Back & Joint Pain - Side effect of Hypo or Levo?

Hi there helpful folks! I have been getting joint pain (hips, elbow, finger), alongside backpain (most painful in the mornings, eases on moving). I know that joint & back pain are listed as a side effect of hypothyroidism, but also, a possible reaction to Levo. How can I tell which?! Has anyone else had this? Is there anything that eases the pain (apart from popping NSAIDs every day?). I'm not stabilised yet. I moved up to 75mcg as of yesterday, with a TSH of 3.5 (0.2 - 4.2). I've been experiencing the aches and pains for months ....

13 Replies

  • Mandshef,

    The pain could be because you were under medicated on 50mcg and may resolve or improve when the 75mcg metabolises. Vitamin D deficiency can cause significant joint and bone pain so ask your GP to test or order a private test from City Assays

  • Yes, hopefully. I'm only 2 days into the new dose. Just puzzled as to how you'd know the difference. I was previously diagnosed as Vit D deficient, and now take a daily dose of D3 & K2, so shouldn't be a problem.

  • Mandshef,

    It depends how low your vitD was and how much D3 you supplement.

  • I take 1000 iu p/day over Autumn/Winter, then get my 20 mins of sunshine each day over Spring/Summer.

  • Mandshef,

    1,000iu during winter isn't even a maintenance dose. If your joint pain persists a few weeks after your Levothyroxine dose increase I suggest you have vitd level checked.

  • Ah, I hadn't realised! What is considered a maintenance dose? The Dr won't re-test. He says if I'm supplementing I'll be fine (he recommended as little as 400 - 800iu)!

    Thanks, as ever, for your guidance :)

  • You need to pay for a test yourself. City Assays do the cheapest -

    Unfortunately due to the large number of the UK population who are vitamin D insufficient and deficient they need to test a lot of people and the NHS simply doesn't have the budget for it.

    You need to retest a minimum of once a year preferably in late September/beginning of October for the rest of your life. Then adjust your vitamin D supplements accordingly so you have to read up on this yourself though people here can help.

    This is really horrible for people on low incomes but the NHS doesn't believe in doing preventative medicine so are quite happy for people to yo-yo between being deficient - insufficient or insufficient- adequate for years with lots of vitamin/mineral deficiencies. (I'm deliberately not mentioning the other diseases where they do the same otherwise I would go into full rant mode.)

    Oh and as your doctor recommends you should take 400IU as the minimum of adequate dose for maintenance you need to find yourself another one as if he's not kept up to date with latest research with vitamin D which is openly available then what other things has he not kept up to date with?

  • I'm wondering the same. Have developed hip and shoulder pain which started after I was put on Levo 4 months ago (which incidentally hasn't really made me feel much better!) When I complained of joint pains to doctor she said it could be Fibromyalgia but I really feel it is related to hypo or medication.

  • I too had joint pain in fingers and feet when first diagnosed. Finger no longer swells, however I still have pain in feet but also in hips and significant pain in lower back when lying in bed. It sometimes wakes me but also really hurts when turning over or getting up.

    I'm being treated with levothyroxine, but still not optimal. The back pain appeared when my dose was increased.

  • Aches pains are clinical symptoms but I'll give you a list and you can tick off the ones you have and as your dose increases hopefully you will see an improvement on those. You may feel an improvement as your TSH comes down to 1 or lower.

    I also had aches/pains for the first time when on levothyroxine. When next blood tests is due ask for Free T4 and Free T3 as both tell us important information. You can see why from the attached link. Some labs wont do them if TSH is in range but you can get them from one of the recommended private labs if you wish. They are pin-prick home tests I believe:

  • I take 4000 iu of D3 (4 Drops) per day and that maintains me in the middle of the range.

  • Usually it is the levo that causes it so I am told.

  • For pain my sister (who has had Fibromyalgia for 10 years) uses a drug called Flupirtine and gets good results. It's not available through the NHS and is expensive. There is a clinic in London that can provide it.

    Suggest you google it - it has been used in Europe for over 20 years.

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