The theory of Chiropractic revolves around the concept that spinal misalignments (subluxations) may adversely affect body function. Every year we have patients undergo chiropractic care for neck complaints that also have a medical history involving abnormal thyroid function; so this blog will present the different scenarios of why chiropractic can been helpful to some patients with abnormal thyroid function.
Most people are surprised to hear that neck problems can be the cause of their Thyroid disease; sometimes regarding autonomic facilitation. All I do is point to the spine and nerve anatomical chart, the one of the Autonomic Nervous System (see close up of insertion of Laryngeal nerve). Looking at the direct connection between the nerves that stem from the mid to lower levels of the neck to the Thyroid states it own case. What I am saying is that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that there is a real connection between the neck and the Thyroid gland.
Let’s make one assumption that will be supported in the explanations noted below, and that is how under certain conditions, when the neck is posturally stressed or traumatically injured, there may be persistent nerve interference to the Thyroid gland that eventually prevents normal Thyroid functioning. (Let’s just save the scientific explanation for another paper.)
These are the Thyroid dysfunctions I have encountered in private practice:
1. Hyperthyroidism without goiter
2. Hyperthyroidism with a goiter
3. Hypothyroidism without edema
4. Hypothyroidism with generalized edema
5. Post Thyroidectomy, radical
6. Post Thyroidectomy, partial removal
7. Post radiation therapy
As a patient undergoes chiropractic care to their neck, such as Cervical Spondylosis, or headaches, neck pain or stiffness, they experience changes in their thyroid functioning. This is in some cases carefully monitored by their MD and other times people just report how their bodies are responding, for others how many gradually or abruptly stop taking previously prescribed medications for their Thyroid. Since we as chiropractors don’t prescribe mediations we also don’t tell people to stop taking their medications.
What I have always done, when it seems there is a connection to the spine and Thyroid, is to advise the patient to perhaps move up their blood testing of Thyroid levels in case their body has become more responsive to its own ability to manufacture its own Thyroxin, in case the readings suggest to their MD that the medication doses can be lowered or stopped entirely. In cases where the Thyroid was removed entirely, then counseling is to change nothing about their medical protocols since nature can’t heal what was already removed.
A blog is not designed to get into a detailed explanation of a topic but to expose the reader to new ideas to pursue. So the message of this blog is simple. If you or anyone you know has a neck problem or already has a thyroid problem, and Chiropractic care has never been a part of their care program; there is reasonable justification to consider the role chiropractic can do in helping people naturally restore normal or near normal Thyroid function. It just makes sense. doesn’t it.
Yours in Health,