You complain to your doctor that you suffer from chronic widespread pain and abnormal tenderness. After much testing and no improvement from treatment, your diagnosis ends up as “fibromyalgia”. You are told “you will just have to learn to live with it.” You try various treatments, which may include antidepressants, and painkillers. Therapies that can be helpful are massage, chiropractic care and nutritional supplements, but they do not cure fibromyalgia.
Surely though, the cause of this debilitating condition is worth investigating? Fibromyalgia researchers say they don’t know the cause of fibromyalgia, have never gotten a patient well, and have nothing but pharmaceutical medications to offer.
The late Doctor John Lowe from the American Academy of Pain Management and Director of Research of the Fibromyalgia Research Foundation said that the symptoms of hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia are similar, and he found that treating fibromyaliga using targeted thyroid hormones enabled fibromyalgia sufferers to recover.
The symptoms that fibromyalgia and low thyroid function share are: fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, dryness of hair, skin and eyes, excess muscle tension and slower reflexes.
Deficient thyroid hormone regulation results from two conditions – an undiagnosed deficiency of thyroid hormone and the resistance of patients’ tissues to thyroid hormone.
The four most common causes of low thyroid function are nutritional deficiencies caused by poor diet, poor physical fitness, and some medication. Some patients also have deficiencies or imbalances of other hormones, such as cortisol, estrogen, and progesterone. Doctor Lowe describes this phenomenon in his book The Metabolic Treatment of Fibromyalgia.
Diagnosis of thyroid hormone health is best left to health professionals to analyse, but it is worthwhile to know that the standard test to measure thyroid health, the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test or TSH, may not reveal all problems people may have with thyroid function. If you have fibromyalgia, it may be worth asking your doctor to have a full thyroid hormone profile done to eliminate the possibility of low thyroid function that hasn’t shown up through the usual testing.
Some of the nutrients beneficial for normal thyroid function are zinc, iodine and selenium, so a healthy diet that includes meat, seafood, seaweeds brazil nuts, mushrooms, brown rice and sunflower seeds. Exercise is helpful too.
It makes sense that, rather than accepting that you have a chronic and untreatable condition with no known cause,to go looking for an underlying cause or causes to find a reasonable explanation. Conditions like this do not strike people without a cause – they always have an underlying cause.
Given the degree of debility and misery that fibromyalgia causes, digging deeper is worthwhile. Google ‘fibromyalgia and thyroid link’ and you’ll be surprised at all the research you see about it. One case study by Doctor Lowe here is worth looking at.