What is the connection between Levothyroxine & ... - Thyroid UK

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What is the connection between Levothyroxine & hip/back pain?

CMP2019
CMP2019

I've heard about a connection with levothyroxine and hip/back pain from my osteopath, I've not responded to physio or 3 previous osteopaths, or other treatments. Have been taking levo since about 2005, hip pain has become a real problem in the last 18 months. This could still all be unconnected with the medication but I am beginning to wonder if there's something else going on because of the lack of response to all the things I've tried so far. But do I increase my medication or do I drop it lower, I'm a bit unclear about the conversation I should have with my GP, would appreciate hearing people's views on this, thanks.

24 Replies
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From my own experience when my FT4 goes above 1.2 -1.3 I get shoulder and back pain and I find that any little pain gets amplified by my higher FT4 . Your very lucky that you have an osteopath that *Gets It* .

I'm sure others will respond to your endocrine issues. However, I suggest you have a Vit D blood test and then get the full printout of your lab results (with the lab reference range). I saw numerous doctors, GP's, hospital clinicians and osteopaths - not for years, but for decades. And not one of them recognised, diagnosed or treated the signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency. They can all take credit for the chronic Vit D deficiency that caused osteoporosis.

T4T3
T4T3
in reply to Londinium

I totally agree with you, we are let down by the medical professions lack of knowledge of this disease.

I have the same problem with my hip, I was sent for X ray and mild

damage was found. It was all put down to age and I was told it was okay no treatment needed, until I mentioned the link between Levothyroxine, bone density, and Vitamin D. Oh then the GP light came on, they were surprised I knew about it. We do have to be our own source of knowledge as time consuming as it is.

Jnetti
Jnetti
in reply to T4T3

I just remembered! Maybe a year ago I had discomfort in my hip, especially when sitting down for a while - felt as if the bone was trying to poke through from the inside! I went to the local drop-in Physio clinic and they diagnosed slight arthritis and gave me some exercises.

I did the exercises for a bit and it improved but I still got discomfort in the mornings due to stiffening up while asleep. But since taking Levo that has almost completely vanished!

There surely must be a connection.

Lindzvan
Lindzvan
in reply to T4T3

What is the link between levo bit d and bone density please

SlowDragon
SlowDragonAdministrator

It could be low vitamins, especially low vitamin D

Or low FT3 can be cause

Do you have Hashimoto's? Gluten intolerance is common with Hashimoto's and can cause joint pain too

For full Thyroid evaluation you need TSH, FT4 and FT3 plus both TPO and TG thyroid antibodies tested. Also extremely important to test vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12

Low vitamin levels are extremely common, especially if Thyroid antibodies are raised

All thyroid blood tests should ideally be done as early as possible in morning and fasting. Do not take Levothyroxine dose in the 24 hours prior to test, delay and take immediately after blood draw. This gives highest TSH, lowest FT4 and most consistent results. (Patient to patient tip, best not mentioned to GP or phlebotomist)

Is this how you do your tests?

Private tests are available. Thousands on here forced to do this as NHS often refuses to test FT3 or antibodies or vitamins

thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin...

Medichecks Thyroid plus ultra vitamin or Blue Horizon Thyroid plus eleven are the most popular choice. DIY finger prick test or option to pay extra for private blood draw. Both companies often have special offers, Medichecks usually have offers on Thursdays, Blue Horizon its more random

If antibodies are high this is Hashimoto's, (also known by medics here in UK more commonly as autoimmune thyroid disease).

About 90% of all hypothyroidism in Uk is due to Hashimoto's.

Low vitamins are especially common with Hashimoto's. Food intolerances are very common too, especially gluten. So it's important to get TPO and TG thyroid antibodies tested at least once .

Link about thyroid blood tests

thyroiduk.org/tuk/testing/t...

Link about antibodies and Hashimoto's

thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

List of hypothyroid symptoms

thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

Low vitamin d could be responsible, especially if coupled with low Magnesium and low vitamin k2 (see link for Dr Myhill on Osteoporosis); even the B vitamins (see 2nd link) B2, B6, folate and B12.... it's quite a list.

drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Osteopo...

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

Most Western diets are rich in Calcium - it's just that Calcium is a very unsophisticated mineral that needs direction! The body tries to regulate the amount of Magnesium in the blood and if it's low, it will not take up Calcium as both minerals need to be in balance. Typically, we're all low in Magnesium, which is a problem, as Magnesium also turns vitamin d into its active form in the body.

Dr Myhill argues that dairy products actually speed up osteoporosis as the ratio of Calcium to Magnesium is 10:1 whereas our bodies require a 2:1 ratio (which is found in vegetables).

Her other point is that low stomach acid is a reason for people getting low nutrients. Low stomach acid is very common in Hypothyroidism - typically you'll get acid reflux at times, struggle to digest protein, slow digestion, bloating and the clinical sign will be low T3. Taking Betaine HCl with meals containing protein can help.

Unfortunately, the medical profession seem to have an upside down understanding of these problems ... They recommend a greater calcium intake and prescribe antacids!

There are many types of Magnesium which one do you refer to please.

SlowDragon
SlowDragonAdministrator
in reply to Bunnyjean

Getting vitamins, antibodies and thyroid levels including FT3 tested is next step before starting any supplements

Come back with new post once you have results and ranges

Ask GP to test or look at private testing

Though there's no point testing magnesium, as standard test is always within range, but many benefit from supplementing this, especially if vitamin D is low

Links about magnesium and vitamin K2 Mk7

betterbones.com/bone-nutrit...

articles.mercola.com/sites/...

healthy-holistic-living.com...

articles.mercola.com/sites/...

betterbones.com/bone-nutrit...

Do NOT supplement any vitamin K if you take any blood thinning medication

drsinatra.com/vitamin-k2-su...

Vitamin C and bones

healthimpactnews.com/2018/d...

HLAB35
HLAB35
in reply to Bunnyjean

I agree with SlowDragon to get a blood test snapshot of where you are. If you supplement vitamin d you should take proportionally more Magnesium (according to Dr Carolyn Dean who wrote the Magnesium Miracle) and vitamin K2. However, for Magnesium, the NHS don't offer the Gold Standard test which is the RBC test. Serum levels of Magnesium can be normal for the majority of people as the body prioritises keeping it in circulation even when cellular levels in non-essential areas can be very low. My lower back always plays up if I am using up Magnesium faster in hot weather, exercise or taking vitamin d (often just through sun exposure) and I find by taking extra in the summer I get the right amount of this mineral as a faster metabolism generally needs more... so never start on large amounts for hypothyroidism, build up slowly...

Personally, I liked soluble Citrate Powder, or any of the trans dermal Magnesium (such as Better You range) - if you can tolerate the initial stinging, and you can't really go wrong with Epsom Salt baths. Magnesium Malate is good for those with low energy and muscle fatigue as in Fibromyalgia. I've not tried Glycinate, but it does come well recommended. Avoid Oxide - it's really only useful as a laxative!

I would love to know the connection as, in 2005, I got awful hip pain for a while but was also getting other symptoms of being under medicated. Fortunately, after a few months of suffering I found a private endocrinologist who saved my life and sanity. I have never had it since my dose was increased.

Karen

Hidden
Hidden
in reply to klr31

I had thyroidectomy 2 yrs ago and have had pain ever since so much that I have spent alot of time bed ridden and no matter how much I complained to Endo and any other Doctor I've seen they all tell me it has nothing to do with being under medicated since my labs are "perfect" I take Vit D, Vit K and Magnesium and still the pains plague me and several months ago I was diagnoised with Psoriatic Arthritis which the Rheumotologist believes could have resulted from thyroidectomy and medication issues....it remains a mystery and torchures me everyday. Hope you find and answer

klr31
klr31
in reply to Hidden

You need to get your blood test results to check yourself. You might be under medicated.

Karen

Hidden
Hidden
in reply to klr31

I just had a massive blood test done on Friday waiting on the results and will certainly post them I had tsh,ft3,ft4,t3,t4 no antibodies and entire iron panel and vitamins. I have a known autoimmune disease and take immunosuppressive drugs but for some reason Antibodies dont matter in my case.

I always believed that I was under medicated little I can do when blood test are more important then all my issues and my complaints are usually met with your unhappy go see a psychologist and work through it because you labs are perfect.

klr31
klr31
in reply to Hidden

So many people are in a similar predicament. Somehow it's making your GP see that, despite your results being 'perfect', your life has been decimated and you need help.

Karen

Health4now
Health4now
in reply to klr31

You don't say what your what your endo prescribed. Was it an adjustment with your meds x

klr31
klr31
in reply to Health4now

He gave me T3 and increased my thyroxine. I'm no longer on T3 but do feel that it saved my life at the time. I'd been kept on 50mcg for 4 years because my results were 'within range'.

Karen

I agree with most of the comments about Vitamin D and K2 and the need to balance calcium and magnesium.

A good way to increase your magnesium intake is to take a bath and add Epsom Salts to the bath water. It is also good for your skin too, it can clear up minor blemishes and spots.

I'm glad you raised this as i often have back pain on waking but it goes after I've walked about a bit. I've not had as bad back as often since I've been on a higher dose that is appropriate for me.

This thread is really interesting.

I have bad hip pain that I don’t have initially (but had sooo many other symptoms) but as I’ve increased my levo it seems the hip/joint pain has increased too. I put it down to the Vit D so stopped it for a while but it hasn’t helped.

I’m intrigued by the idea that high ft4 might cause it as this fits with my experience.

This fits in with my experience too. See reply below x

I'm suffering hip and back pain at the moment. Have been taking both T4 and T3. Osteopath treatment really didn't help much. I stopped taking my T4 as I suspected this might be the cause of my pain and after about a week, the pain subsided. However, it has gradually come back. I have been off it for about 4 weeks now. I am thinking that maybe my T4 dose was slightly too high. I believe it takes 7 days or more to clear the system, so I am thinking of starting to take it again but at half the original dose. Anyone else had similar?

Rudy1
Rudy1
in reply to Health4now

Be careful when you stop taking your T4 medication. I did that and while my pain subsided, my hair started to fall out. My joint pain has increased since winter so I am trying to raise my vitamin d levels. I would definitely start taking half your dosage so your hair doesn't fall out and you keep your levels somewhat in line. Good luck. It is so frustrating.

Health4now
Health4now
in reply to Rudy1

Thanks. So far hair OK but have noticed my nails have been breaking and not so strong. I have been taking Biotin for a few years now and definitely notice a difference if I don't keep it up. My Vit D levels are good, in fact above normal, have been supplementing for about 8 years after breaking my wrist and finding out I was low. I am now bordering on osteoporosis so take other supplements as well. It's so hard to get these things right x

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