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An estimated twenty-seven million Americans have some form of thyroid disorder with as many as thirteen million of these cases being undiagnosed. Low thyroid may be the most commonly misdiagnosed health problem in the U.S. Some physicians estimate that as many as one in five Americans suffer from an unsuspected low thyroid state. In Thyroid Power: Ten Steps to Total Health, Richard Shames MD calls low thyroid a “large scale epidemic that has been inadequately addressed.” Fortunately, thyroid disorders are helped by Chiropractic.
Thyroid problems are among the most common medical conditions, but because their symptoms often appear gradually, they are frequently misdiagnosed. Symptoms associated with thyroid disorders are:
· Nervousness and anxiety
· Elevated blood pressure
· Weight gain
· Severe Fatigue
· Muscle weakness
· Muscle complaints
· Elevated blood pressure
· Increased bowel activity
· Restless sleep
The thyroid gland is located on the front part of the neck below the thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple). The gland produces thyroid hormones, which regulate body metabolism.
Thyroid hormones control metabolism and virtually all other processes in the body. Without thyroid hormones, the body cannot form RNA needed for the process of transcription necessary to produce proteins and enzymes. Consequently, without thyroid hormones, the body cannot produce proteins to repair damaged tissues, or enzymes to catalyze virtually all reactions within the body.
Disorders of the thyroid gland can result in either the production of too much hormone(hyperthyroidism) or too little hormone(hypothyroidism).
Scientific and clinical evidence has shown that certain cases of thyroid disorders result from the malfunction of the nerve pathways that control the thyroid’s production of thyroid hormones. Whether too little or too much hormone is produced, the abnormal level can be due to a malfunction between the brain, pituitary, spinal cord and thyroid gland, and can be caused by certain types of trauma to the spine.
Traumatic and micro-traumatic injuries that affect the spine and nervous system have been shown to adversely affect the function of the thyroid. One study published in the Journal of Manipulative Therapeutics examined 100 whiplash patients and found that many suffered from poor thyroid function after their injury. Another study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association reported a correlation between cervical spine problems and thyroid abnormalities.
The Journal of Neurology reports, “Studies have shown that fifty percent of hyperthyroid patients have damage to the pathways in their nervous system.”
According to the Academy of Pain Research’s Dr. T. Lee, “Hyperfunctional or hypofunctional neurons along a neural chain prevent normal nerve transmission causing disturbances in the homeostasis of the cells, tissues and organs.”
There is a growing body of clinical research showing that Chiropractic can often help people who suffer from thyroid conditions. This would stand to reason since Chiropractic’s purpose is the restoration of nervous system pathways, which is accomplished by physically adjusting the spine. Chiropractic is not a treatment for thyroid disease, and Doctors of Chiropractic do not claim to be able to cure thyroid conditions, but by removing nerve interference from the spinal column, they allow the body to maximize its inherent healing ability.