Back Pain – Any Thoughts?

Hi All,

Just wondering does anyone have any advice or info on back pain, as related to thyroid issues or possible deficiencies?

Increasingly, it's becoming a problem. My current situation (in a nutshell) is as follows:

Thyroid profile tests (Genova) all point to hypo, the only "oddity" being high T3. Dr Peatfield says it appears that any T3 I produce isn't getting taken up into my tissues, meaning an adrenal problem is likely (I've previously been diagnosed with low adrenals which pretty much went untreated. Dr P told me those won't have resolved themselves and have probably got worse, so he's got me on an Adrenal Extra programme). I feel that this is doing me good – even after just a few weeks I'm starting to feel more alert.

However, my back pain is often horrendous and triggered by even low-grade activity. If I spend a day doing housework (even with plenty of rest breaks) my back will be agony by the evening.

Yesterday, I had a day out, which involved a one-hour train journey, walking, shopping (no heavy items and they were carried in a good-quality backpack), a leisurely lunch and plenty of "sit-downs". Nevertheless, by early afternoon my back was hurting quite badly, and when I got off the train at the end of the return journey, I could barely straighten up. I think it's a core muscle issue – my back was killing me, but the muscles in my lower abdomen and groin felt painful and weak too. I don't feel it's sciatica as my legs don't seem to be affected.

I want to ask my GP to test me for ferritin, folate and Vitamin D, and also to refer me for an Active B12 test, as I understand deficiencies can also cause aches and pains. However, I'm worried I'll get fobbed off, so I need as much useful info as I can to convince them that I need these tests.

Thanks in advance for any help!


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15 Replies

  • My physio informed me that thyroid patients are known to have weak core muscles due to lack of hormones, so there is one explanation.

    Also have a look at this link that explain possible reasons why your thyroxine isn't being transported to your cells and what part iron deficiency can play in this. the beauty of this article is that it was published in the BMJ so your GP wont be able to dismiss it lightly.

    It takes a bit of reading but once I had read it a couple of times I found it really useful.

    Moggie x

  • Hi moggie, This is an excellent paper and is worthy of us all sending a copy to our GP's and Endocrinologists (which i am doing) There are so many factors there that inhibit absorption and it really has given the info I need to prove what i have been saying for the last 2 years. The only thing not mentioned is low cortisol, unless i missed that bit! I'm going to get a rT3 test done which i hope will shed some light on what is going on, My FT4 is 31 and FT3 12, and i'm feeling little in the way of improvement. It just goes to show how useless Levothyroxine is in giving us our health back, and we need a T4/T3 combination. What is the point of taking more and more Levo if it actually isn't working, and may do more harm?, which in my case I think it has. I have a named drug on the patient leaflet that affects absorption and no doctor has taken a blind bit of notice. This makes me so angry. I'm now a barely functioning adult, I will do anything to reverse this. I can't tell you moggie how grateful i am for your putting this on, everything has fallen into place for me. XX

  • Your more than welcome and lets hope they take notice of it.

    Moggie x

  • HI moggie, that's kind of you. Having problems printing it, grrh. i'll keep trying. XX

  • You might have to copy and paste into a word document, although I'm no computer whiz kid but when I cant print something off the net that's what I do and it usually works.

    Moggie x

  • Thanks Moggie, i'll give it a go. X

  • Let me know if it works wont you.

    Moggie x

  • Moggie, thanks so much for sharing this – it's a revelation! :-) x

  • HI, i have read low cortisol affects the muscles too, and a lot of sufferes have back pain. X

  • I have had dreadful back problems in the past, have had loads of physio plus cortisone epidurals and various other treatments.I practically had a regular booking with my local cottage hospital for physio.

    Eventually I found an excellent physio who discovered I had a 'misplaced' pelvis, she pushed and shoved, stuck a couple of bits of sticky tape in a cross across my sacrum for a while then after that was removed she gave me some pilates type exercises to strengthen the core. She also recommended I try Pilates to strengthen my core muscles which I did and have done ever since and I have not needed physio for about six years which I put that down to the Pilates.

    Since being diagnosed with Graves in November last year though I have found I definitely don't have the same movement and flexibility in my hips but my Pilates teacher is also a physio so we just adapt to what I can do. I signed up for a Nordic walking class and had my first session last night and I noticed my stride has definitely shortened - I used to be able to walk faster than my husband but not any longer thanks to Graves.

    I also found / still find the muscles in my groin / top of my legs can feel strange from time to time especially when I get up after sitting in the car for a while, kind of like my legs are going to drop off. I think it must have something to do with the levo and the fact I have gone from being very hyper to the Carbimazole making me a bit hypo and my levo not being 'quite there' yet. I'm sure if I wasn't doing Pilates though I wouldn't be able to move.

    If you decide to try Pilates you want to be in a very small class because you need individual attention and if your teacher tells you to do something that hurts you - find another teacher, Pilates should not hurt.

    Sorry this goes on a bit :-)

    Good luck,


  • ...our biggest muscles are the ones in the butt - gluteus maximus amd the minimus plus others. When metabolism is low then the muscles can be deprived of energy and are not strong enough to support an upstanding skeleton. If you take up a Cat pose - on all fours - then you may find your pain lessens - then this will indicate a general weakness of major muscles. If there is still pain then it might be something else !

    ...from a back sufferer who has had surgery and still stuck with a spondylolithesis ! Walking for more than half an hour can be a problem ! However I manage yoga 2/3 times a week and guide others !

    I did find that VitD helped a great deal. Do you have gut problems ? - if so that can give you backache as the inflammation spreads and can put pressure on the spine.

    Do hope you find some answers and soon feel more comfortable....

  • Hi Marz

    Very interesting what you said about how our muscles are affected when our metabolism is low - muscles not being strong enough to support our standing skeleton just sums up how my body feels (or felt) at times.

    It's interesting how different things suit different people isn't it. I have tried yoga on and off a few times and never really got on with it, the most recent time I found I kept getting awful cramp in my feet which spoiled it a bit for me. Years ago I tried Tai Chi which I had been told was wonderful for back problems yet by the time we had done a sitting down warm up I could feel my sciatica kicking in and then after I ' parted the wild horse's mane' or whatever the move was my hip got a bit worse until I could barely get out of bed the morning after. I then moved onto Pilates which has turned out to be my perfect exercise.

    Liz x

  • Hi Marz

    I've been wondering about Vit D. As you may have guessed from the name, I'm a Celt and a fairly pasty example so I'm probably overcautious in the sun. Add that I work from home so that a daily blast of sunlight isn't a given even in this weather, and that may be a part of the problem. I have candida and my digestion (tendency to be a tad loose rather than constipated) so I may have low-grade inflammation going on. I certainly get rosacea flare-ups. I'm also big – tall and carrying a lot of weight, so my muscles have their work cut out at the best of times!

  • I got back pain when I was on high T3 with a low TSH

  • Hi all,

    Sorry for the late reply – I didn't realise anyone had responded until just now! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts, it's very much appreciated.


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