Relationship Between Hypothyroidism and Joint Pain

Hypothyroidism and joint pain may go hand in hand. It means that if you are suffering from joint pain because of your rheumatoid arthritis, then there is a chance that you can also be suffering from hypothyroidism.

Experiencing joint pain is excruciating. The deformity in your hands and feet looks unappealing. The everyday activities that should be easy for other people, like brushing your teeth, exercising, driving, cooking, and the like feel like challenges for you.

You might be wondering how hypothyroidism and joint pain can be related. After all, the joints are located in the different parts of your body, right? So how does thyroid affect your joints and cause you excruciating pain?

To understand the connection, you should know the purpose of the thyroid glands first.

Function of the Thyroid Glands

The thyroid glands are at the front side of the neck. They are two lobes lying along the trachea. The isthmus, the thyroid’s band of tissue, is the one that binds these two lobes together.

The main function of these glands is to convert iodine (that comes from the food we eat) to thyroid hormones. The thyroid cells absorb iodine and mix it with tyrosine, a kind of amino acid. This combination would create the thyroid hormones called triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).

These thyroid hormones travel along the bloodstream to reach the different parts of the body and to take charge of your body’s metabolism.

Now that you know that your thyroid hormones can reach the different parts of your body, now you should know what hypothyroidism is.

What is Hypothyroidism?

The prefix hypo means below. The suffix –ism, when used as a medical term, refers to a condition. Combining them to form the word hypothyroidism implies that it is a medical condition that pertains to the underproduction of hormones from the thyroid gland, which may cause slow metabolism.

Research has shown that it may cause serious complications like a heart disease if left untreated. 

Causes of Hypothyroidism

There are three factors that can cause hypothyroidism.

First, it may be due to the inflammation of the thyroid gland that may have started in the past or continuing at present. This inflammation can cause death to a large number of thyroid cells which are crucial for the production of the thyroid hormones.

Second, it may also be due to autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease. It is the common cause of hypothyroidism in America.

Autoimmune disease refers to a certain condition in which the body’s immune system is attacking the body itself. It senses a foreign invader that is not there.

Third, certain treatments that demand the removal of the thyroid gland or kill lots of thyroid cell may cause hypothyroidism. These treatments include the surgery to remove the thyroid cancer or the application of the radioactive iodine therapy to get rid of benign tumors.

Lastly, it may due to uncommon problems or disorders. One example is if the problem lies at the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is the one that is taking charge of the regulation of the thyroid gland.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Symptoms may vary from one person to another. The intensity of each symptom depends on how severe the thyroid deficiency is and how long the body has been exposed to this deficiency.

You may suffer from one or more of these symptoms and may not experience the others. In some cases, people do not feel any symptom at all. 

  • Depression
  • Dry Skin
  • Irritability
  • Memory Loss
  • Hair Loss
  • Irregular Menstruation
  • Weakness
  • Constipation Low Libido
  • Difficulty to Adapt in Cold Temperatures
  • Dry Hair
  • Difficulty in Losing Weight

These symptoms are less common:

  • Muscle Cramps or Aches
  • Fatigue
  • Weight Gain
  • Joint Pain
  • Swelling of the Limbs

Direct Connection of Joint Pain and Hypothyroidism

You might be wondering how hypothyroidism and joint pain can go hand in hand. This symptom due to the underactive thyroid gland, which may also include the muscle pain, is called hypothyroid myopathy.

Sometimes this joint pain is due to rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that if hypothyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis are present in one person at the same time, most commonly, this person is suffering from an autoimmune condition (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, grave’s disease, and the like).  In cases like these, people can feel the pain mostly in their limbs. 

Honestly, there is no clear link between hypothyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis. However, according to the National institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, people with rheumatoid arthritis are more prone to Hashimoto’s disease. As you may recall, Hashimoto’s disease is a common cause of hypothyroidism in America.

Therefore, people with rheumatoid arthritis are the ones who are prone to thyroid problems. Those who are suffering from hypothyroidism may not experience rheumatoid arthritis, but those who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may have already been suffering from it or at risk to it.

For this reason, you should take hypothyroidism and joint pain seriously. Ask for advise from your doctor and get your condition treated immediately.


I created this blog to share my experiences and knowledge. I hope it provides insight and relief to those suffering from similar Thyroid conditions.

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