The 50 to 70 trillion cells that make up our bodies use thyroid to power their internal energy factories called mitochondria. Having enough thyroid in the cells is like having enough fuel in the gas tank. When the tank runs low, the body slows down, waste products accumulate, circulation decreases, and pain starts to show up. Pain is the body’s warning signal that the fuel tank is low – there is not enough energy for the muscles to function properly. Next thing you know, you are tired, you become intolerant to cold, the skin gets dry and puffy, you gain weight, and you may have constipation; all hallmarks of hypothyroidism.
In the early decades of the 20th century, the standard treatment of arthritis was natural desiccated thyroid hormone. Patients found their pain diminished, and for that matter, so did many of the other classic symptoms of hypothyroidism. But the use of it fell out of fashion when steroids were first utilized in the 1950s. Unfortunately, there is scant formal medical training today regarding the link between chronic pain and hormone deficiencies.
The hormone imbalances of menopause – low estrogen, progesterone, testosterone – often result in headaches and pain. Pain specialists and orthopedists almost always attribute chronic pain to arthritis, pinched nerves, tendonitis, nebulous pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, and mental disorders. Even the American Academy of Pain Medicine fails to make the connection between pain and hormone deficiencies.
Today, doctors are taught only to use a form of synthetic thyroid called T4 (Synthroid, levothyroxine, Levoxyl). A 2001 Belgian study by Dr. Jacques Hertoghe, published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, switched patients from T4 to desiccated thyroid. After two years, joint and muscle pain decreased from 77% to 28%, headaches from 55% to 15%, and muscle cramps from 56% to 8%.
Getting an accurate thyroid test can be challenging. Standard blood tests are missing a large percentage of those suffering hypothyroidism. Most routine blood tests will tell you your thyroid is fine; blood tests measure the amount of hormone circulating in your bloodstream. But what is important is whether the cells are able to take it in and process it. The only way to accurately measure how much thyroid is being utilized by the cells is to take a basal temperature. To do that, put a non-digital thermometer under your arm for 10 minutes upon awakening. Women need to test during menses. Keep track of this for 3 days. If your under-arm temp is below 97.8 degrees F, that strongly suggests hypothyroidism because there is not enough cellular energy being produced to keep your temperature normal.
Most chronic pain is caused from muscles and soft tissue. I use the protocols developed by Hans Kraus, MD, renowned author and physician, for treating each of the four different types of muscle pain: trigger points, spasm, tension, and muscle deficiency (weak or stiff muscles). Trigger points are tender knots within muscles. Theses tender points may refer pain to joints, extremities, or cause headaches and dizziness. Spasm often occurs when a muscle is injured or there is an underlying problem with metabolism such as hormone or nutritional deficiencies. Tension causes chronic contraction and shortening of muscles. This often results from improper ergonomics with computers and phones. Pain results. Muscle deficiencies such as tight hamstrings or weak stomach muscles often result in back pain. Most patients with chronic pain have a combination of these four types of muscle pain.
Patients who require treatment for pain often require trigger point injections and follow-up physical therapy. If an entire muscle requires treatment, a local anesthetic is injected to diminish pain both during and after the procedure. After the local anesthetic, several injections into the affected muscle are performed. Patients are usually given medication to decrease pain. We require patients to obtain a ride to and from their appointment. Therapy includes electric stimulation and specific exercises for three days after the injections. Two muscles per week are treated. Several weeks of treatment may be required.
Chronic pain is also sign of low voltage in the body. Low voltage often means the body has an acid pH. The brain senses the pH imbalance as pain. We use a biomodulator designed by Dr. Jerry Tennant to help raise voltage and alleviate pain and discomfort. The biomodulator is one of the most important recent advancements in the treatment of pain.
We focus on the underlying metabolic issues as well as soft tissue pain. Determining the root cause of the pain, then combining the proper treatment, offers significant relief.