Have you ever thought of going to see a chiropractor, but then thought, what can a chiropractor do for me? Experiencing any kind of disorder that affects your mental or physical health, may compel you to seek out alternative forms of therapy and healing such as chiropractic care. You may feel hesitant to seek out alternative treatment for thyroid disease with a chiropractor. It may not seem like the obvious approach as Chiropractors cannot legally prescribe medication, which is the more likely treatment for both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
However, oftentimes one ailment can lead to another, which can lead to another and so on. The structures in our bodies feed off of one another and react to stimuli being thrown at it, just like Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids playing tennis with her arch nemesis, Helen. As the game gets heated and more competitive, violent play ensues as the two women proceed to pelt each other with tennis balls. Their physical demeanour becomes much less subtle in slow-mo, showing even the slightest or considerable changes in fascial expressions, nerves in a frenzy from pain and lots and lots of profanity. A chiropractor probably won’t be able to help with the profanity or the tennis ball, but because they understand the anatomy and physiology of the body they have a better realization that a nervous system imbalance can cause a lot of different health conditions.
Let’s talk about some unique ways a Chiropractor can help that you may not have heard of…
According to an article written by Dr. Eric of naturalendocrinesolutions.com, if someone has a nervous system that is out of balance, since the nervous system controls the immune system, then this person very well might have an immune system that is out of balance as well. As a result of this weakened immune system, the person will be more likely to develop a chronic infection, which in turn can trigger an autoimmune response. Or perhaps the nervous system imbalance is making the person more susceptible to the effects of stress, which in turn caused stomach problems, which in turn caused an autoimmune thyroid condition.
I’m not suggesting that receiving chiropractic care is necessary in order to restore the health of someone with a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition. On the other hand, chiropractic is about balancing the nervous system. And the nervous system innervates every cell and tissue in the body. So, if there happens to be “interference” with the nerves which innervate the thyroid gland, then this possibly can result in malfunctioning of the thyroid gland. Although this probably isn’t a common cause of thyroid malfunction, it’s something to be aware of. This is especially true for someone who is eating extremely well, has taken many different types of good quality supplements, does a good job of managing their stress, yet still has problems with their thyroid health.
In order to treat any ailments, it is beneficial to first understand what you’re dealing with.
What is the thyroid and what does it do?
According to The Office on Women’s Health, your thyroid produces thyroid hormone, which controls many activities in your body, including how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats. Diseases of the thyroid cause it to make either too much or too little of the hormone. Depending on how much or how little hormone your thyroid makes, you may often feel restless or tired, or you may lose or gain weight. Women are more likely than men to have thyroid diseases, especially right after pregnancy and after menopause. The thyroid is definitely not a tennis ball as we talked about earlier. It looks more like a small butterfly-shaped gland found at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. This gland makes thyroid hormone that travels in your blood to all parts of your body. The thyroid hormone controls your body’s metabolism in many ways, including how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats.
Women are more likely than men to have thyroid disease.
One in eight women will develop thyroid problems during her lifetime. In women, thyroid diseases can cause the following:
- Problems with your menstrual period. Your thyroid helps control your menstrual cycle. Too much or too little thyroid hormone can make your periods very light, heavy, or irregular. Thyroid disease also can cause your periods to stop for several months or longer, a condition called amenorrhea. If your body’s immune system causes thyroid disease, other glands, including your ovaries, may be involved. This can lead to early menopause (before age 40).
- Problems getting pregnant. When thyroid disease affects the menstrual cycle, it also affects ovulation. This can make it harder for you to get pregnant.
- Problems during pregnancy. Thyroid problems during pregnancy can cause health problems for the mother and the baby.
Sometimes, symptoms of thyroid problems are mistaken for menopause symptoms. Thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, is more likely to develop after menopause
Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism
- Feeling cold when other people do not
- Muscle Weakness
- Weight gain, even though you are not eating more food
- Joint or muscle pain
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Feeling very tired
- Pale, dry skin
- Dry, thinning hair
- Slow heart rate
- Less sweating than usual
- A puffy face
- A hoarse voice
- More than usual menstrual bleeding
You may also have high “LDL (Low-density lipoprotein)” or “bad” cholesterol, which can raise your risk for heart disease. All chiropractors recognize that the proper management and treatment for serious conditions require referral to a medical doctor. If you’re suffering from symptoms derived from hypothyroidism, you are more than likely suffering from a long list of musculoskeletal complaints, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, autoimmune joint diseases (arthritis or joint degeneration), poor recovery from muscle injury, inflammation, headaches, back pain caused by obesity, and other issues that lead them to seek the care of a chiropractor.
Since many patients don’t realize these symptoms are caused by hypothyroidism, it is not uncommon for a chiropractor to run lab work and identify the underlying problem. Many of these patients have been to one or more primary care physicians who failed to diagnose their hypothyroidism.
Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism
- Weight loss, even if you eat same or more food (most but not all people lose weight)
- Eating more than usual
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat or pounding of your heart
- Feeling nervous or anxious
- Feeling irritable
- Trouble sleeping
- Trembling in your hands and fingers
- Increased sweating
- Feeling hot when other people do not
- Muscle weakness
- Diarrhea or more bowel movements than normal
- Fewer and lighter menstrual periods than normal
- Changes in your eyes that can include bulging of the eyes, redness, or irritation
Hyperthyroidism raises your risk for osteoporosis, a condition that causes weak bones that break easily. In fact, hyperthyroidism might affect your bones before you have any of the other symptoms of the condition. This is especially true of women who have gone through menopause or who are already at risk of osteoporosis.
Once you have an appropriate diagnosis, your doctor’s choice of treatment will depend on your symptoms and the cause of your hyperthyroidism. Treatments include:
- Anti-thyroid medicines block your thyroid from making new thyroid hormone. These drugs do not cause lasting damage to the thyroid.
- Beta-blockers block the effects of thyroid hormone on your body. These medicines can be helpful in slowing your heart rate and treating other symptoms until one of the other forms of treatment can take effect. Beta-blockers do not reduce the number of thyroid hormones that are made.
- Radioiodine. This treatment kills the thyroid cells that make thyroid hormones. Often, this causes permanent hypothyroidism.
- Surgery. Thyroid surgery removes most or all of the thyroid. This may cause permanent hypothyroidism.
It has become evident that the goal when treating thyroid conditions is not to cure or treat the condition itself, but to assist in subduing the condition through dietary, nutrition and lifestyle adjustments. Because a licensed doctor of chiropractic is not trained in just spinal manipulation, they have more than one potential role to play when it comes to treating someone with thyroid conditions. Doctors of chiropractic are trained in proper differential diagnose, which is the process of how a presenting problem is examined in terms of underlying causes and related health issues. More importantly, patients who suffer from thyroid conditions and autoimmunity in general have related issues, such as gluten sensitivity, vitamin D imbalances, blood sugar instability, intestinal permeability, and so on.
These other issues are not diseases but instead are alterations in physiology that can profoundly impact patients’ health and quality of life. Consultation with practitioners trained to provide dietary, nutritional, and lifestyle guidance, such as doctors of chiropractic, can result in significant and meaningful health improvements. Chiropractic education is primarily focused on basic anatomy, physiology, histology, pathology, physical examination, radiology, and laboratory diagnosis. conditions such as hypothyroidism through the use of patient history, a physical examination, laboratory tests, imaging studies, electro-diagnostic studies, and more.