Discussions that mention synthroid

Thyroid Disorders board

Hi everyone, I'm new here. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in December 2007 after years of struggling with symptoms despite having a normal thyroid test. I have had joint pain from tendinitis in my wrists, elbows, and knees since around December of 2004. I've been on synthroid since December, and while I feel a million times better in some ways (hair stopped falling out, weight stopped going up, I stopped being cold all the time, etc.), my tendinitis has been slow to heal.

Treatments I had for my wrists before starting on synthroid were completely ineffective (everything from injections to surgery), but I recently had three months of physical and occupational therapy and I am finally on the road to recovery. I still have quite a bit of pain, and I am wondering if anyone has advice about recovery from tendinitis that is specific to someone with hypothyroidism? Are some physical therapy exercises better than others? How long should it take for me to get better?

I know that my hypothyroidism makes my tendons slower to heal, but I would have thought that by now my thyroid levels would be okay and it wouldn't interfere anymore. My labs right now are better than they were originally -- I started out with TSH 8.0 and T4 1.0, now it is TSH 0.29, T4 1.11 and I think my doctor is waiting for it to stabilize into the normal range instead of changing my dosage. I guess I am just looking for advice from someone else who's had the same problems. It has been a huge multi-year struggle for me to get this diagnosis and I was so glad to find out that my tendons were finally starting to improve, but I am frustrated that the improvement has been so slow.
I was diagnosed hypo nearly six years ago and probably was hypo for quite some time prior to that just not diagnose yet. However, my lingering symptom (though improved over the years) is tendonitis/sore joints/aching muscles, mostly my shoulders and upper arms. After years of trial and error with thyroid meds, I optimized on a combination of Armour and Synthroid and am doing pretty well.

For me exercise is essential to keeping the joints and muscles in a comfortable range. I have done yoga for about 15 years and the gentle stretches help my shoulders tremendously. Some days I am able to do a good yoga workout, others I am fortunate just to rotate my shoulder joints. However, it seems essential that I do some form of streching exercise daily; if I do nothing at all, I seem to really stiffen up. If my pain was just in the joints I would be more suspicious of arthritis, but for me the pain is more in the tendons and upper arm muscles. I did find improvement when I optimized on my thyroid medication combination, rather than taking either med. by itself.

I am also an avid gardener, which also gives me some good shoulder/arm exercise. Recently I started some Tai Chi movements since they are so gentle. I got several books on Tai Chi at the library and have tried it at home. They seemed to also help and I'm thinking about taking a Tai Chi class this fall.

Good luck with your tendonitis, keep up the exercises you have learned in therapy. Hope to see you around the board with good news about your health!
Shmily - Those numbers were for free T4, sorry. I don't think I've ever had T3 tested -- at least if I did, they didn't tell me what the numbers were. Here are the tests I've had:

8/2006: TSH 2.44 (0.4-5.5) (didn't test FT4), doc told me I was fine
12/2007: TSH 8.03 (0.4-4.5), FT4 1.0 (0.8-1.5), put on 88mcg synthroid daily
2/2008: TSH 0.1 (0.4-4.5), FT4 I don't remember and don't have written down... Doc reduce dosage to 88mcg six days a week
6/2008: TSH 0.29 (0.4-4.5), FT4 1.11 (0.8-1.5), still on same dosage

Apart from the tendinitis I really feel great in general. All of the other symptoms I had are gone (at least they seem to be -- I am still working on losing the weight I had gained before I was diagnosed and it's taking forever).

Red Maple - thanks for your post! It's nice to know I'm not the only one. I am still doing daily stretches and strengthening exercises so I'm optimistic. It's my knees I'm most concerned about -- I work at a computer all day so it's not surprising that my wrists and elbows haven't gotten completely better. I don't do anything difficult to my knees though, and they just haven't really been improving much.