Thyroid UK
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Joint Pain and Internal Tremors - Borderline Underactive Thyroid?

Hi all, I'm new on here having only just been prescribed Levothyroxine.

About 6 months ago I started to notice a tremble/tremor which was occasionally visible in my legs when standing but mainly I just felt shaky and weird 'inside'. Went backwards and forwards to the Dr who did numerous tests but drew a blank except for what he said was a borderline under-active thyroid and he did not prescribe anything at the time. He referred me to a neurologist who I am seeing next week.

While this was going on I developed groin pain and hip pain. Not thinking it was connected in any way, I was back at the Drs, more blood tests etc but this time was put on the Levothyroxine - 50mg with instructions to return for a blood test in 4 weeks. At no point was the word 'borderline' mentioned! So, to cut a long story short - I asked the Dr if the tremors and joint pain could be linked to being under-active and was adamantly told 'No'...... I am confused as some symptoms listed include joint pain? Though I understand the tremors are normally associated with over-active? I guess I was almost hoping that the under-active thyroid might account for all these health issues but in a way, I am still no further forward with tremors, joint pain and an under-active thyroid to boot! LOL

Anyone think the Dr could be wrong or is that fact that I am only considered 'borderline' enough to rule out any associated symptoms?

Btw, I also have terrible sleepless-ness perhaps getting 3 hours of proper sleep nightly.

Thanks all xx

13 Replies

GP's seem to have difficulty recognising any symptom of underactive thyroid, unless proved to them by a blood test, so I would say, do not worry about all these odd symptoms, because they are almost certainly bound up with your so called borderline result. Borderline to one person, may be full on underactive to another. I mentioned tremors and shaky hands to my endo, whom I was seeing to try and get him to give me T 3. He told me to hold out both of my shaky little hands in front of me, visibly with tremor to me but no, he couldn't see it and that symptom was swiftly dismissed. I also mentioned all my aching so he thought it was rheumatic, (which I refuted) and did a blood test to check for inflammation. They will try anything other than admit it is thyroid! He did give me the T 3 though and it wasn't rheumatics causing the aching. I bet he hated it that I was right! So, be glad you now have some Levo and I hope all your symptoms start to ease up.

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Your clinical symptoms sound so much like the ones that troubled me. Don't be fobbed off with 'in normal range no increase needed' but get a print-out of your thyroid gland blood tests results with the ranges and post on a new question. Also ask to have a Vitamin B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate done at the same time.

You have found out that many GP's cannot join the dots and are unaware that our whole body is affected by hypo and if undertreated/undiagnosed can have many clinical symptoms but because the TSH 'in range' we are told 'it's nothing to do with thyroid gland.

I only had widespread pain and stiffness and could barely walk after I began levothyroxine and, eventually, found out that a change of make and the addition of T3 remedied the problems. You should have an increase in meds after about 6 weeks on the initial dose.

You may strike lucky and the neurologist may have the experience to deal with hypo patients.

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I'm beginning to believe the adrenals start failing long before the thyroid does but not a proven theory, nonetheless, they do go hand in hand when it comes to symptoms. It does make sense since stress impacts the fight or flight response from the adrenal glands.


Now this is something I have been wondering about too. Why are so many people developing chronic conditions? I believe stress has a big part to play. There are all kinds of stresses in the world now and, while they may not be a 'severe' as in other times, they are chronic causes of stress. I do think this contributes to people developing conditions such as hypothyroidism. After all, the adrenals are being put under chronic stress.

I also think that the opposite is also true in some cases. Because people are being left with 'normal' blood tests despite their hypothyroid symptoms, they are putting their adrenals under chronic stress due to non-treatment of a chronic condition and they hence develop adrenal fatigue.

I think you have raised a very important point!

Carolyn x

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Thanks, Carolyn. I won't take any credit for this. It's known more or less as hypothalamus overload. This stored stress causes all sorts of problems if not relieved. Dr. Herbert Benson wrote a book regarding the "relaxation response" to help release stress. It's becoming very popular to use some form of meditation for this. And naturally people come up with all sorts of devices or methods to accomplish this. There are all sort of brainwave cd's. A company called Holosync puts out a complete program that many people swear by. If you can't control your "monkey mind" as it's lovingly referred to, ha, it can force your brain to bring about theta waves which trigger relaxatiion. If you slowly rid yourself of this stored stress, your body can then heal. It's a pretty neat idea.

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Thanks for the info. I used to meditate daily. Perhaps I should start again :) I'll have to look out for this book...


Actually you might find this in your library. It's a practical guide:

Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook

By Martha Davis, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman, M.S.W.

Matthew McKay, Ph.D.

ISBN: 1-879237-83-0 paperback

275 pages

Order from Amazon Books

From the Introduction:

"This book is designed to teach you the most popular stress management and relaxation techniques and exercises used today. Consider it your guide to increasing your awareness of your personal reaction to stress and building your sense of control and mastery over the stressors in your life."

Simple, concise, step-by-step directions for mastery of many relaxations and meditation techniques that can be helpful in alleviating symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger, irritability, phobias, musclar tension, headaches, neckaches, backaches, indigestion, irritable bowel, chronic constipation, obsessions, unwanted thoughts, muscles spasms, tics, tremors, fatigue, insomnia, obesity, job stress, chronic pain and chronic illness.

Chapters from the Book:

How You React To Stress

Body Awareness


Progressive Relaxation Training



Applied Relaxation Training



Brief Combination Techniques

Recording Your Own Relaxation Tape


Thought Stopping

Refuting Irrational Ideas

Coping Skills Training

Goal Setting and Time Management

Assertiveness Training

Job Stress Management



When It Doesn't Come Easy--Getting Unstuck

Other Books Recommended by Dr. Stoll

Brain Allergiesby William Philpott, MD. Keats 1980. (order from Amazon Books)

The Yeast Connectionby William Crook, MD, Professional Books 1992. (order from Amazon Books)

Health at the Crossroadsby Dean Black, PhD. Tapestry Press (call Valeen Burdal at 801-768-0560. (order from Amazon Books)

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Sounds very comprehensive! I shall see if I can order it from the library :) Thank you x


I think it does my underactive symptoms appeared after my husband was in Afghanistan and it was a particuarly bad tour my stress was through the roof.


My heart goes out to you. My son was in Iraq for 15 months.

When life was simpler and you were able to get good sleep

your body had the ability to cope with extra stress but that's not the life we live now so it's extra necessary to use these stress relievers. I hope your husband came home in one piece and is home for good now, my son is and it's a great relief. I think they are treating PTSD with T3.


All the symptoms you describe could well be attributed to an under-active thyroid but it is good that you are seeing a neurologist just in case there is something else that needs looking at.

You might also want to look at the following; serum iron, ferritin (stored iron that is best with a result of 70-90), folate (best around 12), vitamin B12 (should be above 500) and vitamin D. These also present as symptoms similar to hypothyroidism so it is best not to rule them out. They are needed for good metabolism and for your body to use thyroxine properly, but your GP will probably be unaware of this.

I was in the process of being diagnosed with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Strangely enough (or not), since my thyroid medication has changed to something that works for me, most of my symptoms of these conditions have improved drastically. Joint pain was one of the main symptoms. Joint pain is most definitely a symptom of hypothyroidism in many patients. As thyroid hormones are needed by every cell in the body, hypothyroidism can cause pretty much any symptom you can possibly think of. It is foolish for a doctor to think that a symptom cannot be attributed to hypothyroidism, although other avenues should be investigated to make sure that it is nothing else.

I hope you start to feel better soon now that you are on thyroxine :)

Carolyn x

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I've been having similar problems to those described and have been for Reiki in the past which was very helpful for lowering stress levels. It can be a bit expensive but thinking about booking a few more sessions to 'bring me down' as it's not much fun feeling like this and it also helped me to start sleeping which is another issue.

Good luck all,

Cath xx


I was exactly the same with insomnia aches and pains in muscle and joints, and palpitations in the night. I felt dreadful and my doctor was at a loss as to what the problem was because I wasn't over medicated. I read the book "Stop the Thyroid Madness" and discovered that I was suffering from Adrenal Fatigue.

I chose to take the supplements she recommended I was already taking B Complex and added magnesium and vitamin C 1000 mgs buffered timed released. The vitamin C had an immediate effect and the all my aches and pains almost disappeared. (vitamin c is good for adrenals) Because i felt so much better and felt that I could stand an increase in my medication and my doctor agreed I went from 75 mcgs to 100 mcgs

This sent me a little back down the slippery slope with not feeling well again. I've researched Adrenal Fatigue and diet and now have cut back on coffee and wine and changed my diet. I also changed the time I took my meds, instead of 6 am I take it at 3 am usually when i go to the toilet.

In my case there is no doubt I was suffering from Adrenal Fatigue as I'm now feeling 90% better (suffering with tinnitus still) I was diagnosed 14 months ago and it's taken that long for me to feel better. It's early days for you but keep coming on this site and buy books, research as much as you can Dr Peatfield say's if your suffering from adrenal fatigue when you start thyroxine it just makes it worse and stresses the adrenalin's even further.

Best wishes,


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