Signs of Thyroid Problems
The small, butterfly-shaped gland that is located in the neck, known as the thyroid, is responsible for regulating the metabolism, and it can have a big effect on mood, energy, weight, and more. There are many medical and surgical options used to treat thyroid problems, but alternative care may also hold safer, more natural answers.
There are many signs that a person has thyroid problems. Some patients might have a feeling of discomfort in the neck, which could also include swelling or a hoarse voice. A “goiter” or “enlarged thyroid gland” may also appear very visibly. Others will present with hair and skin changes, including brittle hair and loss of hair, or coarse and scaly skin. Another issue could be the occurrence of pain in the muscles and joints, including carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and tendonitis.
Some people may have bowel problems, such as IBS or constipation, depending on their particular glandular condition. Women might have fertility or menstrual problems. Some patients may have depression, or even anxiety. Family history is said to play a role (often called “goiter” or “gland trouble”). For many patients, fatigue is a sign of glandular issues, including exhaustion or insomnia. Weight changes, which could be present in either gain or loss, can also be a sign of trouble with the gland’s functioning.1
Overactivity in the thyroid leads to a condition called hyperthyroidism. Those with this condition may sweat often, feel shaky, have a faster heartbeat, lose a lot of weight, have more bowel movements, experience hair loss, or feel nervous. Some, however, may have no symptoms at all. Without treatment, though, a “thyroid storm” can occur, along with bone and heart problems. The typical cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ Disease. Doctors diagnose this condition with blood tests.
Doctors can prescribe various medications, such as radioactive iodine (to destroy part of the dysfunctional gland), or antithyroid medications. The latter is for those with mild symptoms, and those medications do cause damage to the thyroid. If they do not work, the radioactive iodine may still be prescribed. Some patients will end up taking medications for the rest of their lives to maintain a stable physical condition if their treatment turns their hyperthyroidism (too much hormone) into hypothyroidism (too little hormone).2
In hypothyroidism, the gland is under-active. Sufferers of this condition may feel tired, have high cholesterol, feel depressed, have brittle nails or dry skin, experience trouble with cold, be constipated, and have heavy/irregular menstruation. This condition, in the U.S., is typically caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the thyroid.3 Worldwide, hypothyroidism is from iodine deficiency, and sometimes from lithium antidepressants4, thyroid removal surgery, and cancer radiation. The standard medical treatment is hormone pills, which may need to be taken indefinitely. Left to worsen when untreated for too long, patients who suffer from hypothyroidism may enter a “myxedema coma”.5
Alternative Treatment Support
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are two problems that are typically treated primarily with the help of medication and surgery. It is critical for patients, however, to work towards healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent and relieve future complications in the thyroid. Medications and surgeries, in this case, are just a base step towards consistent maintenance and healthy choices.
Chiropractic Care for Thyroid Problems
Chiropractic care can help with the patient’s efforts to maintain their overall mind and body health, assisting the patients not only managing their thyroid issues but also in other ailments and disorders that could also be affecting the patient’s quality of life. Nervous system imbalances can increase the stress on those with thyroid conditions. Chiropractors can assist with prevention of this and a variety of other conditions that could worsen the patient’s thyroid problems.6 A chiropractor will also include nutritional counseling and recommended exercises as part of treatment. Lifestyle choices can help a patient improve their overall health. Dr. Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MNeuroSci, author of Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal?, noted that a nutrition-based approach that has been well planned and committed to by the patient and their chiropractor or primary care physician can help people with such conditions.
It is sometimes found that a chiropractor may be one of the first professionals to realize that the patient has these problems. Eating healthy and engaging in regular exercise, such as daily walks and smarter meal choices, are lifestyle changes that almost anyone could have the option to follow, and they do make a difference in combating improper functioning in the thyroid and other controllable ailments. Although medication may still be needed in some cases, when the pros in overall health outweigh the cons of possible side effects, “The answer is simple — to provide guidance in a healthy lifestyle, sound nutrition, and a good diet”.7