There are various testing methods for poor thyroid function, but the testing is problematic. Most physicians use outdated reference ranges when testing thyroid function. Also, studies have demonstrated that standard thyroid tests do not correlate well with tissue thyroid levels, which causes inaccurate diagnoses.
Most physicians and endocrinologists believe TSH is the best indicator of the thyroid function of an individual. However, someone can suffer from a significantly slow thyroid despite having a normal TSH, free T3, and free T4.
Some will test for T3. People can also have low T3 and show normal T4 and normal TSH. Many practitioners do not realize that this indicates a selenium or zinc deficiency, rather than a problem with the thyroid.
There are other problems with standard testing as well, and many thyroid specialists will tell you that more than 80% of patients with low thyroid function do not show thyroid problems with standard testing.
Naturopaths and many of the more progressive physicians and endocrinologists are using a combination of lab tests and looking at symptoms, while many holistic practitioners recognize the testing is flawed, therefore, they look at the symptoms and the function of the body as a whole.
Some of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism include a dry, flaky scalp and pain, tightness, or a feeling of joints being “out of place” (in need of a chiropractic adjustment) in the trapezoid muscles including and especially in the back of the neck and shoulders, elbows, and wrists (carpal tunnel). When any of these symptoms is going on, the thyroid is struggling.
The thyroid becomes swollen and inflamed, as any part of the body should be when it’s hurting, and puts constant pressure on the vertebras in the neck and shoulder area. This causes issues including misalignment that can be temporarily relieved by chiropractic, but the thyroid has to be healed in order for the pain to stop reoccurring. Carpal tunnel also a common symptom. This syndrome is often primarily caused or solely caused by thyroid problems. And last but not least, flat feet are also a sign of hypothyroidism. I know, weird, right? But the body is all connected in so many fascinating ways.
Here’s a comprehensive list of symptoms indicative of hypothyroidism:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Angina pectoris
- Conditions related to the cardiovascular system
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Carotenodermia (slight orange tinge to the skin, usually on the palms of the hands and soles of feet)
- Cold extremities, intolerance to the cold
- Coarse, dry, or thinning hair
- Decreased libido
- Dry, rough, and/or itchy skin
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fallen arches
- Fibrocystic breast changes
- Fibromyalgia symptoms
- Itchy and/or flaky scalp
- Memory loss
- Mood swings, irritability
- Muscle aches
- Menstrual irregularities (amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, menorrhagia)
- Neck pain, stiffness, aches (especially in the back of the neck)
- Knee pain (due to fallen arches)
- Pallor (an unhealthy pale appearance)
- Pain in the trapezoid and/or neck area
- Poor mental concentration
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Postpartum depression
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Reactive hypoglycemia
- Recurrent infections
- Sluggishness, tiredness
- Shoulder pain
- Vasomotor rhinitis
- Weight gain
While weight gain, an inability to lose weight, and increased appetite can be signs of hypothyroidism, in severe cases one can actually lose their appetite and consequently lose weight. This is just a step before myxedema, when one loses brain function as a result of severe, longstanding low level of thyroid functionality.