The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study on March 19, 2018, documenting the case of a chiropractic patient diagnosed with hypothyroidism having their thyroid function improve due to chiropractic. According to the study authors, “Hypothyroidism is defined as the failure of the thyroid gland to produce sufficient thyroid hormone to meet the metabolic demands of the body.”
On their website the American Thyroid Association describes the function of the thyroid by saying, “The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should.”
In hypothyroidism, the cells of the body are not getting enough thyroid hormone causing them to slow down. This can cause symptoms of feeling colder, becoming tired more easily, the skin can become drier, becoming forgetful and depressed, and constipation. It is estimated that 10 million Americans have this common condition, with about 10% of all women having some signs of hypothyroidism.
In this case, a 49-year-old man complaining of neck, back, and shoulder pain went to the chiropractor. He did not have a specific time of origin for the problems which had been ongoing for a while. His health history revealed that he had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism four years earlier. Five years ago, the man started noticing that he felt low energy, fatigue and started having slurred speech. His medical practitioner ordered bloodwork from which he was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
The man’s medical practitioner prescribed the artificial thyroid hormone replacement Synthroid® at 100 mg per day. While under medication, most of the symptoms from his hypothyroidism were under control.
A chiropractic examination was performed which consisted of health history forms, orthopedic and neurologic testing, static and motion palpation, thermography, and spinal x-rays. Based on the tests, it was determined that subluxations were present. Specific forms of chiropractic care were begun at the rate of three visits per week.
During his chiropractic care, there were no changes in the man’s lifestyle, diet, or exercise levels. Several months into chiropractic care, a follow-up blood test was performed showing an improvement in the man’s thyroid hormone level resulting in a decrease of his medication. After eight months of chiropractic, his hormone level had returned to normal and he no longer needed the thyroid medication. The study did note that, against recommendation, the man did reduce his chiropractic visits causing a minimal setback and a partial return of symptoms.
In the conclusion of the study, the authors noted that this was not the first study linking improved thyroid function to chiropractic, they stated, “This paper appears to be the fourth to link the decreased need for synthetic thyroid medication while under chiropractic care.” They further explained, “Because synthetic thyroid hormone is now the only current treatment for hypothyroidism, it would be beneficial to have an alternative treatment such as chiropractic care. Those currently receiving synthetic thyroid medication risk its side effects, drug interactions, and associated costs.”