do its job. 

Thyroid hormone is active when it travels through the cell membrane and directly attaches to the nucleus to what's known as a nuclear receptor. From there it directly changes your DNA in a process called genetic transcription and causes increase in metabolism, changes in proteins and increase oxygen consumption

Pretty cool, right?

​This means that in order to properly check if thyroid hormone is working we really need to look at both the blood levels of thyroid hormone and markers to see if it is actually working in the cell. 

One of the best ways to do this is by looking at the complete thyroid blood panel. 

  • Bottom line: It's possible for you to have "normal" levels of thyroid hormone floating around in your blood but that hormone is only active IF it can get inside your cells and turn on genetic transcription and change your DNA. Some patients have "normal" blood levels but that hormone can't get into the cells to do its job - this is known as tissue level hypothyroidism. 

The Complete Thyroid Blood Panel

The only way to correctly diagnose and identify tissue level hypothyroidism is with a complete thyroid blood panel.

This panel is designed to not only evaluate how much thyroid hormone is floating around in the blood but also evaluate if the tissues and cells are getting enough thyroid hormone.

The complete thyroid blood panel you need to use if you have Chronic pain or Fibromyalgia:

Complete thyroid blood tests image
  • TSH: Should be less than 2.0 - this helps determine how much thyroid hormone is influencing pituitary function
  • Free T3: Should be in the upper 50% of the reference range (patients with fibromyalgia and chronic pain often have VERY low free T3 levels)
  • Reverse T3: Should be less than 15 (the higher your reverse T3 and the lower your Free T3 the more symptoms you will have)
  • Free T3/Reverse T3 ratio: Should be greater than 0.2 when you divide both numbers (Chronic dieting leads to thyroid resistance and can worsen thyroid function)
  • Total T3: Should be in the upper 50% of the reference range (usually in the 130-150 range
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin: In Women this should be between 70 to 80 (This protein is secreted from the liver when thyroid hormone is present and active, so it can be used as a surrogate marker for thyroid tissue levels) 
  • Thyroid Antibodies: Should be as close to 0 as possible (high levels may indicate autoimmune thyroiditis and inflammatory conditions) 

When most providers and Doctors check thyroid function they are usually checking just the TSH. 

Without the other markers and the "optimal" reference ranges it is difficult to truly diagnose tissue level hypothyroidism.

I hope now you can see why many patients are told their thyroid function is "normal" and yet that is not true at all.

  • Bottom line: If you have chronic pain or fibromyalgia make sure you get the complete thyroid blood panel and you evaluate your thyroid function based off of the "optimal" reference ranges. 

The Link Between Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Hypothyroidism​

Chronic pain and Fibromyalgia frequently accompany each other, however no one has been able make the connection as to how or why.

But, if you look at the symptoms of Fibromyalgia and Hypothyroidism side by side you begin to see something very interesting:

Fibromyalgia and Hypothyroidism present with almost the exact same symptoms...​

There are several studies to show this (which we will go over below) but first I want to talk about a researcher named Dr. Lowe who put this all together for us. ​

Thyroid diet 4 week plan side bar

He linked tissue level hypothyroidism as one of the main causes of Fibromyalgia. And he did this through a concept known as 'deductively formulated theory'.

This method of problem solving takes all of the competing theories that cause a disease and by the use of mathematical analysis pumps out the hypothesis that is most likely to be correct. ​(This is the same logic that Albert Einstein used to come up with his hypotheses - like the theory of relativity).

Not only did he link the two conditions together he also showed us how to effectively treat and even reverse Fibromyalgia and chronic pain symptoms through various research studies and even case studies. ​

Through his research he found that the majority of patients who have fibromyalgia either have undiagnosed hypothyroidism or they are being inadequately treated with Levothyroxine or Synthroid (T4 containing medications).

​His research showed that in order for patients to have complete remission of their pain and fibromyalgia most of them needed the active form of thyroid hormone known as T3. 

T3 induced recovery from fibromyalgia

This is why it is so important to check your free T3, total T3 and reverse T3 levels (as discussed above) in order to accurately assess if your body has enough of this thyroid hormone. 

​As a quick primer: 

T4 is the inactive thyroid hormone that must be converted to T3 to become active <---- This is what most Doctors prescribe for patients​

T3 is the active thyroid hormone that turns on genetic transcription, increases metabolism and helps thyroid patients feel better <---- ​Most Doctors do not prescribe this medication but many patients with chronic pain and fibromyalgia may need it

Dr. Lowe's data showed that approximately 2/3 of patients improved on Natural Dessicated Thyroid Hormone (Medication like Armour thyroid, Westhroid and Naturethroid) and another 1/3 required higher doses of T3 only therapy (Liothyronine or sustained release T3) to get symptomatic improvement. 

While thyroid hormone that contains T3 was very important to treating and reversing fibromyalgia it wasn't the only therapy required to get complete remission. 

We will go over the rest of the treatment below, but first let's talk about some of the symptoms you might be experiencing if you have tissue level hypothyroidism. 

Symptoms of Tissue level Hypothyroidism & Fibromyalgia

As I mentioned previously blood tests are not 100% accurate in diagnosing hypothyroidism which leads to many undiagnosed and/or mismanaged patients. 

It turns out that using the combination of symptoms in combination with blood tests makes diagnosis much more reliable. 

Before the widespread use of TSH testing most patients were diagnosed by symptoms alone and their medication was also titrated based off of their symptoms.

​While there are hundreds of symptoms of hypothyroidism there are a few that remain very constant among patients who share both fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism which we will go over below: 

#1. ​Chronic Fatigue

This is the kind of fatigue that is debilitating. The kind of fatigue that keeps you from doing normal activities like household chores or going out. 

Patients frequently tell me that after they go out to do something simple like shopping they are almost bed bound for 1-2 days.

Chronic fatigue is both a symptom of hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia, but how are they connected?

2 ways: ​

Thyroid hormone is involved in the production of Dopamine.

Dopamine helps your body to determine how much energy it is going to expend and low levels have been associated with obesity. ​

If you have low levels of thyroid hormone you will have low levels of Dopamine which will result in the symptom of Chronic Fatigue.

Tyrosine is a precursor to thyroid hormone and dopamine

Thyroid hormone helps your body convert Tyrosine to ​Dopamine, Norepinephrine and Epinephrine.

You may know some of these hormones as "adrenaline" which helps to set the metabolism of your body and is required for the "fight or flight" response.

​The second way hypothyroidism causes fatigue is through decreased consumption of oxygen and thus decreased production of ATP. 

ATP is created in the mitochondria of your cells, if you have low production of ATP you will have the subjective symptom of fatigue. 

Thyroid hormone is involved in the metabolism of oxygen and oxygen consumption is required for proper ATP production.

#2. Weight Gain, Weight Loss Resistance & Inability to Lose Weight

Does it feel like you are constantly gaining weight, despite eating healthy or even exercising?

Many hypothyroid patients and fibromyalgia patients have difficulty with weight loss even though many of them are already restricting calories and exercising frequently. 

This isn't a normal condition and it can be mediated through low levels of thyroid hormone in the body. ​

​Under normal circumstances thyroid hormone helps your body burn fat by increasing the effectiveness of lipolytic enzymes (enzymes that break down fat).

When thyroid hormone is low, these enzymes are also low resulting in the inability to break down fat molecules - making it almost impossible to lose weight.

Thyroid hormone upregulates lipolytic enzymes and helps burn fat

(Thyroid hormone increases enzymes that help you burn fat, when thyroid levels are low your cholesterol will increase and metabolism will slow down)

In addition thyroid hormone is involved in mediating your basal metabolic rate or resting energy expenditure.

​In other words thyroid hormone manages your metabolism. 

Patients with hypothyroidism frequently feel like their metabolism is damaged and may gain weight even when eating 1200-1500 calories per day (sometimes even less).

In order to fix this metabolic damage thyroid hormone must be replaced. ​

#3. Hair Loss

Many patients with fibromyalgia have symptoms of hair loss and/or hair thinning. ​

It is well known that thyroid hormone is required for both hair growth and proper pigmentation.

​Now hypothyroidism isn't the only cause of hair loss but it is definitely one of the more common causes. 

Chronic stress itself can lead to hair loss and let's face it: having fibromyalgia is stressful​. 

But hypothyroidism is still a leading cause. ​

Not only that but low thyroid hormone ​leads to low stomach acid which leads to nutrient deficiencies that make hair growth even more difficult. 

Deficiencies ​in zinc, B12 and iron cause both hair loss and are made worse by hypothyroidism. 

Thyroid hormone is responsible for hair growth and pigmentation

(Low thyroid hormone leads to hair loss by itself but also leads to deficiencies of nutrients required for hair growth - it's a double whammy)

Just realize that replacing these nutrient deficiencies is a necessary and important part of reducing symptoms of both fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism. 

#4. Muscle Tension, Trigger Points & Muscular Pain

​Tender points in the muscles are common in fibromyalgia. 

These tender points are caused by abnormal contractions in the muscular tissue that stay contracted over long periods of time causing changes in the fascia and potentiating pain. 

In order to relieve the pain the tissue MUST relax, and in order for muscular tissue to contract there must be enough energy and ATP. 

Remember that thyroid hormone is required for proper ATP production?

​In order for muscles to relax your body must produce ATP (the energy currency in your body).

​What you may not realize is that contracting your muscles does not use energy, it's the relaxation portion that requires energy. 

thyroid metabolism reset poster for side bar

Consider this as an example:

When someone dies all of their muscles contract and they become "stiff", this is known as rigor mortis. ​

The reason for this contraction is due to lack of energy production.

The same thing is happening (to a smaller degree) in certain muscles in patients with chronic pain, fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism. ​

This inability to relax your muscles results in trigger point formation and muscle tension/pain.

Treating these trigger points and tender points is required for relief of pain and we will go over that below. ​

#5. ​Delayed Relaxation Phase of Deep Tendon Reflexes

This symptom you may not even realize you have, but it can be a VERY sensitive marker for diagnosing tissue level hypothyroidism. ​

When tissue levels of thyroid are low it results in the inability of your muscles to relax quickly which causes a slow relaxation phase when checking deep tendon reflexes.

Your reflexes have been tested whether you realize it or not:

Testing of the deep tendon reflexes happens when your Doctor hits your knee with his reflex hammer and your knee automatically "jumps".

Patients with low amount of thyroid hormone in their tissues have a slower response to the relaxation portion when this reflex is tested.  ​

This can be easily tested and there are even machines to help with the diagnosis. ​

How to Treat & Reverse Fibromyalgia & Hypothyroidism:

​These recommendations come from treating many patients with both chronic pain, fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism. 

You can see an example of a case study in a patient with chronic pain who had complete resolution in her symptoms, lost 40+ pounds and reversed her diabetes here. ​

This treatment works (provided your symptoms are due to hypothyroidism) and has the potential to help many patients if done correctly.

For the best results make sure to follow each of the recommendations below - doing just one or two of them will not lead to long lasting, significant results. ​

Step #1: Get on the right type and dose of thyroid medication

​For most patients this means some form of T3 thyroid medication. 

The majority of patients are already on T4 only medication (synthroid and/or levothyroxine) but in order to ensure that tissues are getting enough thyroid hormone you will need T3 added to your regimen.

If you have a diagnosis of hypothyroidism you can follow these steps:

  • Add T3 (in the form of liothyronine or cytomel) to your existing medication - you can ask your provider for this medication (this is probably the easiest way to get T3)
  • Switch from levothyroxine to NDT (armour thyroid, wp thyroid or naturethroid) ---> this may be difficult but some providers are willing to do it. Make sure you follow this dosing guide if switching
  • Temporarily (or permanently) switch to T3 only medication <--- this will be the most difficult to get but probably the most effective

If you don't have a diagnosis of hypothyroidism then I recommend these steps: ​

  • Check a complete thyroid blood panel
  • Check your symptoms using this complete list of hypothyroid symptoms
  • Consider checking your basal body temperature and resting heart rate (low body temp and low resting pulse may indicate hypothyroidism)
  • Find a provider willing to order these tests and treat appropriately (see medications above)

Step #2: Exercise to tolerance

The important part of this step is to find the maximum that you can tolerate and exercise to that point. 

This will vary depending on your energy level, your weight and your metabolism.

If you can only exercise for 5-10 minutes once per week, then that's fine. On the other hand if you can tolerate ​20-30 minutes several times per week then you should do that. 

Focus on taking your body to its limits and exhausting the targeted muscle group of glycogen and energy.

This can be done most efficiently by utilizing the idea of high intensity interval training or high intensity strength training.

Both exercises provide benefits over the traditional "cardio" type workouts where you sit on the treadmill for 45-60 minutes a few times per week.

The more intense your work out the better it is for muscular tissue, energy levels and your hormones.

It also provides a boost to weight loss. ​

Step #3: Eat a real, whole food, nutritious diet

Diet is an important part of treatment and the basics should include real, whole and nutritious food.

The macromolecule breakdown of your diet should be tailored to your body, your activity level and other specific medical problems you may have.

Real whole food diets include diets like whole30, the paleo diet and even nutritional ketosis. ​

You can find more information about how to pick your diet in these posts:

If you are new to the idea of changing up your diet take it slow but use the recommendations in the articles above to help get you started.

Changing your diet will be required for optimal health. ​

Step #4: Manage muscular tension with these recommendations

​As we discussed previously treating and "releasing" the tender points seen in fibromyalgia and chronic pain are required to reduce symptoms. 

Treating these tender points involves several therapies but universally some sort of mechanical force will be required to get rid of them.

I recommend and have used all of the following therapies for patients with fibromyalgia:

​Studies have shown that various types of massages improve quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. 

Whatever you decide to do just make sure you remain consistent with the therapy while doing the other treatment recommendations. ​

Step #5: Replace nutritional deficiencies

​Most people nowadays have some vitamin and nutrient deficiencies as a result of chronic stress and poor nutritional diet. 

Replacing these nutrient deficiencies is a vital part of the healing process and in most cases is required to thrive.

Hypothyroid patients (and fibromyalgia) are susceptible to certain nutrient deficiencies that may potentiate chronic pain and fatigue.

​For instance studies have shown that fibromyalgia patients tend to have a low mineral content via hair analysis. 

You can read more about the list of nutrients that hypothyroid patients need to function optimally here.

Below I will also go over the most important nutrients required for energy and to reduce pain & inflammation:

  • B complex vitamins <---- B vitamins (specifically B6 and B12) are required for proper energy production and replacing them may improve energy levels and reduce fatigue. When replacing vitamin B12 make sure to use B12 shots or Sublingual B12 for the best absorption. 
  • Zinc <---- Zinc reduces inflammation and is required for proper immunity, it also helps boost T4 to T3 conversion and helps the thyroid function optimally.
  • Iron <---- Iron deficiency leads to hair loss, decreased energy and even shortness of breath. Low levels are seen in patients with hypothyroidism, but be careful when supplementing not to get "too much". For the best absorption make sure to use liquid iron. 
  • Krill oil + Astaxanthin <---- Omega 3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation and provide relief to patients with joint pain and chronic pain syndrome. 
  • Bottom line: Replacing nutrient deficiencies is a necessary part of recovering from chronic pain and fibromyalgia. Make sure to target your nutrient replacement to targeted deficiencies based on lab tests. 

    Now I want to hear from you: 

    Are you suffering from chronic pain and/or fibromyalgia? 

    Have you been able to overcome your symptoms?

    Do you also have hypothyroidism? 

    Let us know what worked (and what didn't work) for you so we can further the cause and help as many people as possible. 

    Leave your comments below...

    Dr. Westin Childs

    I'm Dr. Childs and I write these posts. I'm a physician that specializes helping patients lose weight, have more energy and FEEL better. My practice focuses on hormone imbalances, thyroid issues and weight loss resistance. My goal is to provide the BEST information out there on the internet that is both actionable and trustworthy. Get my free ebook: Hashimoto's Diet Guide here. You can also find more about my personal journey back to health here.

    Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 202 comments
    Susan - March 2, 2016

    Hi this has been great information for me as I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue 8 years ago I hardly eat I’m constantly on the go and in exhausted and never lose any weight so going to get myself tested thank you

      Westin Childs - March 2, 2016

      Hey Susan,

      I’m glad you found it helpful! Make sure you get the right tests, but more importantly make sure they are interpreted correctly. Thyroid resistance is behind the scenes in many patients with these symptoms and can be easily missed if the reverse T3 isn’t ordered.

        Ilene - May 14, 2016

        I have been sick for many yrs. The Dr’s I have seen in the past have not been much help. They just say I have chronic pain, fibro or to take vitamins B12 & D3. They say I probably have fibro, but when I get copies of my medical records they have never put it in my records. I have been told for years that I have hypoglycemia, but when I check with a glucose meter my levels are always normal. I have a tumor on my thyroid that measures 5.8 and they only did an ultrasound, they just tell me not to worry about it, they have never biopsied it and don’t tell me to come back to have it checked again. I feel so bad I feel like I am dying. I have no energy and have all the symptoms of having a thyroid issue. How do I get a Dr to listen to me? I have found a lab that I can pay cash to have the test done without a Dr ordering them. What test do I need? It is expensive so I don’t want to have test done that are not needed. I feel so desperate to find help. Ilene

          Dr. Westin Childs - May 14, 2016

          Hey Ilene,

          You’re in a tough spot. I wouldn’t even recommend that you spend your own money on expensive lab tests because your doctors aren’t going to change their treatment. If the doctors knew how to interpret and treat those lab values they would have ordered them to begin with. The fact that they didn’t is very telling.

          Your best bet is to look outside of the insurance model and find a doctor that is aware of the conditions you have and knows how to treat them. I only know of a handful of people (out of thousands) that have been able to find a doctor in the insurance model that has been of any help.

          Bottom line: don’t waste your money on expensive labs hoping that your doctor will somehow see the “light” and start treating you correctly. It won’t happen.

          Kim - May 14, 2016

          If you cannot find a doctor to take you seriously, you need to take your health into your own hands. This is what I did and I feel so much better for it.

          Tonya Conner - July 4, 2016

          Have them do test RBI. That’s the only test it would show up my thyroid problem. Tumor and thyroid removed. Take 300 m daily. It goes crazy a couple times a year and dose is increased.

          Colleen - July 15, 2016

          Please change your Endo! For 7+ years Kaiser was tracking a nodule on my thyroid, they did do 2 biopsies that came back negative (if you don’t hit the right spot it will be negative and my dr. Was the one to do it, not a dr. That this is all they do) I changed insurance and seen a new Endo, had ultrasound and biopsy. Came back positive for rare thyroid cancer, Medullary, it’s incurable and my doctors believe I’ve had cancer 7+ years. There is a simple blood test to find this cancer, Calcitonin and CEA. KAISER never did this even though I had the only symptoms for it (diaherrea and flushing). With a nodule that big you must biopsy it!

            Lisa - July 15, 2016

            Hi Colleen ~ Thank you for sharing. I also had a nodule that was being tracked for 10yrs. After 2 FNA, they both came back negative but also said that they don’t know what’s around the biopsy site and suggested I have a thyroidectomy (which I regret). So you had 2 biopsies by your first doctor but then you went to an endo and they also did a biopsy and they found cancer, what was different between the biopsies your first doc did versus the new endo?

            Colleen - September 30, 2016

            The first was done by my regular Endocronologist the one where I was diagnosed was done by a pathology lab in Pasadena, CA where the dr. Only performs these biopsies. I forgot what they are called but this is his only job.

          Colleen E - September 30, 2016

          PLEASE see another dr. For your nodule, you need a biopsy! Several years they were (Kaiser Permenente) watching mine and even had a biopsy done by my Endocronologist (you should have it done by a dr. Who only does biopsies, they have experience and know how to do it) my biopsy (2 of them ) were negative. I got new insurance and seen a new Endo, I had new ultrasound that led to getting biopsy which was positive for a very rare form of thyroid cancer, Medullary Thyroid Cancer. When I found out they only had to do 2 blood tests (calcitonin and CEA) to know this I was extremely upset. This has been growing for 7 years. I had to have thyroidectomy and a central and left neck dissection. This was 2 years ago. It’s incurable. I am stable for now but had a suspicious lymph node on my ultrasound. Need a biopsy. Listen to your intuition you sense something is not right go find a dr. To do the right testing.

          Michele - April 26, 2017


          When I read your post it sounded just like ME, last year. I am not a doctor but the past 4 years I felt as if I was. You could possibly have a parathyroid tumor In your neck. You can be tested for this but you need to STOP taking vitamin D for 3 or more days, it will suppress your PTH. I was tested when I was taking Vit D and it came back normal, a false test result. Then I found Dr. Norman’s site, I stopped my Vit D and it came back high and my calcium was 11. You also need a bone density test. Please go to parathyroid.com this is were I figured out my lump in my neck was and I had my surgery there, they are the best. If you have high calcium, low vitamin and a lump in your neck, you need to test your PTH. BUT STOP taking your vitamin D. I hope this post will find you.

      Barrett Volcko - March 12, 2016

      I then researched Selenium and decided to give it a try. I have only been taking it for a few days and will have to wait to see if this proves my hypothyroidism and associated aches and pains.

      Rene - October 25, 2016

      Very informative. I have fibromyalgia chronic pain disorder soft tissue disorder. I am always fatigue. Low energu. Mu doctor keeps telling me there’s nothong wrong with my thyroid. What do I do?

    Lissa - March 3, 2016

    A friend sent me this link through Facebook. Question: I had my thyroid removed several years ago due to it being three times the normal size and Hasimoto’s disease. I am of course on thyroid replacement, bus still ha e chronic pain and exhaustion that comes on without warning. Will these things that you mention and write about help some one without a thyroid gland?

      Westin Childs - March 3, 2016

      Hey Lissa,

      Absolutely. If you are on a T4 only medication then your body will still have to convert that hormone into the active T3, and in the setting of any of the problems I talk about you may ultimately turn that right into reverse T3. Bottom line is that these recommendations will definitely help even without a thyroid gland.

    Tee - March 3, 2016

    I found this article interesting. Is it possible to only have pain in one area?] I take Armour 120 mg and 15 mg and have disabling calf pain that comes on suddenly. The pain can last from a day to months, which renders me unable to stand or walk. Arthritis, blood clot, vein diease, etc are negative. I am unable to lose weight and gaining since 15 mg was added. My rheumy wants necular muscle doctor to run tests to see if calf muscle is resisting magnesium. I refused since I feel problem is thyroid related. Unfortunately doctors in my area do not test R-T 3.

      Westin Childs - March 3, 2016

      Hey Tee,

      It is possible, but unlikely. I have a number of patients that I have successfully treated with conditions similar to yours. In some cases it’s been post herpetic neuralgia, in others it’s been related to venous stasis or arterial disease. Bottom line is you need further evaluation by a good doctor.

        Tee - April 8, 2016

        Thanks for responding. My calf pain comes and goes. I can have it for several months one year and not again for several years. MS tests were negative, but vitamin D level low. My D is 50 now. I was told I had measles, but not chicken pox. I didn’t get chicken pox or shingles when my children had them for a month or afterwards. However, the chicken pox blood test my doctor ordered was positive. I don’t know whether to believe the results since I tested positive for Sojourn a year ago and negative this year. This blood test can show a false positive, which is why a lip biopsy is recommended. I was researching NatureThroid and came across a consumer site where hundreds of patients taking Armour complained of leg etc. pain like mine and reported their symptoms to drug manufacturer. Their pain subsided when switched to WP or NT. My doctor switched me to 130 mg of NatureThroid last month and said she may need to adjust dose. I was taking 150 mg of Armour prior to switching. I felt wonderful the three days I took NT. Probably due to Armour still in my body, and took nose dive after 5 days. After falling asleep while eating celery with greek yogurt on Easter, I decided to increase NT. I started by adding 1/4 tablet of 130 mg NT to my daily dose. I was better in the morning and wiped out by afternoon. The calf pain returned too. Today I took 130 mg plus 1/4 tablet of NT in the morning and 1/4 of tablet at 1 pm. No calf pain even after swimming laps for an hour. ( I have been a lap swimmer for over 20 years.) I am glad my calf pain is gone, but unhappy that I gained 7 lbs in a week. I have been taking thyroid medication for 50 years and told my thyroid no longer exists. I go for blood tests next week. My doctor only does TSH and Free T 3 and 4, vitamin D, adrenals, cbc. I haven’t found a doctor in my state that does R T 3 tests. I took it upon myself to take 100 mg of B 6. I already take a multivitamin with minerals, D and magnesium. I get selenium from Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, etc. and C from veggies and fruits. My zinc and iron levels are good. I was raised eating fresh foods and continue to eat this way. My exercise, sleep and relaxation are fine. I didn’t start gaining weight, develop fatigue, etc. until doctors changed my thyroid meds. I am tired of gaining weight, fatigue, pain, and looking like an old woman instead of thin, energetic, etc. self I use to be. I looked for NP in my area. The one listed is so far away, I would need to move to see her. I don’t know what type of doctor to look for, but seeing another endo is out.

          Dr. Westin Childs - April 8, 2016

          Hey Tee,

          It can be tough finding someone who understands the thyroid, but keep looking! I would also recommend that you check out your other hormone levels as well. They could definitely be contributing to your overall health. Generally speaking, doctors that practice functional medicine can be helpful – as long as they can prescribe medication.

            Tee - June 5, 2016

            Hi Dr. Childs:

            I wanted to update you on my condition. I began taking selenium and zinc with NT. My calf pain subsided, mobility and energy increased. I even lost a few pounds. It is a relief to be able to move without walker. My physical therapist is floored by the change.

            Dr. Westin Childs - June 5, 2016

            Hey Tee,

            That is great news! I’m happy for you 🙂 Most doctors don’t know what’s possible because they don’t even try!

          Colleen E - September 30, 2016

          My dr. Won’t do RT3 either but she did do a Reverse to T4 (better than TSH,it shows what your body is actually taking in. it showed I’m normal 1.2 where the TSH showed I was hyper .32)

    Tracie - March 3, 2016

    I am in the same boat as Lissa I had my thyroid removed two operations. Now I have fibromyalgia. I am exhausted after doing the slightest thing I struggle to keep weight on and most days my pain is unbearable.Most days I feel like I have done 10 rounds in a boxing ring and then hit by a bus. Night times I dread as the pain increases and insomnia. I take 125 mg a day of Levothyroxine 120 mg of MST and 2700 of Gabapentin

      Westin Childs - March 3, 2016

      Hey Tracie,

      Most post thyroidectomy patients feel terrible. Your thyroid naturally pumps out T4 and T3 in about an 80/20 ratio. When doctors give you back replacement hormone they almost always leave out the T3 – which usually makes patient feel terrible, gain weight and develop symptoms of hypothyroidism.

      Colleen - September 30, 2016

      For fibromyalgia if you are not on opioids then ask your dr. About trying Low Dose Naltrexone, if you are on opioids then ask about ULTRA Low dose Naltrexone (helps with fibromyalgia pain and doesn’t block your opioid sensors). Google about it you will find a lot of positive info. There is also a new blood test (most rhumatologists don’t believe in it but the science backs it up). Fm/a you can contact the research company directly and have it done https://thefibromyalgiatest.com

        Mommyray - December 24, 2016

        I take Naltrexone 4.5mg 2x a day for fibromyalgia. I feel it saved me because I was in so much pain & I was surely taking too much pain medication. I still have pain but not like without Naltrexone and lyrica together.
        I am very interested in this article and I will be looking into it more but I am not sure my gp will go for the idea and depth that she will have to look. Im my best advocate and I will get a definite answer. Thanks for the information!

          Dr. Westin Childs - December 24, 2016

          No problem, I’m glad you found it helpful! I have many patients who have had significant improvement on LDN. Not everyone does, but when it works it tends to work well.

    Sue - March 3, 2016

    Hi,i had hypo after my son Was born,then years later went hyper due to a Multi nodule Toxic goilter,so had meds for two years then had 500 of radio iodine theapy,then Was in loads of pain,3 yrs later they said i had fibro,ive Seen 4 endos to date all say no thyrod issues,so when my neck swells up and goes hot Just before a flare up,Also if i take vit d (Im low at 53) my joint pain Is through the roof and Im weeing all the time ,they said no parathyroid Prob,Im not On Amy thyroid meds,i did take ndt i got up to two grains but It didnt make a diff,Also weight gain through the roof 3 stone why does Mo one belive me,Also tested positive for hla b27 Gene too,esr,rhemo factor 10,crp eleivated,i Just want my Life Back,ive had to give Up two Jobs,i cant Do even 1/3of what i used too,if i Do too much i pay for It the next day,Sometimes two days,this Is not living this Is Just exsisting

      Westin Childs - March 3, 2016

      Hey Sue,

      All endocrinologists practice medicine the exact same way, so no matter how many you go to you will always hear the same thing. I wrote a post about it here so you can get an idea of what you’re facing: https://www.restartmed.com/thyroid-lab-tests/

      The truth is that you aren’t likely to ever find help in the insurance model of medicine (that means through your GP, PCP or endo’s).

    rachel pegler - March 3, 2016

    Hi my daughter 17 has hypopituritsm undiagnosed for 14 years. She is now on levroxine 100ml a day but has chronic pain and is now in a wheel chair they have said it’s cfs but I’d really like to know what you think regarding her thyroid
    Many thanks

      Westin Childs - March 3, 2016

      Hey Rachel,

      She could be suffering from persistent tissue level hypothyroidism, but I would have no way to know for sure unless I saw her as a patient. I take a very comprehensive history and do extensive lab work with each patient to get to the root cause of their problem, but it can take some time and digging to get there.

      I find most hypo pit patients (like post thyroidectomy patients) are usually under treated and feel terrible.

    Dawn - March 3, 2016

    Very informative, I have a 5cm complex cyst (goiter on my Thyroid)…all standard test reveal my levels are normal, however in recent months i have patches of Vitiligo under my arms and on my stomach, I am wondering if this is maybe all tied into Hashimotos and that maybe one day, one of my GPS will actually do a test for me, I have mentioned it but my GP says they arent connected.
    Any thoughts

      Westin Childs - March 3, 2016

      Hey Dawn,

      Lots of thoughts! 🙂 It’s not about ordering the right tests it’s about interpreting them correctly. I would take a look at this post here so you can get a better idea: https://www.restartmed.com/thyroid-lab-tests/

      I see this in a lot of patients who try to ask for the “right” tests, and when they get them they are told they are all “normal”. Asking for the right tests is just the first part, interpreting and taking action is 90% of the puzzle.

      To answer your question, yes, hashimoto’s and vitiligo are most likely related and signs that you have an underlying immune issue because both of these conditions are autoimmune based.

    Lind Young - March 3, 2016

    I have had hashimoto hypothyroid for 30 years and been on levo for all that time but have still had all symptons, 3 years ago insisted on referal to endo and lots of tests and mri scan was diagnosed with hypopituitarism with adrenal insufficiency ( now steroid dependant) growth hormone deficiency (now inject daily) meds are 100mg levo and 10mg T3, 25mg hydrocortisone daily, 0.3 growth hormone, adcal and self bought vitamins as recommended by ‘Stop the Thyroid Madness’ book. I still have chronic fatigue and take Tramadol for my chronic aching joints. My life is now a daily struggle as having to rest most of the time and constantly have low iron store or anemia. I have bought NDT from Canada but nothing changed have no idea what to do next. Oh and also struggle with weight despit having no appetite at all as have no smell or taste for last 10 years.

      Westin Childs - March 3, 2016

      Hey Linda,

      Medication is only one piece to a much larger puzzle. When I treat patients (and in order to get them better) you really have to look at EVERY body system and hormonal system. This includes nutrient deficiencies, gut health, detox capacity, inflamamtory levels, hormone levels, etc.

      Just taking NDT is not likely enough to help your entire condition.

      My best recommendation is to find a functional medicine doctor near you for further help, if you don’t have one close you may need to drive to see one.

    Linda Young - March 3, 2016

    My comment is awaiting moderation ? What do this mean.

      Westin Childs - March 3, 2016

      All comments are moderated before they are public to ensure that no one is spamming or being inflammatory to other people 🙂

    Linda Young - March 3, 2016

    Hi I sent a message but it is not here. It said my message was waiting moderation? what do this mean please and why it has not been answered?

      Westin Childs - March 3, 2016

      Hey Linda,

      It takes some time for me to see and reply on all of the comments. Your comment does have an answer now 🙂

    Kris - March 3, 2016

    Thanks for an interesting and easy to understand article. I wish more doctors understood this!

    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism end of 2011. Due to one reason or another, it was about 4 months before I started taking Levo. During this time my lifestyle changed a lot and I think I “crashed”. I thought I had fibromyalgia but was still in denial about being hypo. Eventually I realised I needed help and started taking Levo. The pain reduced, but didn’t disappear. In fact, I think I crashed again a couple of years later, going from a gym junkie to someone who barely left the house.

    Then I discovered Natural Dessicated Thyroid, a gluten free diet, and I learned about the inflammatory effect of night shades (esp tomatoes and potatoes).

    Now I feel like I have a life again. There’s still a way to go, but making these changes changed my life!

      Westin Childs - March 3, 2016

      Hey Kris,

      Thanks for your comments! I’m glad that you were able to identify and target the triggers of your pain! It really can be that easy once you know what to look for – though I’m sure the journey was a difficult one.

    Kelly - March 4, 2016

    This article was enlightening. I was seen by an endocrinologist, she did an ultrasound, blood work and 2 biopsies. I have multple nodules on my thyroid, which are visable. The bloodwork came back normal and the biopsies were non-cancerous. So, I was not treated at all. I have 9 out of 10 hypothyroidism symptoms. I have no insurance and can’t financially push for more testing/answers. This article explains that some of the other issues I have been having are most likely linked to the thyroid issue.

      Westin Childs - March 4, 2016

      Hey Kelly,

      I’m glad you found it enlightening! There are many things you can still take action on including: diet, supplements, exercise, stress reduction and improved sleep. I would start with these until your situation allows for more advanced testing. Good luck!

    Eric - March 4, 2016

    Thank you for this article. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism years ago and was put on Levo but then taken off by my primary care doctor because my blood work was normal. As of today I am completely desperate in so much pain, mental fog, muscle fluttering I can’t take it. I will be headed back to my Dr. as soon as possible after reading this.

    The Connection Between Your Thyroid And Chronic Pain That Doctors Miss Every Time – Medical Health News - March 4, 2016

    […] This article was republished with permission from restartmed.com. […]

    Heidi Wenzel - March 9, 2016

    I have EDS and am hypo w hashi. A few years ago I lost 80 lbs (clean eating – getting chemicals and processing out of my diet and exercise) and felt so much better. It use to take me 10 minutes just to get out of bed because of the pain. Now I spring out 🙂 Lately I have not been fitting in my workouts (still maintaining a healthy weight) and have noticed my over-all pain returning. I feel like I’ve aged 30 years in the last 2 months.

      Westin Childs - March 9, 2016

      Hey Heidi,

      EDS is a tough one. In general the same rule applies (regardless of the disease): remove processed foods and chemicals from the diet, eat whole and nutritious foods, replace nutrient deficiencies (some diseases exacerbate underlying deficiencies), exercise to tolerance based on your fitness level, remove stress and improve coping mechanisms, continue to detox!

      The one thing I would trial is physical work – this could be in the form of accupuncture, massage therapy, vibration therapy, etc. I’ve seen good results with these modalities when used in conjunction with the above.

      Keep up the good work!

    ALICE COONEY - March 10, 2016


      Westin Childs - March 10, 2016

      Hey Alice,

      Persistent hypothyroidism can cause and potentiate chronic pain, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the cause of all chronic pain. Your T3 levels can go up when you are in worse pain due to elevated reverse T3 levels – this combination of lab values usually points to thyroid resistance.

      The first place to start is with a complete and full thyroid evaluation (plus other functional chemistry tests) to evaluate where you stand. I would caution against staying in the conventional system, however. You are not likely to find a Doctor who will agree with what you are reading here in that model.

      You can see an article I wrote about here which goes over how to actually test for hypothyroidism: https://www.restartmed.com/68-of-the-most-commonly-reported-signs-and-symptoms-of-hypothyroidism/

    Lori - March 29, 2016

    My doctor finally put me on 5mg of Cytomel 3 times a day along with my Synthroid and it made a huge difference! I am also a huge advocate of probiotics!!! My life has improved tremendously since making these changes.

      Westin Childs - March 29, 2016

      Hey Lori,

      That’s great news! I’m glad you were able to find a doctor to work with you. And I agree with you on the probiotic point. Sometimes small changes like that can make a HUGE different on your overall health.

    Melissa - April 7, 2016

    I’m 43 and lost my thyroid due to cancer 21 yes ago.thr pain I feel daily makes me hate my life. I’ve begged for help and begged for consults. Instead he runs a TSH on me and then just prescribed me 50 mcg of levo. Mind you I have no thyroid and have been taking 200mcg for 15 years. Won’t address my pain my fatigue or concerns. I’m 208 lbs. Only 5’5″. And gaining. I can’t afford to pay for things out of pocket. So my reality is pain and suffering everyday until I die. Which will be soon I fear. I’m glad some patients have you and feel better! Thanks for trying to help so many of us that suffer!

      Dr. Westin Childs - April 7, 2016

      Hey Melissa,

      I’m sorry to hear about your situation! I wish that this type of medicine was more widespread, but unfortunately it is not. You may want to look for a new doctor who is more willing to work with you.

    Toni Dennis - April 9, 2016

    Can this also contribute to getting plantar fasciitis

      Dr. Westin Childs - April 9, 2016

      Hey Toni,

      I don’t know of any data suggesting that thyroid plays a role in plantar fasciitis. In my experience it’s usually a consequence of degeneration and/or inflammation caused by insulin resistance – or at least I should say most pain goes away completely when we treat insulin resistance.

    Annette Phillips - April 12, 2016

    I have had hypothyroidism since age 4. I have been treated on and off most of my life with either synthroid or levothyroxine and a few times with armour. I had surgery in January of this year on my knee, a arthoscopy for arthritis and torn meniscus and it seems to be taking so long to heal. I keep hearing lose weight to ease the pain. I have tried to lose weight most of my life and my endo’s just do not listen to me when I tell them I have no energy, can’t lose weight, pretty much have at lesst 150+ symptoms associated with this disease. I have been ignored or discouraged into presenting information I’ve found that could help me and I’m getting really ticked off. There are few specialists in my area and I have state insurance so going to another state for treatment is out of the question. I’m 55 and tired of being tired! My doctor poo poo’s my request for testing for leaky gut, told me probiotics are not necessary, etc. I don’t want to live the rest of my life miserable, and unable to enjoy what I can do.

      Dr. Westin Childs - April 12, 2016

      Hey Annette,

      I’m sorry to hear about your situation. It can be difficult to find a doctor who takes insurance and also understands how to actually treat the thyroid, but keep on looking! Most functional medicine doctors do not take insurance, but some do. You may have some luck by searching out friends who have had successful treatment.

        Annette Phillips - April 13, 2016

        I was curious to know whether my healing is being hindered by my thyroid condition. How would I ask my current doctor to test for deep tissue thyroid probllems?

    Lisah - April 13, 2016

    Hello, I had my thyroid out last year. I am on levothyroxine only. Doctor says I do not need a T3 med because the Levo will convert. Does that sound right? If someone doesn’t have a thyroid do they need both T3 and T4 meds? thx!

    Debh - April 13, 2016

    Hi, I had half of my thyroid and the isthmus removed July 2015 due to a large hurthle cell nodule which thankfully turned out to be benign. Pathology did reveal a smaller papillary carcinoma elsewhere in the lobe. It was considered low risk with no further treatment. My TSH was 1.4 in 2014 and since the surgery has risen to 3.8. I am sure I am experiencing symptoms of being hypo. The t4 and t3 were also reported within normal reference ranges. I am extremely fatigued and am in pain. Sometimes I’m not sure if it is joint or muscular. My hair is dry and brittle. I have had ongoing weight issues for the last couple of years. Lately I have gained a few kilos really quickly.I am glad I stumbled over your article and am going to investigate further. I really feel I need some hormone replacement.

      Dr. Westin Childs - April 14, 2016

      Hey Debh,

      I definitely think it’s worth further evaluation! Just make sure you find the right doctor who is willing to order all of the tests.

    Katrina - April 13, 2016

    My son is 21 and for last 5years have all symptoms you’ve listed except weight gain he had thyroid tested and came back ok I have celiac so he got tested did not show he had it but he does feel a little better avoiding gluten I was wondering if you think he could have thyroid issues his uncle and other realities have thyroid problems my son also has some excema.

    Robin Thompson - April 14, 2016

    How do you make sure it is going to your cells, I never imagined it would tear my world upside down, so complicated and impossible . So frustrated, I take 65 mg of nature thyroid and 44 of synthroid once per day. I don’t know how to k ow if it is getting to your cells. I take Adrenotone plus and DHEA every day for high cortisol levels along with vit d, b12 and iron , a progesterone cream. I was DX with hosimotos thyroiditis which is an autoimmune disease , all my levels can never get optimal, my TSH is low while my T3 is normal but T4 is low, my reverse t3 is around 10. How do you get a perfect world??? Just want my hair back. Any help you could give I would be over joyed!! I can’t lose weight!! Imy body aches , I just want my hair back. My scalp seems inflamed on top where losing the most hair? Help, I pray God puts me in the hands if someone who can cure me. Thanks again!!

      Dr. Westin Childs - April 14, 2016

      Hey Robin,

      There are a few ways to check: basal body temperature attempts to measure your metabolism which is influenced by thyroid hormone, you can check sex hormone binding globulin which can give you an idea of tissue levels in the liver, and/or you can check delayed deep tendon reflexes with specialized computer techniques. These should be used with blood tests to get to a diagnosis and help guide treatment.

    Linda Oliver - April 17, 2016

    I have not overcome fatigue or pain. Will you please help me?

    Cecilia Kimmell - April 19, 2016

    I have had a hyperthyroid for 12 years 2 years ago I got diagnosed with hypothyroid my weight flushuatse up and down I take my med. I want it taking out the Dr I seen said it’s to late for that my hair falls out so much I’m always cold and tired can u please tell me what I can do to take some of the pain away if I can’t have it removed please

    Audra - April 23, 2016

    This is very interesting, thank you for the help you give! I was just talking today about hashimoto’s and fibromyalgia. I wonder if I really have fibro or if the pain is thyroid related. I’m on synthroid and cytomel. I had sinus surgery in November then a rare bacterial infection then viral infections, and I think all the antibiotics and prednisone threw things out of whack. Afterwards I developed severe pain in the front area of my left hip which makes it hard to even stand up by night time. Also pain in my back in right rib area, and swollen hard upper abdomin. I have costochondritis for many years in sternum, so I wonder if it’s in other areas too causing the pain, but with all the prednisone I’ve been on it seems that would’ve helped if so. I was seeing a functional medicine dr prior to surgery and was doing ok then. I’d love to know any thoughts or suggestions. I’m getting concerned that it’s still getting worse. Plus my glucose, A1C and insulin is suddenly high, pre diabetic range. I could go on forever, sorry!

    Kathleen De Pauw - April 24, 2016

    Hi,I am wanting to know if there is a link between hypothryoid and nuropithy. Have been diagnosed with it and I am not diabetic. Thanks Kathleen

    Elle - April 25, 2016

    Thank you for writing and sharing. I spent years with a “normal” tsh despite waxing and waining hypo and hyper symptoms. Endocrinologists, Rheumatologists, and GPs diagnosed and treated many thyroid-related ailments, but insisted my thyroid was fine and never tried thyroid replacement. After a serious trauma, a pain management doctor suggested giving Armour a try. He felt, despite normal labs, that the fibro pain was actually hypothyroidism in the tissues. It worked! Within weeks, there was surprising improvement. He incorporated supplements, encouraged yoga, and helped me more than any other specialist ever has. I went into remission, but was ultimately diagnosed with Graves years later. I’ve since had a total thyroidectomy and have struggled with finding appropriate care. I spent three years unsuccessfully begging multiple doctors to prescribe NDT instead of Levothyroxine, all while fibromyalgia symptoms returned with a vengence. Ultimately, I did something completely out of character and decided to self medicate with Nature-Throid. Once again, NDT worked. I’m healthy, active, and happy! Now, not only are my labs normal, but so am I. I pray your shared knowledge will help others suffering needlessly, just as the pain management doctor helped me. Physicians, like you, are giving many much needed hope. You’re changing lives! Bless you!

      Dr. Westin Childs - April 25, 2016

      Hey Elle,

      Thank you for the encouraging words and thank you for sharing your story. Unfortunately many other patients are in a similar position but they may never get to the bottom of their issues because the “standard of care” is actually standing in their way. Good for you for finding what works and doing it!

        Mary Kay - February 11, 2017

        Hi Doc,

        I posted yesterday and my story is similar to Elle’s. I love your response–SO spot on: “standard of care” is actually standing in the way!

        I just read a previous post (after posting a question of my own to you on basal temp testing. Since I started very recently, I have intuitively and simultaneously increased my Armour from 1 grain to 1 1/2 grains. I’ve had enough tests and experience with functional and non-functional doctors to become familiar with the facts of what I and everyone NEEDS, no matter what level of autoimmunity we’re at: clean, gluten-free & grain-free, ORGANIC autoimmune Paleo style food choices, exercise and stretching to tolerance, keeping toxins out of your body, mind and lifestyle as much as humanly possible, plus endless unable to mention in this post details relating to all of our individual nuances. Thanks Doc for exercising your positive passion for listening to folks like me. Compassion put to action is therapeutic in and of itself!

    Christine - April 25, 2016

    Was diagnosed 2 years ago with Hashimoto take T3 and T4. Still have fatigue, joint and muscle pain and 100 pds in weight gain. So discouraged!!!

      Dr. Westin Childs - April 26, 2016

      Hey Christine,

      I hear ya, many people believe T4 and T3 combinations to be miracle medications but they aren’t. You still need to do some digging to get to the root cause of the problem. Check your leptin and insulin levels (and sex hormones if you are menopausal).

        zapatillas de montaña salomon - May 25, 2016

        Very well written information. It will be helpful to everyone who utilizes it, including myself. Keep doing what you are doing – looking forward to more posts.

    Kim - April 26, 2016

    Hey there I suffer a great deal with muscle tension assumed it was stress then a friend introduced me to a hypothyroid group on face book a lot of people suffer from different things
    I feel like I suffer everything: (. I only c my thyroid dr once a year and showed her things she should check as far as levels go she said all that wasn’t necessary I’ve actually been having issues with my menstruale cycle she says that it’s not thyroid related what do you think? Any body clomplain about that? Thoughts, suggestions???

    Faby - April 27, 2016

    I have a question I had my thyroid removed back in 2005 and I being in synthroid since then I started with chronic pain muscle joints hair loss weight gain fatigue depression anxiety all kinds of stuff so anyway I asked my Dr if I could try armour so she did some blood work to make sure she will give me the right dose she had recently adjust my synthroid but I still didn’t feel good at all even my lab work came back normal so I asked what if I had hoshimotos she tested me and said it was negative so my question is what or how do I know if my pain is not frybromilagia? Or how ever its spelled how do they test for that? My pain comes and goes but when it stays is bad and I notice I feel a Lil better eating gluten free or no cokes or junk food so ive try to help myself not sure what else to do

      Dr. Westin Childs - April 27, 2016

      Hey Faby,

      You need someone who actually knows how to test and treat your thyroid issue to figure it out. If your doctor is basing your dosing off of your lab tests they are doing it wrong.

      You also need a full workup to figure out the cause of your issues including comprehensive blood chemistry panel, hormone levels, gut evaluation, inflammatory markers and nutritional status. Unfortunately, it’s never as easy as just changing one medication and feeling 100% better.

    Regina - April 27, 2016

    Good afternoon, this has been a great article for me, as I recently attributed a knee problem to my thyroid, since recently requesting that I truly need T3 added,and finally got it, in 5 days I have lost 4 1/2 lbs adding the t3 and cutting out gluten.
    I have regular manipulation visits and have been diagnosed with fibermialga as well as I have hashimotos and hypothryroidism. I have been attributing the joint and muscle pain to my thyroid for sometime and when my knee MRI came back with just inflammation, that told me, this is my thyroid. I am working on healing my gut and diet change as well as the new t3, hoping for success as this is a long road.
    I am really glad to be following your information now. If you have other suggestions, I would love to hear.

    Peggy - April 28, 2016

    How can I get my primary care physician to read this article and do these tests? He thinks that I make up the pain I am in. I have had my thyroid take out with papillary cancer and Hashimoto. Do I still have Hashimoto if I no longer have a thyroid? I currently take 200 mcg levothyroxine.

      Dr. Westin Childs - April 28, 2016

      Hey Peggy,

      Ordering the tests is just the beginning, most doctors don’t order the tests because they don’t know how to interpret them. So even if you can convince them to order the tests it may not mean anything unless they are willing to treat you!

      Yes, you can still have hashimoto’s after thyroidectomy as this procedure never completely removes 100% of the thyroid.

    Jolene C. - May 2, 2016

    I’ve been hypo for 13 years, taking Levo for the first 12. 3 years ago I was under enormous stress of a parent’s death and subsequent estate. I became I’ll with pneumonia, shingles and depression and anxiety. My body soon began to ache. My muscles and joint pain accompanied my fatigue and exhaustion. To make a long story short…after 1 1/2 years I finally found a care giver who would listen. After research, I began on Nature throid, low dose naltrexone, gluten free diet, proper supplements and Flourish probiotic. My lab numbers are optimal, my pain is gone, my life has returned and I’ve lost 40 lbs. My hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue and fibermyialga are under control. I educated my NP with STTM book and tons of info on LDN and thyroid labs. One piece of advice…educate yourself. READ

      Dr. Westin Childs - May 2, 2016

      Hey Jolene,

      Thanks for your story! It’s great to have that kind of perspective, and your experience is similar to most of my current patients.

    Jodi - May 5, 2016

    I suffer from Fibromyalgia,and Sjogrens disease..my fatigue is horrible..but I also have a stomach condition that doesn’t allow me to have any raw fruit or vegtables..I have hair loss and just about every symptom you listed..I take b12 injection monthly and my Vitamin D level is low so I supplement.. How do I get my doctor to test me for this..

      Dr. Westin Childs - May 5, 2016

      Hey Jodi,

      If your doctor hasn’t tested for it by now there’s a good chance he/she probably never will. It’s likely easier to find a new doctor than it is to try and force an old doctor to learn new tricks.

    Kandace - May 7, 2016

    I had my thyroid taken out in 2007 because of cancer have done iodine twice and have been to to many Drs to count they have never been able to get my Ths lower that 100 right now it is at 437 on 300 mg of lyvo in the last year my arms have gone numb and now my legs are also doing it I even went to the mayo and they just told me that it must be cause I’m not taking my lyvo lol!!! That is just funny to me that someone would willingly put themselves in as much pain as I am in daily!!! So what are your thoughts will trying some t3 help even though my Ths is not any where near normal ?

      Dr. Westin Childs - May 7, 2016

      Hey Kandace,

      Adding T3 should help to lower your TSH, but as always you will need to monitor it closely if you or your doctor choose that route. I have found that it provides relief to many patients in a similar condition as yourself.

    Donna - May 10, 2016

    Hi Dr. Childs, I have been trying to get help for years, the past 4 years have been life changing for me. I have all these symptoms, extreme fatigue, severe pain, joint inflammation,gained over 30 pounds this past year an I eat pretty healthy, am cold all the time, moody, depression,etc…… My mom,sister, and brother all have hypothyroidism. I have had all kinds of thyroid blood work over the years and they always come back within normal range. I really believe that is the source of my problems but I can’t get anyone to listen to me. Is there anyway that all my problems are due to my thyroid even tho my labs always come back normal? Would love to hear back from you. Please help!!!

    Marsha merinar - May 20, 2016

    I have been on synthroid for 46 yrs. Current dose 225 mcg daily. Have had fibromyalgia and cronic pain for 25 year and ssd since 2002. Nothing gives me much relief. Used to get tp injections every 2 mos til developed type 2 diabetes in 2003. Can I take these supplements with synthroid

    Yvonne Hess - May 27, 2016

    Almost everyone that I know that has FS has thyroid problems too. I was diagnosed with hypothyroid at age 17, and FS around 19 I’m almost 65. I had to have a parathyroid gland removed in 2004 and I’ve been tired since, tired and in pain. Nothing helps. I made this connection myself about 15 years ago. I ask my doctor to take me off synthroid and try armor and he said no. When I ask why all he would say is it’s pig it’s unclean. Not fair it’s my body what’s wrong with giving it a try?

      Dr. Westin Childs - May 27, 2016

      Hey Yvonne,

      Good question, I would look for a doctor willing to prescribe it because it can make a big difference for certain people.

    Stephanie Macleod - May 28, 2016

    I was diagnosed 20years ago. I have low iron, chronic low blood pressure, fatigue, headaches ect.. Had an issue w my cortisol and it was very complicated but the endo said everything was fine but I don’t believe that. How do I get the specific tests done right because I know regular doctors tests arent accurate from what I’ve been reading.


      Dr. Westin Childs - May 28, 2016

      Hey Stephanie,

      Don’t waste your time trying to get your doctors to run the tests you need, if they didn’t order them to begin with they aren’t going to know what to do with the results anyway. And you need cortisol binding globulin to tell the whole story about your serum cortisol levels, if you didn’t get that you can’t say for sure what is going on with your cortisol levels.

    Cindy - May 30, 2016

    Try the Hotze Health and Wellness Center in Katy, TX. (It’s near Houston.) I have Hashimoto’s and several other health issues. They don’t just treat the bloodwork. They treat the symptoms. In other words, even if your thyroid numbers are “normal,” if you are tired, losing hair, ect., they will adjust your medications and supplements until you feel better. I’m still in the “adjustment” phase, but I’m already feeling better with cortisol and hormone supplements, in addition to Armour thyroid, vitamins, etc. Unfortunately, they don’t take insurance; but they do have a monthly payment plan.

    Jodi. - June 8, 2016

    I was diagnosed with Fibro about 3yrs before I got the Hashimoto diagnosis. Until I started seeing a Naturopath I always felt tired, in pain, migraines, and the pain meds that the Rheumatologist put me on weren’t working. I decided to take my Heath more seriously and found a Naturopath I had a 3hr initial consult with Naturopath and extensive lab work. With all that info I found out there was a lot going on inside of me. The 1 thing I’d ask my GP about every year was “do I have a thyroid problem.” turns-out i was correct, I had Hashimoto disease . The test that the GP did always showed me on the HIGH SIDE of normal for thyroid. So cut to 1 1/2 years later my Hashimoto is in remission, I am on 1 pain med instead of 4 and except for a few flares of Fibro through out the year I feel great and finally losing weight!! The fist full of supplements I take did the trick, i have been religious about taking them 3 time a day!! Here’s my list of supplements I can’t live without. Thyrosol and Thyroid Support, 2xday, D3 1xday, B12 2x, Magnesium Malate 3x, and 1000mg of Fish Oil 2 of those 3x (6 all together). I’m not without pain any day but I can get through my day not feeling like I want to go right back to bed, I excerise by walking, yoga, or swimming. I was in to much pain to do any excerise before. I am a Flight Attendant so my hours of work are messed up but I can manage it without total collapse. Thanks for this article and all the comments people write. So very HELPFUL!!!

    Beca - July 4, 2016

    I too suspected a thyroid problem, but all doctors who tested my blood said no. I’ve had Fibro over 20 years now, but got lucky 7 years into it and discovered a supplement which is nothing but plant sterols and sterolins. Within a month most of the pain was gone and I could sleep again. 2 years of regular trigger point work plus massage and my trigger points finally calmed down to only an occasional flare of the trigger points. I was also diagnosed about that time (by bone marrow) that I was totally lacking iron, so I sometimes have difficulty telling whether my lack of energy is from the fibro or lack of iron, or laziness. Or age. But I don’t hurt anymore and my endurance is SO much better, no more days after of not being able to move after exertion that I am nothing but grateful. I so wish tho that regular doctors didn’t rely solely on standard bloodwork and gave credence to their patient’s intuition.

      Dr. Westin Childs - July 4, 2016

      Hey Beca,

      I’m glad you found something that worked for you!

        Beca - July 4, 2016

        Thank you. I’d really like to follow up with your thyroid recommendations tho, hopefully sooner than later. And I’m really impressed with your trigger point observations. After I got better I became a Massage Therapist, and from my experience and observing my clients who have fibro, I totally agree with you. I do wish that more fibro people, who are in the pain phase, knew that deep tissue massage is NOT what they should get. It’s what we think we want, but it does more harm than good. My suspicion is that deep tissue massage causes the muscles to produce/use ATP, which is much more beneficial being used for movement, rather than being used up getting a Massage. I’m so glad that there are some medical professionals like you actually taking this seriously and getting fibro sufferers real answers now. Thank you!

    Rose torres - July 26, 2016

    This info was so intresting. My Dr. Has done lab work n tests have come bk negative for thyroid,but I do have fibromyalgia n am in so much pain. Have gained weight, hair thinning,cnt sleep,etc. So I ll b sure to talk to her some more. N any suggestions n ino u can send me would b appreciated.

      Dr. Westin Childs - July 26, 2016

      Hey Rose,

      Just make sure that she is ordering all of the thyroid lab tests. That means: TSH, free t3, free t4, reverse T3, thyroid antibodies and sex hormone binding globulin.

    Joelle Coffey - August 8, 2016

    I have had chronic back pain since age 21. But since I got pregnant with my second child at 30 I started having ” pain attacks”. After birth
    I was sent to a rheumatologist and they found no explanation. I was inflamed everywhere but no arthritis or genetic markers for autoimmune even though family members do. That Doctor quickly dropped me as a patient saying to see a oncologist and he couldn’t help. I have been taking cybalta which masks it but still have attacks. Also he said that he was no comfortable with how my thyroid looked. No one seems to want to help. What do I do?

      Dr. Westin Childs - August 8, 2016

      Hey Joelle,

      You will need to look for a local Doctor who can help sort out your thyroid. I don’t know if it is causing your issues but it is most likely contributing. Specialists like rheumatologists and endocrinologists are not likely to be of much help, unfortunately.

    Stacy - August 14, 2016

    Ive been diagnosed with fibromyaligia its been 6 yrs and the pain is horrible i take lyrica trazadone and naproxin ive tried so many pills im tired i need to find a way to get relief plz help plus always tired and no energy i want a life where i can do thibgs and go places but with this its impossible

      Dr. Westin Childs - August 14, 2016

      Hey Stacy,

      Unfortunately I’m unable to help unless you are a patient of mine. You might have luck searching for someone local who practices similarly, however.

    Wendie - August 17, 2016

    Hi Dr. Childs,

    I have been hypothyroid for the past 35 years. For 32 of those years I was on .112 mcg of synthyroid. Through the the years I developed chronic pain in joints, and trigger point areas, tight muscles, head fog, exhaustion from the start of the day. After struggling for all these years I changed to a natural doctor and she put me on 90mg of Armour thyroid. My symptoms all stayed the same except for the head fog. It went away and I felt like me again, just with all the pain. My levels were all over the place over the next to years, ranging from 1.0 to 8.5 and never once did she change the dose. Now I decided to see an endocrinologist and she switched me back to .125mcg of Synthyroid. And added 5mcg of Liothyronine. now, my pain level is 50% better but my energy is at its lowest. I’m struggling to get up in the morning and really having to push myself to do anything. It doesn’t get better through the day either. Just got blood work back T4 Free 1.5 ng/dL, TSH 0.054. Any suggestions?

    Thank you, Wendie

      Dr. Westin Childs - August 17, 2016

      Hey Wendie,

      Unfortunately you probably won’t get to the dose you need seeing an endocrinologist or naturopaths. You’re heading in the right direction but it sounds like your body needs more T3.

    Anne Creed - August 24, 2016


    Thank you for this. Very interesting. I have chronic pain. (Nerve damage in jaw due to bad infection and chronic migraines ) I have been put on liothyronin to help but still in pain what ever medication specialist put me on. I do not know what to do next.I tried every thing to vitamins/ Hypnosis/ deep tissue massage and acupuncture. I am waiting for the results of my brain scan to decide what nerve damage there is to decide treatment. I knew there was a link but no medical profession knew it. Thank you

      Dr. Westin Childs - August 24, 2016

      Hey Anne,

      No problem, typically when I say patients need T3 I mean they need up to 50-75mcg per day type of doses. Most doctors give patients in the 5-10mcg range.

    Tracy - September 6, 2016

    My doctor will not order Reverse T3 tests what do I do to find out what my levels are?

    Tami - September 12, 2016

    I have had hypothyroidism for 22 yrs and on levothyroxine. I have had severe fibromyalgia for 18 years. Recent lab tests show my THS at 0.8, but T- 4 is normal. Dr doesn’t think I need to adjust meds. Would natural thyroid meds be better to bring up my numbers and ease up on the pain, spasms and hair loss?
    I am about to lose my job due to being unable to function enough to be there. I have difficulty walking and have been extremely dizzy and hurting in places not normal for me. It is affecting my connective tissue really bad. Help please!

      Dr. Westin Childs - September 12, 2016

      Hey Tami,

      Unfortunately for chronic pain and issues like you have you will most likely need the prescription strength thyroid medication, supplements are not likely to significantly boost your thyroid function by themselves.

    Lori - October 8, 2016

    I have been fighting Hashimotos and Fibro for 3 years now. You are on to something for sure. I figured that same thing out and told my doctor my theory. I am on T3 only. My problem however is due to an extreme case of Hashitoxicosis, I am limited to how much T3 I can take. I take a METHAMIZOL to block my thyroid from producing but it doesn’t stop it entirely. I still have fibro-flares of extreme muscle pain when I encounter triggers … Mainly STRESS… and also when I cycle hypo to hyper my joints are affected. The brain fog, fatigue, and emotional symptoms have just become a way of life for me with no relief. Would you have any insite into my unusual case?

    Theresa Snow - October 18, 2016

    Hello and thank you Dr Childs! I’ve been diagnosed hypothyroid but my Drs won’t treat me because I’m still in the “normal” range on blood tests. My latest issue is horrible pain in my hip joint and thigh. The joint hurts after only mild activity and if I stand too long or walk too much I become unable to move without severe pain. I recently had a hip x-ray which shows lucency and osteophytic spurring on the acetabulum and femoral head. I also had a similar issue in my shoulder joint but that never had an x-ray.
    Is it possible these are related?

    Carrie Randall - November 3, 2016

    I have fibromyalgia.l, diagnosed in 2006. For the past two years it has been getting worse and new symptoms have appeared. I show every characteristic of hypothyroidism. Yet all my blood work comes back normal. My Endo is worthless. She believes lab results are black and white. She recently diagnosed me with secondary hyperparathyroidism. The reason was because one of the blood tests fell one point out of range. She blamed it on the fact that I had gastric bypass. If I didn’t have gastric bypass 19 years ago and have felt fine up until now I would have accepted the diagnosis. However I simply can not. I have gone to at least 20 doctors this year. I know something is wrong yet they have all made me feel like a hypochondriac. I feel like I am in a no win situation with these doctors.

      Dr. Westin Childs - November 3, 2016

      Hey Carrie,

      It might be time to look outside of the traditional insurance model to get better care, all conventionally trained doctors will look at you the exact same way and that is a huge part of the problem.

    Kate - November 5, 2016

    I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s recently, although I think I’ve had it for years. My doctors finally decided to have an antibody test done and it came back positive. I have fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis and other disc problems causing chronic pain. I just started NDT at 1/4 grain and I feel like my body is flaring up from it (pain all over) although I haven’t noticed an increase in heart rate. I should add that a lot of my symptoms before starting NDT are hyperthyroid ones, such as a fast resting heart rate (99), sweating alternating with cold, insomnia, etc. I do not feel much fatigue either, like a lot of hypothyroid people. My free T4 and T3 were at the lowest normal and my Reverse T3 was at 12. My hair is falling out more and more every day and I’ve gained about 10 pounds but that’s probably due to inactivity. My question is whether this dose is too low start out on and when should I increase it? How do I know if NDT is adversely affecting me or if my body sees it as a “foreign substance” and produces more antibodies? Also, I will be starting low dose naltrexone soon to help with all of the above once I get the thyroid meds sorted out. Thanks for any help you can give with this.

      Dr. Westin Childs - November 5, 2016

      Hey Kate,

      Your case is quite complex, I would recommend you seek out a provider who understands your situation to help you further.

    Peggy Driscoll - November 8, 2016

    I have all those symptoms, my doc tells me it’s just diabetes though and refuses to check for anything else. I recently showed an abnormal thyroid blood test and he rechecked it and said it was fine, but I’m not getting better so what do I do ? Most doc’s don’t take medicare and medicaid and that’s the 2 insurances that I have. I want someone who heals holistically without all the pills cause they have such bad side effects and I’ve already felt that. What do I do?

      Dr. Westin Childs - November 8, 2016

      Hey Peggy,

      You will probably have to pay out of pocket to find a Doctor who practices that way.

        Peggy Driscoll - November 10, 2016

        What kind of doctor do I need to see and I will do that, because I always keep my weight within 5 pounds and it’s still climbing it went from 160 to 230 without me changing eating or routine and that’s not normal. Thank you for letting me know that’s what I need to do, that helps more than you know. Thanks, Peggy Driscoll

          Dr. Westin Childs - November 10, 2016

          No problem! Unfortunately, there is no specific Doctor that learns this stuff in residency meaning they have to teach themselves this info which can make them somewhat difficult to find.

    Tammy - November 26, 2016

    I am 56 yo female. I have struggled most of my life with weight. Even tho i have been plant based almost no oil..processed…salt or sugar i have still been gaining weight. My basil temp runs about 95 to 96. My pulse around 55. My cholesterol numbers high but recently started coming down with addition of magnesium oil. My bp spikes at times. In feb my tsp had gone from 3 to 4 in 6 mo. My free t3 was 2.4 and free t4 also normal. I have started adding lugols iodine and vit c..atp co factor..selenium. i also inconsistantly take b12.i have read i should take 1/2 to 1 tsp of Real salt to help with iodine detox. What are your thoughts on this?

    Bev Roney - November 28, 2016

    What is a functional medicine dr and how do I find one? I am Canadian and live in Brighton, Ontario, which is near Toronto.

    Ken Pinera - December 6, 2016

    Dr Westin, my name is Ken. I was undiagnosed with Lyme for twenty years due to unreliable bloodtests. I found a LLMD and received pulsed abx treatment in 2015. I was still left with muscular skeletal issues. I found I was iodine deficient after consuming higher level of iodine foods and water while on vacation in the Gulf side of florida. It sent me into an extreme hypothyroid condition. I started taking I/O PLUS IODINE supplement in march 2015. It helped some but I found I have severe trigger points in all areas of my body. I’ve been told I have chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, MS and chronic lyme. I have studied my fascia release and made good progress with release. I am considering switching to Lugol’s iodine supplement and also using it transdermally in baths along with dead sea salt.
    I have not been able to convince my doctors to give me minimum dosage of Armour thyroid. My thyroid results fall within normal ranges so they refuse to treat.what do you recommend I do to get someone to give me treatment ?

    Diane Demura - December 13, 2016

    I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue at the age of 20. I have had the symptoms of fibromyalgia since age 18 but was not diagnosed until I was in my 30’s. I figured out on my own that I was hypothyroid also. Submitting a list of symptoms to my PCP, I persuaded him to put me on Synthroid even though my TSH was normal. Within 2 weeks, my eyebrows began to grow back in. Synthroid helped some of my symptoms, but not all. Eventually, my TSH levels tested low, even though I had been on Synthroid for years. I asked for Armour Thyroid and have been on it for about 6 years now. I am a bit more sensitive to it and can tell when my levels are slightly high, causing palpitations, and I back off of it for a day or two. My fatigue, dry skin and fibro pain are fairly constant to severe. I don’t have a regular exercise schedule, though I used to, due to multiple injuries (I don’t know if it’s related, but I seem to injure myself more easily than most.) But with fibro, movement is essential to keep the stiffness at bay. I eat whole foods, but do crave sweets and that is something I continually have to work on. I am now 65, having lived most of my life with this. Both of my daughters have many of the same symptoms (ages 28 and 41) and the same difficulty get diagnosis or treatment. The oldest just started on Armour Thyroid last month and has noticed increased energy, less dry skin and less hair loss. (Her TSH was normal also). Thank you for the information, which I found helpful.

      Dr. Westin Childs - December 13, 2016

      Hey Diane,

      No problem, I am glad you found it helpful. Getting treatment can be tough and complete remission may not be possible, but even a reduction in symptoms by 50% I would call a win and a step in the right direction.

    Margie - January 2, 2017

    I have been dealing with thyroid problems for over half my life. Hyper to hypo & then Hoshimotos eventually having a total thyroid lobectomy. I suffer from severe, chronic pain. Sitting, walking, lying down is all very painful. Some days worse then others. I am always tired since I am not able to sleep well because of the pain. I am at a loss.

      Dr. Westin Childs - January 2, 2017

      Hey Margie,

      You should have your T3 (total and free T3) levels evaluated and treated if low, many patients in your situation have low T3 syndrome at least contributing to their symptoms.

    Ann - January 8, 2017

    I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid I can not get anyone in my area to help me. I have such sensitivity to touch I feel bruised on the sides of my legs and arms and the pain in between my shoulders and my hips is terrible. I have been told that my thyroid levels are perfect taking Levothyroxine. I have been dealing with this for 13 years with no help other than being told if I had gastric bypass it would help. I do not believe this is all do to weight issues and if I did not hurt all the time I could exercise. Please tell me what to do next I am completely discouraged

      Dr. Westin Childs - January 8, 2017

      Hey Ann,

      If you have absolutely no one to work with then you need to change what is in your ability to control: diet, lifestyle and stress. If you haven’t already adopted a whole food diet (paleo, whole30, nutritional ketosis, etc.) then that would be your first step. You can also then try various supplements as well. If you’ve done these things and still have no improvement then unfortunately your only option will be to find someone who can help you by searching outside of the insurance model (Doctors who focus on hormones generally are cash only).

    Eleanor - January 17, 2017

    Thank you so much for all of the information. In have Fibromyalgia, In remission from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Osteoporosis in one hip, Osteoarthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and over weight. I recently started Nature Throid although my levels were normal my doctor felt because of the CFS I needed to take it. She also tested my harmone levels and started me on Biote Pellets. I do have more energy and, although I had Sinus Surgery, feel like I can breathe better. Also find I sleep better. I am having trouble losing weight but hopeful that will improve. I also have SVT and PVC’s. Hoping to get off of some of my meds eventually. Once, again thank you for the information.

      Dr. Westin Childs - January 17, 2017

      Hey Eleanor,

      Thanks for the comment and I hope you found it helpful. I’m glad to see you are improving on the new medication, hopefully the improvement continues.

    Brenda - January 23, 2017

    Hi, love the long, concise article. One thing I’m wondering…if a person uses Selenium, and other important minerals, might they not improve conversion and not need added T3? And when I added T3 my hair loss drastically increased, although I felt so much better. Not sure where to go from here…

      Dr. Westin Childs - January 23, 2017

      Hey Brenda,

      You can boost T4 to T3 conversion somewhat with the use of zinc and selenium, but that won’t necessarily work for everyone.

      Some hair loss after starting T3 often occurs but is usually transient and self limited.

    Heather - January 24, 2017

    I felt terrible on synthroid. After lots of research, i wanted to try cytomel (t3) only and my GP agreed to let me try. I felt tons better. However she sent me to a endocrinologist and she refused to just do t3 and has me on a low dose of cytomel. I feel bad again. I can’t find a doctor who will treat me with t3 only and /or find one that will prescribe more than 5mg BID. Where can I find a dr. That will treat with t3 only and in correct dose? I have also recently heard about low dose naltrxone and really want to know more about that.

      Dr. Westin Childs - January 24, 2017

      Hey Heather,

      The unfortunate truth is that most thyroid patients are being mismanaged and could potentially feel so much better if they found someone to help manage their condition. In my experience it’s almost impossible to find someone to correctly manage your thyroid inside the insurance model (the reason has to do with the standard of care). You’ll have much better luck if you pay cash because these physicians are less bound by time and standard of care. LDN is also great and something I prescribe frequently, you can learn more about it here: https://www.restartmed.com/naltrexone-weight-loss/

    Tama - February 5, 2017

    I am so glad that I found your write up. I found out almost 4 years ago that I have non toxic goiter . Been trying to get my regular doctor to send me to a specialist . He only does what he said is the require testing . A few months ago I found out I have fibromalgia , also Iodine deficient. and I am gulten sensetive as well. My SHGB is 37 ,TSH 1.68 Free T4 1.0 Reverse T3 30% T4 8.1 Vit D 25 . Sorry that I am unable to post the rest of my results . But I want to Thank you for most eye opening information.

    Sincerely ,Tama

    Sandra Tanner - February 6, 2017

    Hi Dr Child’s. I was wondering if I could get a copy of this article sent to me so that I could print it to bring to my doctor. I was diagnosed with Fibro 20 years ago and have hypothyroidism for which I am on a low dose of Levothyroxine. I have not had extensive thyroid testing done. My hair is falling out at an alarming rate. My skin is very dry, my nails are dry and brittle. I have been taking 10,000 mcg of Biotin daily for several years to no avail. I hope it will be possible to get a copy of this article as I think it will be very helpful. Hope to hear from you soon.


      Dr. Westin Childs - February 6, 2017

      Hey Sandra,

      You can print the article from your browser or use the share function and more options to find a printer friendly version.

    Shawn - February 8, 2017

    I have been on thyroid medicine for 22 years. About 5 years ago, I started having muscle pain, especially when trying to sleep. It has gotten so bad that I can only sleep 3 or 4 hours a night. I am fine when I’m up and active, but even to sit and rest causes my muscles to start aching. I take .88 mcg of Levoxl daily. I am having difficulty losing weight which was never a problem before. I thought you article was very informative. What exactly should I ask my Dr. To prescribe for me? Would it be something in addition to the Levoxl or a completely different medication.

      Dr. Westin Childs - February 8, 2017

      Hey Shawn,

      It’s important to consider that muscle pain isn’t always from hypothyroidism (that is just one of the causes). It’s fairly easy to experiment to determine if your muscle pain is from your thyroid as increasing your dose should reduce the pain. If it doesn’t then it may be related to something else.

    cindy - February 9, 2017

    I have just been diagnosed with hashimoto’s and had a scan that showed my thyroid is not working at all, my antibodies are 1374, my TSH is 17.73, Free T4 is 0.97 and T3 is 0.1, I am currently on 137 synthroid, any ideas on what I can do to help me out? I am always tired, have a hard time concentrating and in constant pain. Thank You

      Dr. Westin Childs - February 9, 2017

      Hey Cindy,

      I would start with the recommendations in this post, you can also find lots of information about supplements, diet, etc. on my blog for further help.

    Mary Kay - February 10, 2017

    Very enlightening info you’re providing!

    My thyroiditis was diagnosed in 2006. Much later I learned it’s autoimmune. I also have severe multi-chemical sensitivities.

    What do you think of basal body temperature testing first thing in the morning and then other times in the day to gauge hypo status? I have been feeling super-hypo recently.

    I’ve long had low basal body temperature, blood pressure, no reflexes in the doctors knee test, horizontally ridged and thin fingernails, one eyebrow is shorter on one side, inflammation, mood issues, plus countless other classic hashi symptoms that, over the years, have come and gone, based on lifestyle, ETC. I’ve tried T4, Armour and WP. Not all at the same time, you know 🙂

    Having been to countless doctors of all types over the years, I’m wondering if DIY basal temp moderating could be helpful. If so, how? Having read and followed directions carefully, my results range 94-96 degrees in the morning. Six hours or so later it goes up around .8 degrees. Recently, it has reached above 96.9.

    Thanks again for the amazing blog as mainstream healthcare is unable to sufficiently test all of us with autoimmune disease.

    Denise - February 10, 2017

    Hello. Thank you for all above info. Been suffering from chronic muscle pain 18 mths. Hashimoto and multiple nodules 5 yrs but bloodwork always said “within range”. I’ve fought with Drs that maybe this isn’t my normal range as we had no beginning numbers to work from. Nodule was stable until past yr and it started growing fast. Just had half thyroid removed with egg size nodule. Bloodwork CH50 high for 2 yrs. Most recent Parathyroid Hormone H 77. Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies H 23. Calcium increasing over past 6 months 9.5 to 9.8 to now 10.2.
    Total protein 7.0 6 mths ago to H 7.9 now. T3 free 2.9 T4 Free .91 TSH 1.564 vitamin D 29 C4 was H 46
    Any guidance appreciated .

      Dr. Westin Childs - February 10, 2017

      Hey Denise,

      The best thing you can do is find someone who understands what I’m discussing on this page to help you further, fighting with physicians is never recommended and will only lead to frustration on both sides.

    Pam Fournier - February 17, 2017

    I have had fibromyalgia for over 25 years I was managing it very well until a nodule was found on my thyroid in December of 2016 they removed my thyroid and put me on the levothroxine 175mcg once a day in the morning what you have. Said about t3 is so true I have been so sick they just say my hormones are taking along time to up take in my body it is not working it feels like my fibro has come on with a vengeance like 10 times worse my life is terrible I am always sick and in pain I do like my Dr but does not know what to do he is Dr Noel Stibor at Star Valley medical center in Afton Wyo 83110 I am 66 years of age I am afraid I will lose this connection so I can show it to him please help me I need your help or send your info on email and can show him please I so agree with what you are saying help me . Pam Fournier

    Kathy - February 19, 2017

    Finally, a doctor who understands.! was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia simultaneously 25 years ago when I was in my early 40’s. I have always believed there is a connection between the two. I’ve seen many doctors over the years who have prescribed different strengths of Synthroid. I have also taken Armour Thyroid .I have frequent lab test (TSH) as well as T3 and T4. I never ” feel” as if I’m on the correct dose.. The FM is wicked and I suffer with migraines daily. My endocrinologist is near retirement and I have asked for a complete blood panel over the years and he assures me that my dosage of Synthroid at the time is appropriate. I have tried to press the matter but I get brushed off. What should I do? I have no quality of life.. I’m so sick and exhausted all the time.. The body pain can be unbearable and the migraines rule my life.. I am desperate and about to give up on ever having someone connect the dots.. Please help me.. Help all who suffer from this debilitating illness..

      Dr. Westin Childs - February 19, 2017

      Hey Kathy,

      The best thing you can do is look for a provider who understands thyroid function. Usually PCP’s and endocrinologists are not the ones to prescribe the right type and dose of medication, and yet patients tend to stick with these providers despite how they feel.

    MONICA S CEDRON ZANARDI - February 23, 2017

    I had my thyroid removed last year with a positive cancer (papillary) biopsy. I am exhausted beyond belief. Used to be extremely energetic.I am currently taking Fluoxetine for my fybro and 137 Levothiroxine . My calves cramp when going a 6 step stair I am forgetful and gained weight. What can i do

      Dr. Westin Childs - February 27, 2017

      Hey Monica,

      I would start with the recommendations listed in this article, if those aren’t working then I would have a complete thyroid panel.

    Linda - February 25, 2017

    My naturopath has had me on Naturethroid 2 grains for the past 6 years. Before that I went through a “thyroid storm” on Synthroid from a conventional medicine doctor. Currently, Naturethroid @ 2 grains keeps the TSH around 1.0 which, for the most part, makes me feel best. I am also on “Meyer’s cocktail” IV therapy plus glutathione, plus a vitamin D shot (I don’t have a gallbladder any more). My TPO was 1300 two years ago. I was prescribed low-dose Natrexone @ 2 mg which brought the level down to 638. Eliminating raw milk brought the TPO 380. I have routine complete thyroid labs studies (in order to refill the Naturethroid Rx). Currently, he is mainly concerned about the TPO not coming down lower because all the other thyroid labs are optimal. I have many food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances: all grains, eggs (white and yolk), nightshade vegetables, beans, milk products, and most nuts, so you cansee my diet is very limited. I keep track of my calories (carbs, fats, proteins, salt, and sugar) and water intake and exercise on a daily basis. Calorie intake is around 1100 per day. Walking for 40 minutes is about the only strenuous exercise I can do. I have more pain if I carry something while walking. I used to run 5 miles every other day for 12 years in my 20s, but at age 32, fatigue, aches and pains, and HUGE weight gain started abruptly. I had to stop running, and then I became pregnant. After the C-section, I was even more exhausted. I thought it was from the anesthesia still in my body. There was no mention of my TSH being out of wack at that time. I wasn’t diagnosed with Hashimoto’s until age 54 when my hair started falling out, facial skin peeling, chest pains/heart palpitations, MRSA boils resistant to all antibiotics, and could not get warm even on 106-degree+ temperatures during the Arizona summers. A conventional medicine doctor put me on Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole which did nothing for the boils. I would sit in the car with the windows rolled up to try to get warm. I had a woman lawyer set up a will for me because I thought I was dying. She recommended a naturopathic doctor. He put me through eight UBI treatments which cleared up the boils, and all my lab results returned negative for Staph thereafter. I was free of boils after fighting these for two years. I was no longer having long bouts of bronchitis. Even though that naturopathic doctor moved to Canada, I now see my current naturopath in Scottsdale. I have been to myofascial release therapists and this only provides temporary relief. My daughter’s roommate at ASU in Tempe is from India. She recommended that I drink heated coconut milk with 1 Tbs turmeric, 1/2 tsp grated ginger root, 1/4 tsp Saigon cinnamon, 3 peppercorns for the muscle pains…or to prevent colds and flu. This has given me pain relief on a daily basis. I have to drink it every day,otherwise the pain flares up in the wrists, upper arms, neck, shoulders, posterior ribs, and hip sockets. I don’t add honey because I am afraid of developing diabetes (family history). I recently read an article about lectins contributing to inflammation, but lectins are in everything. I haven’t talked with my naturopathic physician about this article yet. It seems the highest levels of lectins are in the same foods I have allergies/sensitivities to. I must be lectin resistant.

    I await your comments.

    Skye - March 3, 2017

    Dr. Childs,
    This is extremely interesting information. I am wondering if all of this still applies if the thyroid has been completely removed, as well as having gastric bypass: BPD with a duodenal switch. How effective will this therapy work with the malnutrition aspect? Exactly what kind of physician should be seen if the Endocrinologist doesn’t take this seriously?
    Thank you very much for this info and for any additional information you can provide for these specific hurdles.

      Dr. Westin Childs - March 3, 2017

      Hey Skye,

      Yes, the same principles apply if you are post thyroidectomy. Most of the time you will have to look outside of the insurance model if you want to get the type of care you see on this blog.

    Sharon Childs - March 15, 2017

    Thank you for this article. I have taken levothyroxine for many many years and have al the issues you talk about. I asked a dr.once if I could have fibromyalgia and he laughed. I have serious skeletal issues and always have had, especially my spine. Drs blame all my pain and fatigue ln my lower back. That would not cause pain in my hands, arms, fingers, ankles, elbows and knees. I am on prolia for severe osteoporosis and I have osteoarthritis and possibly RA, but does not show on blood test, only high sedimentation rate. I am 5’5″ weigh 121 lbs. and will be 72 next month. What can I do to encourage my drs to check this out. I am too tired to ever go anywhere or do anything in mu house. My pain is constant, usually several things hurtin at once. Always my back and the rest varies. Hope you can reply. Thank you for teaching me this information.
    –Sharon L. Childs

      Dr. Westin Childs - March 15, 2017

      Hey Sharon,

      You won’t be able to convince your current set of doctors to change how they think/evaluate you. Instead, it may be worth it to try and seek out someone who is more willing to listen and act on your concerns.

    Angie - March 16, 2017

    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in ’96 and with Fibromyalgia in 2002. I had always felt that these two somehow had something to do with each other. I’m also bipolar and feel like this goes along with Fibro and thyroid issues. I’d like to know your thoughts on this. I thought I heard the doctor say something about depression in his interview but for some reason I can’t get that video to play again.
    Thank you

      Dr. Westin Childs - March 16, 2017

      Hey Angie,

      Yes, there is a connection between thyroid hormone and bipolar disorder (and depression). Several studies have shown treatment with T4 even with normal thyroid doses to be effective. In addition studies have also shown that high doses of T3 only help patients with bipolard disorder even when they are resistant to multiple medications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19215985

    Michelle - March 22, 2017

    I do not have a thyroid, anymore, due to thyroid cancer. I am hoping to be two years, cancer free, very soon. I have extremely sore feet, ankles, and wrists, shoulders, and that’s about it. My feet are high arched…but I go to bed with foot pain and wake up with foot pain. I also am short a parathyroid, due to my surgery, so I suffer with very low calcium. Any tips? I am on my feet a lot, at my job and I also have a toddler, son. I enjoyed your article.

    Larraine Uren - March 22, 2017

    I can’t gain weight. I have food and chemical reactions I am afraid I wiil die soon.

    Linda Lund - March 25, 2017

    I had a gastric bypass in 1982 that had to be revised 3 separate times. I lost 135# but now have regained and lost several times and now am about 50# from my highest weight again and can’t seem to lose no matter what. I have large fluid retention issues taking large doses of diuretics even though my BP has always been normal or even low before put on the diuretics. I can gain or lose 10-14# withing a day or 2. After trying to blame my weight on my thyroid..which was always “normal”, I gave up on that and low and behold I found myself hypothyroid with weight gain, hair loss, low energy. I was place on Levothyroxine for several years and in the course of moving and trying to find new MDs in new areas, I had run out of meds and had been off of them for sometime before we got settled and found a new MD. My TSH was now “normal” as was my Free T4 so was kept off the meds. I still have symptoms of hair thinning and weight gain and weightloss resistance but MD will not do anything else. I also have secondary hyperparathyroism with levels in the high 300s but changes frequently. I also have a “cyst” on my thyroid found by ultrasound so was sent to and Endo. He does a few tests and says see you in 6 months but I get no answers. I finally questioned him more on my last visit and he became VERY defensive, almost nasty, stating this was his specialty and if I didn’t like him to have my primary follow me. I also have very low vitatmin D levels and am on RX dosages of D3 and calcitracin, as well as B12 shots depending on how low can be as often as weekly. These are being attributed to the gastric bypass which I know will affect those levels. I have also had to have 2 separate rounds of iron infusions with Hgb in the 8.0 range and has been stable for last couple years but now in down to the low level of normal with a drop of over 3 gms in past year. I feel like I am being ignored by the MDs and don’t know what to do. We live in a small town now so not a lot of options for treatment. Nothing is being done about the thyroid cyst and when I question the Endo about it he gets nasty telling me that is his specialty and who am I to criticize him. I was only asking a question. I am so frustrated, especially with the weight gain and inability to lose. I have done just about every diet known includng weight watchers in which I lost 60# but I was quite ill with diarrhea for 3 months and ended up with pancreatitis which is now resolved and the whole 60# came right back on. Where do I go from here??? How can I go about finding an Endo that will answer my questions and DO something?

    Jennifer hillman - March 30, 2017

    I no longer have my thyroid due to possible cancer. I am currently taking 88 synthroid. I also have fibromyalgia and arthritis in all joints. Can they still check all those levels since I no longer have a thyroid?

    Marcia - April 2, 2017

    Where can I find a list or name of a provider who will agree to do these tests and treat with the treatments you describe?
    I’ve searched for years – requested full thyroid panels and been denied when my TSH comes back “normal”.
    I was diagnosed with FM over a decade ago, the flare ups, pain, and body seizes are unbearable at times.
    I just want to be treated but cannot find a provider….please help.

    Christina - April 2, 2017

    This is excellent information about fibromyalgia/hypothyroidism. I want to tell everyone…Don’t give up on finding a doctor to help you! After 10 years and 8 different doctors I have finally found one who goes beyond the conventional (TSH) testing, listens to my symptoms and has helped my tremendously. Look for a thyroid specialist … you will most likely have to travel some distance and pay out of pocket. Hope this helps!

    Joan Furman - April 4, 2017

    I am going to my doctor today to get my blood work back on my thyroid. I am currently taking 250mcg of synthroid daily and I have no relief from the pain. Was DC with fibro years ago but I have yet to find a doctor willing to treat the pain. I am taking a copy of this to my doctor and I am going to ask her to run these tests. I pray that I find some relief so I can get on with my life

    Lydia - April 6, 2017

    Dear Dr. Child’s,
    I just tried sending you an email. It was lengthy but basically asked if you are still treating patient in Arizona? If so, how can I get an appointment?
    I’m suffering horribly & the docs I’ve seen are doing nothing for my Hypothyroid. I just found out after waiting 2mths to get my lab results my levels were high & this so-called office person had no idea what TSH even meant! The doc was out 6 weeks for paternity leave as his wife had their first child yet he had no one available to see patients while gone!
    My symptoms are a combo of chronic pain from 2 injuries plus recently diagnosed with OSTEOARTHRITIS & Hypothyroid just within this last year!
    Before accidents I was extremely healthy never sick quite active & worked out always. Since really
    relocation from AZ to Kennewick WA it’s all fallen down around me!
    Please please Dr. Child’s is there anyway you can fit me in as a patient? I can’t go through much more
    especially zero sleep which has me beyond exhausted all the time! I need your help!

    Deborah Warlick - April 8, 2017

    Thank you so much for this info I have been looking hard at this for awhile now. I asked my Dr. If I should use iodine supplement and she laughed and said no and would not do a full thyroid exam. I have fibro and hypothyroid and a fatty liver I have not worked in 20 years. I am not sure about liquid iron but will try. Thank you again could you tell us what kind of Dr. we need to go to for help with this.Mine thinks all is fine ivam losding my hair bad, I go out once every two weeks, I have no energy can barely get through the grocery store, I stopped pain meds and muscle relaxers after 20 years my husband is ill and I need to help him but well you get the picture. Sorry I talk too much but help would be most greatful. Debbie

    Pam Cochran - April 18, 2017

    I have a question. I don’t have a thyroid anymore. Had to be taken out because it quit working and I had spots of cancer on it. I need to lose weight and it is impossible for me and I have fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism. Can I be helped?? I have a lot of health problems and I’m just 48yrs OLD. I’ve done CNA work for 25yrs and have done a lot of lifting and now I have 3 pinched nerves, arthritis, stenosis, 2 Ruptured discs in my lower back, spurs in my hip and arthritis. So, I need to lose weight bad… You have any suggestions? Thank you,Pam C.

      Dr. Westin Childs - April 18, 2017

      Hi Pam,

      Yes, you can definitely be helped, but how much is always unknown. Patients in your current standing generally get at least 50% improvement in pain when following my recommendations (some more than others obviously and some less).

    Fig - April 21, 2017

    What if I have a dr who treats my thyroid well, have taken NDT or T3 only (to reduce RT3) but my SHB is always very high. It’s around 169. Dr says this is due to using HRT for surgical menopause. Does that mean despite good thyroid levels that it’s just not being used correctly? How can I fix this? I am chronically exhausted and have fibromyalgia with 16/18 trigger points confirmed. ANy advice appreciated. I do have good levels of B12, omega 3, d3, etc.

      Dr. Westin Childs - April 22, 2017

      Hi Fig,

      Only two things increase SHBG: thyroid hormone and estrogen.

        Fig - April 22, 2017

        So if SHBG is increased from taking thyroid hormones and estrogen and you need both – does that mean the thyroid never reaches the tissue correctly? Or what is the answer? Do I just ignore high SHBG levels? Have read that testosterone can bring it down but no luck so far. I am replacing all missing/deficient hormones except DHEA.

          Dr. Westin Childs - April 22, 2017

          Hi Fig,

          You may need estrogen and thyroid hormone but you don’t want high SHBG because by definition it is binding up your sex hormones.

            Fig - April 23, 2017

            Please tell me what needs to be done then. I don’t know how to reduce SHBG. Surgical menopause necessitates HRT and Hashimoto’s results in thyroid replacement. My drs do not advise on how to lower SHBG but I don’t seem to process thyroid replacement as normal people do. Thanks.

    Katherine R Korzen - April 23, 2017

    Hello i found this to be very helpful. i have suffered chronic left pectorial muscle pain since Jan 2012, left trapaizoid pain same time length. A combination of different types of headaches to include migraines 31+ yrs siezure disorder diagnosed in 2008. Lipoma brain tumor diagnosed in 1998. Depression 2000, suicidal 1988, bi- polar, multiple personalities, audio, visual hallucinations, insominia, brown circles around eyes, puffy bags under eyes, sore throat, raspy voice swollen vocal cords, sores and swollen tongue. lack of appitite, no sex drive, no desire for self hygiene. i also have muscle cramps and swollen joints. I have been diagnosed with sub clinical hypothyroidism but since my labs came back normal in dec 2017. the Doc wont listen when i tell them that something is wrong. Please advise

    Stephan - April 24, 2017

    My wife has had thyroid cancer and therefore her thyroids removed. She takes levothyroxine but after 5 years is still struggling with fibromyalgia and constant pain. She is always cold and her energy levels seem to be at an all time low. She is on a surprisingly low level of thyroxine considering her weight, height, age etc of only 100ug. Her GP has said that this amount keeps her within a normal range but I feel her deterioration is profound. What would you suggest is these circumstances please? Your post is extremely interesting and quite the eye opener. Many thanks.

      Dr. Westin Childs - April 24, 2017

      Hi Stephan,

      The single best thing you can do for her is to find a practitioner who shares these philosophies. The conventional approach will be insufficient to help her.


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