Is hashimoto's associated with upper back pain? - Thyroid UK

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Is hashimoto's associated with upper back pain?


I have recently been diagnosed with Hashimoto's and after a month on 25 mcg of Levo my GP has increased it to 50mcg. Still have 'off the scale' thyroid Peroxidase antibodies ( above measurable range in the thousands somewhere) but I wondered if others have experienced upper back pain without an alternative explanation? It is mid thoracic ( approx level of a bra strap) radiates into shoulder and is agony when I lay down. It puts me in the awful situation of being profoundly tired but forced to sit up, even during the night. Any ideas?

19 Replies

I saw an osteopath with the same thing she said stress was causing tension across shoulders and the back ended up overcompensating casing pain.I had a few sessions until my NHS physio appt ame up to deal with the pain and it helped.So yes I think it's all part and parcel.I used a wheat germ heat thing thrown over my shoulder hope you get some relief soon x

Hidden in reply to VanessaB

Thanks Vanessa, I will try a wheat bag

I've got hashi's too and yes, across the bra strap, mine burns in the shoulder blade. My lymph nodes at the back of my neck, were up for weeks, really quite painful, day in day out!

I'm on a 100mcg of levo, anti bodies sky high and raised lymphocytes. I'm seeing my Dr in the morning!

Wheat bag will hopefully sort u out, if not maybe try some voltrol rub.

Hope u get a good nights rest

Natalie x

Hidden in reply to angelharley

Thanks for this Natalie, hope your Dr can sort you out, this is so miserable. X

...I'm a Hashi's girl too and have had many things to deal with over the years. Muscle tension is the possible cause as the large muscles of the neck/shoulders do connect to the spine around mid-way. Take a look at the Trapezius muscle somewhere....the books by Ray Long on Amazon are the sort you can look at page by page I believe. The Key Muscles of Yoga - would be a good book to look at.....

Some simple yoga will help too. Just lie on the floor/bed and bring your knees onto the chest.....wrap your arms around the legs and roll gently from side to side. Ensure your head is in a well supported position by squeezing chin onto chest and lowering head from there. Be aware of where the massage is taking place on your back - possibly above the waist/kidney area. Release the hands - keep rolling from side to side - and slowly lower feet to the floor and notice the massage moves lower in the back until eventually the tailbone gets a treat. Then slowly keep rolling and bring the knees back onto the chest and squeeze down as hard as you can. This will help to release tension in those big muscles of the butt and in turn release tension further up the spine. You will also feel it in the hip joint.

Google Shoulder/Back Tension for yoga videos and you will see so much that will help. Before I was diagnosed in 2005 I attended yoga classes and cried a lot as it hurt so much. For the last two years I have been teaching !! If you would like some more suggestion then do please ask.

...and yes Voltaren Gel is great too !.

Hope you are soon pain free.......probably when you are on a higher dose of T4 too - that may help. You may wish to do some research on T3 and its benefits. Also check your VitD levels - that will help GREATLY.....the result needs to be near the top of the range. Hashi's people often seem to have problems with converting T4 to T3 so try and keep an eye on that for your long term improvement. Also have B12 Ferritin Folates and Iron tested.

Wishing you well soon.......

Hidden in reply to Marz

Thank you, I will definitely try those exercises. My Vit D was very low (11) but my GP has successfully raised it to 70. I will keep going with that. Thank you for all your help. Marie

I have hashi as well. I started like that with terrible muscle ache. i was a dancer and used to exercise and started with a frozen shoulder and pin and needeles back of my shoulder blades. And my legs feel jelly no strenght whatsoever. little by little i started to get contractures in my back with terrible pain that could not move. almost diagnossed with fibro but i got the depression diagnosis before. Citalopram sorted me out the pain and the depression. it is a drug usually used for pain. my thryroid problem is not sorted but i am unwell with 100 levo and i had to come back on citalopram because the join pain in my lower back is horrible. i tried yoga once i was medicated and di help.i am also considering seing someone different than dr Sk.


Thanks Anuska, it helps to know this is probably related to the Hashi, at least I can assume that with treatment, this might improve as well. I will look up citalopram. Thanks for taking the time to answer, I know how precious effort is! M

Yep Im a Hashis girls too.

My uper back pain is due to locked shortened muscles and shortened tendons along with spurs on my neck pinching the blood supply to the brain and central nerves, causing everything to fire off and pull up tighter.

My physio is the Queen of Torture hell, but she knows her stuff and has given me back more movement than I have had in years. I may scream, swear while she pokes, prods and clicks all my bones back into their homes. Belive me my whole rib cage was out of alignment as was my lower back and shoulders. Right out of joint in some cases, but to actually move is worth it. My shoulder rotates out of joint silly things like that,I didnt know it did that, I though I just slumped can have a knock on effect to the rest.

I'd ask for a neck/upper back Xray. A total back Xray would be ideal but they cost and Drs go pale at anything that costs. Just to rule out any of the spurs growing on the vertebra.

Get a rerferal to a Physio with an assess, diagnose and to treat the whole body, not just assess and treat the upper back. If your walking's out it can impact on other areas of the body. Knee pain, can be caused by ankles or fallen arches. Physio's know their stuff and can see what you are doing or shouldnt be.

Hidden in reply to ravenhex

Thanks for this, my GP has referred me for physio, I have torture to look forward to now. Lol!

Hmmm.... I have now been on Levo four days and after one 25mcg tablet it was like my spine tightened. Yesterday I tried walking around a supermarket, I managed a couple of aisles leaning on a trolley, it was like my legs didn't want to work. This is a new symptom and coincides with the Levo, not in pain...yet, but feel strange.

pp901 in reply to storm

Try Armor Thyroid. Levo is t4


It does seem an odd coincidence doesn't it? I have never had upper back pain, or any injury/ change of activity to explain this. I have found heat helps but pain killers do nothing. I feel strange too. Have you been hypo a long time?

I have had the same pain for years! I have had MRIS and x-rays, and nothing, all in my head. No one ever

talks about the severe back pain that comes along with this disease. I have tried everything, accupuncture, tens, infrared saunas, laser.... and nothing but waiting for it to calm for a while. The pain always returns.

This thyroid hell is so confusing. I was diagnosed hypothyroid a year ago and a few months later had a slight heart attack. Since then I have had bad anxiety as the symptoms of hypothyroid I had I kept thinking was another heart attack about to happen. The doctors have given me 5 different causes for the heart attack but basically they don't know but it screws my head up worrying about these causes from blood clot, spasm, insufficiency, deficiency, plaque but thankfully nothing was needed so I supplement and completely changed my diet, it scared the daylights out of me. So developed this back pain, worried sick its something to do with the heart, then not sleeping, tossing and turning worrying, making it worse with anxiety, tensing up and probably then it gets even worse. But I must be the only happy person to be on this page, thanks guys for allieving my worries, but showing me what a nasty problem thyroid can be and how we need to become experts in our own symptoms. Thank goodness for this website, what would we have done without the internet? At least we know we are not alone with our problems. Good luck everyone, I am going out for a walk with a skip to my step and my back ache, just trying to get over this anxiety lark. x

I wonder how everyone knows so much about their condition. I keep going to the doctor about various symptoms, I am on 25mcg levo for over a year now. I suffer anxiety and makes me tense but I have this awful weak painful back, just above the bra line which started with tingling. I went to the doctor and she diagnosed tension in the shoulder and said the NHS doesn't do physio. That was months ago now, I took myself off to the physio/osteopath and said my front muscles were too tight and gave me exercises and signed me off. I had an anxiety attack and took myself to the doctors and told them about my painful back, just listened to it and was told it was an anxiety attack and nothing to worry about. I had another anxiety attack and again told them about my painful back but they just listened to it and said it was ok. But here I am with the pain, and it gets tight to breath sometimes. If I lie back on the couch then it does go away. I searched thyroid and backache and got this page. I have only had my TSH and T4 tested, the doctors say I don't need another test for a year. I had a heart attack last year and I thought I would have had better treatment than I have had. We have to be experts as doctors don't seem to have a clue about thyroid.

Dramlouie in reply to Dramlouie

Just thought everyone might need a laugh, I have just replied to my own post, brain fog or what!!!

pp901 in reply to Dramlouie

Dram, get on Armor Thyroid I could have written this myself. It all comes flooding back when I get messed up on my armor

I went onto NDT 10 weeks ago now from 50mcg levothyroxine. I had upper back ache/pain before switching to NDT, it was a weird pain. Felt like air hunger and/or stress. I went on NDT and it disappeared but I have had a few weeks of stress since Christmas and Dr P said to increase thyroid slightly if have stress. So I did that and my back pain ache has completely gone. I think its low T3 doing it. I am going for at least one 15 minute brisk walk a day, sometimes two if I can fit it in. I couldn't walk before due to pain in my hips, back and I am now totally pain free. I also wondered if it was due to my bed being a bit old and not supporting my back properly and with the levo/hypo making the muscles weak it wasn't helping. I still am using my old mattress, just turned it round. I visit the physio every 6 weeks and he is keeping my back working properly. This hypo thing costs a fortune!

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