January 17

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The Best Way to Reduce Hashimoto’s Muscle Pain

Learn why you're having muscle pains, spams, and leg cramps. And learn how you can stop them from happening.

By Sunny Brigham, MS, CNS, LDN

January 17, 2022

minutes read time

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Muscle pain with Hashimoto’s is very real. It’s not the most common symptom. But it is very real. I’ve had several clients tell me they mentioned it to their doctor but got no direction on what to do. 

But know that it’s real. The muscle pain, cramps, spasms, or body aches are not in your head!

These pains can stop you from doing the things you want to do. To be active. Or even just to sleep!

After reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of what you can do to help take the edge off your muscle pain, muscle spasms, or muscle cramps so you can get better sleep and be more active with less pain. 

Cause of Hashimoto’s Muscle Pain

As I mentioned, the pain you feel is real. It’s called muscle myopathy. And results in muscle spasms, cramps, or pain. It can also lead to muscle weakness as well. 

Researchers aren’t 100% sure why this happens. But they do believe it has something to do with a poorly balanced thyroid. It can happen with subclinical hypothyroid as well. This means your thyroid appears to be functioning based on your T4 levels. But your TSH is off. 

The primary treatment from a physician’s perspective is to balance the thyroid. The problem is, often that does little to repair the pain or prevent the spasms and cramps. Especially those with Hashimoto’s. 

The pain prevents people with this condition from moving, working out, or being physically active. And, for those that are physically active, pushing themselves too much can result in weeks of muscle pain.

When this happens, it’s further justification for them to not be physically active. 

Let’s dive into a lesser-known cause of Hashimoto’s muscle pain. Nutrients. 

Lack of nutrients

Nutrients are important for so many reasons. We need balanced nutrients to…

  • Support basic body functions like breathing and digestion
  • Create more energy to complete daily activities
  • Help balance our moods so we’re not so up and down at times

And so many other things! But, when eating, nutrients aren’t the things most people focus on. They tend to focus on calories or is this food good or bad or a variety of other things. Other things that aren’t nutrients. 

Rarely does someone sit down and consider whether a meal contains enough tyrosine to help with T4 to T3 conversion in the liver. But you should!

If researchers are correct that low T4 to T3 conversion is the cause, then you want to focus on those nutrients that are most important to support this process. Medications can help, but nutrients are always important. 

Another note to consider is that low stomach acid, usually a common issue with Hashimoto’s, impacts mineral absorption. Specifically minerals like calcium and magnesium. Both of these minerals are very important to muscle contraction and relaxation. 

So, another potential cause is a lack of nutrients. And one way to correct this is to eat more thyroid-supportive foods! Keep reading to find out what those foods are.

Food sensitivities

I’ve written so much information on how food creates or makes inflammation so much worse. When you have inflammation in your body, your body’s inflammatory response goes to all sites of inflammation. And, in this case, the inflammation would be muscle pain. 

It does this as a way to protect your body. It creates pain for you to protect sites of injury. You may not have an active injury but feel pain anyway. And this comes from increased intestinal permeability aka leaky gut

Leaky gut comes from stress in the body. And a huge source of stress in the body comes from consuming foods your body doesn’t like. There are common foods that can create leaky gut for those with Hashimoto’s but everyone will have some weird ones. 

Something to do here, while you work on increasing your nutrient intake, is to remove your food triggers. And you can do this by creating a food/mood log to track how your body responds to foods you’re eating. 

Movement

And for the final thing you can do to help reduce these Hashimoto’s body aches…work out! I know…it seems counterintuitive because you’re in pain! Why would you want to work out if you’re in pain? 

Because strength training can help build healthy muscles. One of the other issues with muscle myopathy is muscle wasting. And the loss of muscle mass can create more muscle pain. 

So, by working out, you can help reduce some of the muscle pain by increasing your muscle mass. But, don’t overdo it! If you haven’t worked out in a while, you want to start very slow. And very light. This is hard for many people because they really like to go hard or go home. And this isn’t an area you want to do that in if you’re having muscle pain. 

Think about where you’re at right now. If you haven’t lifted any weights in over 6-months, start with bodyweight-only exercises for 5 minutes a day, two times a week. Your muscles are going to hurt. But they’ll recover. 

Stay at that level until those exercises aren’t causing you pain. And then increase from there. Slow and steady wins the race!

Some important questions to ask yourself…

  • Are you moving enough to help reduce the pain?
  • Are you eating foods that are creating inflammation?
  • Are you getting the nutrients you need to balance thyroid hormones?

When you’re moving enough, reducing inflammatory foods, and balancing nutrients, you’ll be well on your way!

As I mentioned in the blog, one of the best ways to reduce muscle pain is to balance your nutrients. Are you getting all the nutrients your thyroid needs to make more thyroid hormones? If not, or if you’re not sure, grab my nutrient checklist. It gives you the 11 nutrients you need for healthy thyroid function. And, I tell you where to get all these nutrients. 

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