Joint pain is one of the many symptoms of hypothyroidism, and because my wife has lived with this disease since her early teenage years, she has had plenty of time to try different techniques to relieve joint pain. Some methods have worked better than others, but she is constantly in search of new ways to relieve the aches associated with hypothyroidism and osteoporosis.
For the most part, my wife’s joint pain is concentrated in the wrists, ankles and knees, though she sometimes experiences aches in her fingers, toes and elbows. She also has some discomfort in her neck and shoulders, but she isn’t convinced that these pains are related to hypothyroidism. Whatever the case, your pain may be concentrated in certain areas or universal, depending on your individual body chemistry.
Endocrinologist Dr. Todd Nippoldt of MayoClinic.com says that the joint pain from hypothyroidism is often difficult to distinguish from that of rheumatoid arthritis, which should give you an idea of how badly this condition can interrupt an individual’s life. He goes on to say that proper treatment of the condition itself can relieve many of these symptoms, but that joint pain may continue in some patients. For that reason, you’ll need to seek other methods of relief.
Just like with osteoporosis and other joint-, bone- and muscle-related conditions, weight-bearing exercises can help to relieve joint pain for hypothyroidism sufferers. My wife keeps a set of 20-pound weights in our bedroom, and she does several repetitions both after she wakes up and before she goes to bed. She also has a reclining exercise bike that she uses once per day to relieve swelling in her ankles and knees.
For patients with severe joint pain from hypothyroidism, you might want to talk to your doctor about Cortisone injections in the areas where you experience the most discomfort. In many cases, this can help to relieve swelling and tenderness, and may help you to resume a normal life style after several weeks. Unfortunately, however, Cortisone shots may be required on a regular basis.
Although painkillers only serve to mask joint pain caused by hypothyroidism, and don’t actually fix the underlying problem, they can help to relieve your symptoms. Taking two Tylenol or Ibuprofen twice a day can make your daily activities more manageable. Couple this with the other tips indicated here, and you might experience a significant improvement. My wife only takes painkillers when the aches are at their worst, however, to avoid diminishing their effect.
Range of Motion
It is also a good idea to help relieve joint pain by increasing your range of motion in joints. Hypothyroidism can make you feel stiff and completely inflexible, so try stretches and exercise to improve your range of motion. Turning your hands and feet in gentle circles, for example, can help loosen joints and decrease stiffness almost immediately.