Challenged Thyroid: The Signs
Hypothyroidism is a term that encompasses any type of condition wherein the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough levels of T3 and T4 hormones. Hypothyroidism’s leading cause is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune inflammatory condition which damages the thyroid gland.
So, what are the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism? These include the following:
- Muscle weakness
- Weight fluctuations without obvious reasons
- Rough skin patching
- Thinning hair
- Cold intolerance
- Abnormal menses
- Cognitive challenges
- Decreased libido
A doctor might have difficulty in diagnosing the patient because he or she might not initially manifest a lot of these symptoms. Stealthy changes can occur gradually. This might lead to the patient wondering why he or she seems off-balance.
A lot of people won’t realize that their thyroid is the problem. Thus, symptoms will worsen gradually as time progresses. Coma, heart failure, and severe depression are serious complications that can occur.
Enlarged thyroids are called goiters and can be witnessed on that of patients with hypothyroid. Goiters are caused by the overproduction of TSH or thyroid-stimulating hormone from that of the pituitary gland.
Constant stimulation made by TSH will result in the swelling of the thyroid tissues. Patients are known to possess goitrous hypothyroidism in cases where he or she still cannot produce enough amounts of hormones T3 and T4.
It is highly important to know that even if a goiter is present, it doesn’t mean that a person has hypothyroidism. There are other conditions that result to a goiter’s development. This include iodine deficiency, infectious disease, intake of lithium carbonate, and Riedel’s thyroiditis, an unusual fibrosis condition.
It is possible that a massage client that suffers from hypothyroidism could be on at least one of the many medications used for the said condition. The most common medication used is Levothroid or Synthroid, a synthetic thyroid hormone. Levothyroxine is its generic name.
Levothyroxine is a T4 hormone’s synthetic form and is used as a replacement for a person’s T4 hormonal levels. Evaluating the proper dosage for patients can be quite tricky. There should be proper communication and evaluation with the endocrinologist in order to determine the proper daily dosage. The efficiency of the drug is evaluated annually as well.
Levothyroxine has a half-life of about 6 to 7 days. This means, this is the period wherein the drug levels within the blood drop significantly that it becomes insufficient for the person using it. Because the said medication has a lengthy half-life, massage therapists should effectively communicate with the patient in order to determine how Levothyroxine affects them (the patient) during the massage session.
Side Effects Of Hypothyroid Medications
The usual side effects of hypothyroid medications including Levothyroxine include the following:
- Chest Pain
- Change In Menses
- Heat Intolerance
- Facial Swelling
- Breathing Challenges
The symptoms of overdose include the following:
- Changes in a person’s consciousness
- Skin pallor
- Changes in one’s pulse
- Sudden headaches
Massage therapists should be able to recognize the various signs and symptoms of hypothyroid medications especially with regards to their clients.
Massage Therapy For The Well-Being Of Thyroid Patients
Massage therapy including other associated bodywork can provide multiple benefits for hypothyroid patients. Through acupressure, a patient’s symptoms can be significantly reduced. This was shown by a particular research conducted in Russia in 2011. In this study, Gua Sha and Reflexology were also used. These involves the utilization of theories of Chinese Medicine to address hypothyroidism.
Another benefit massage therapy can provide for the person suffering from hypothyroidism is improved blood circulation. Lymphatic circulation is enhanced as well. Because proper lymphatic and blood flow is significant for every endocrine organ, a patient’s thyroid can enjoy the positive effects of improved circulation.
The third positive effect of massage therapy and other associated bodywork is reduced inflammation. Research found that massage therapy may lead to results that are similar to medications used for anti-inflammatory purposes. This may happen at a cellular level. This will clearly help patient suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and other similar inflammatory problems.
Massage therapy also results to reduced stress levels in patients. Stress hormones including cortisol are reduced and helps patients in the management of their weight healthily.
Due to increased muscle strength as a result of massage therapy, hypothyroid patients are helped to combat against the weakness and fatigue they usually experience. Swedish massage and a handsome application of petrissage strokes may lead to the improvement of the stains, strength, and size of the muscle tissues.
Putting It All Together
Massage therapy can have multiple benefits for patients suffering from hypothyroidism. Aside from reducing stress levels, research has shown that massage has anti-inflammatory effects at the cellular level. If you have already consulted a healthcare professional and was advised to take massage, you can opt to find a nearby therapist now!