Fibromyalgia And Thyroid Problems
Taryn was a 27-year-old photographer who came to see me for help with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is not that common in such young girls, but Taryn had a long history of immune system problems, and fibromyalgia is common in people like that.
Fibromyalgia can be a complex illness caused by a combination of immune and hormonal factors. Taryn experienced significant pain in her neck, shoulders and arms, which sometimes made her photographic job difficult.
She had a history of thyroid disease; she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease when she was 22. Graves’ disease is fairly common in young women and we are seeing it in our clinics at an increasing frequency. The Graves’ disease was treated by Taryn’s doctor in the conventional way – she was given the drug carbimazol to block thyroid hormone production, and a beta-blocker to slow down her rapid heart rate.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease and neither of these medications addresses the underlying immune dysfunction that sparked the disease. Nonetheless, Taryn was lucky and the Graves’ disease did resolve itself. She was experiencing significant relationship stress at the time of the diagnosis and she believed that emotional trauma triggered the Graves’ disease.
This was probably true. However, not treating the underlying autoimmune condition meant Taryn was prone to developing new immune system problems. I believe this is why she developed fibromyalgia.
Taryn lived in a cold climate and her fibromyalgia was always much worse in cold weather. She felt excessively cold while others around her were comfortable, and she always had cold hands and feet. Taryn suffered from quite significant anxiety, and she was a restless sleeper who tossed and turned and she would grind her teeth at night. Her dentist recommended a nightguard to protect her teeth while she slept, but it was quite expensive and she wanted to know if there are any natural remedies that can help her feel more relaxed.
Taryn didn’t have a fantastic diet. Her job involved odd hours and quite a lot of travel. This meant she often relied on convenient snack type foods for meals. She had toast with peanut butter for breakfast and would often just bring cheese and crackers for lunch and have them with an apple. Dinner was healthy most nights and consisted of some kind of protein and vegetables. Taryn didn’t eat enough vegetables. She did eat quite a lot of gluten and dairy products, and I explained to her how these foods can significantly raise inflammation in her body. This meant she was more likely to suffer from pain. Gluten is also a big trigger of autoimmune thyroid disease in genetically susceptible people.
Taryn has been seeing me for 3 months and she has made some remarkable progress. The fibromyalgia pain has reduced by 80 percent and she has much more energy. The stress and anxiety Taryn experiences is much better but still a problem. She has decided to join a yoga class near her home two nights a week and I believe that will greatly help.