Why Do I Feel So Achy, Cold and Tired?

Photos courtesy of Dollar Photo Club

Lets talk about Laura, aged 30. It’s 7 a.m. on a January morning in Orleans and Laura leaves her house, jumps into her car and starts her 45-minute drive to work into Ottawa.

The mornings are really cold this time of year and although she’s bundled up, she is pleased when her car heating begins to kick in. She has become less and less fond of the cold Ottawa winters over the past few years. She also used to bounce out of bed in the mornings, but like the winters she is less fond of the early mornings and finds it easier to press the snooze button on her alarm clock and go back to sleep.

Like most Ottawans on the 416 that morning, Laura is sipping on her morning coffee, which she needs to get her ready for the days work at her job at Stats Canada. She had a bit of a headache this morning, but by the time she sits down at her desk, it is gone.

Her job involves a lot of sitting in front of a computer which she is finding more difficult, especially towards the end of a long day due to muscle cramps and tightness in her neck and shoulders. She is starting to get some right wrist pain from using mouse.

Severe TonsillitisShe is happy this morning, as this evening she goes for her once a fortnight massage with her massage therapist who helps to keep her pain to a manageable level. She also sees a chiropractor once a month, where she gets adjusted and is given stretching exercises to help her increasingly tight muscles. She recently went for her yearly medical with her doctor and mentioned her symptoms but all her blood tests came back normal and her doctor just put her symptoms down to getting older and offered her anti-inflammatories for her pain.

Laura is getting older but this is no medical reason for the way she feels. She has early signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism.

The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue
  • Increase in weight, even on a low calorie diet
  • Morning headaches that wear off as the day progresses
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Hypersensitivity to cold weather
  • Poor circulation and numbness in hands and feet
  • Muscle cramps and tightness, while at rest
  • Catching colds or other bacterial or viral infections easily and having difficulty recovering
  • Wounds heal slowly
  • Excessive amount of sleep required to function properly
  • Chronic digestive problems such as low stomach acid
  • Itchy dry skin

Some signs of low thyroid function include:

  • Dry or brittle hair
  • Your hair falls out easily
  • Dry skin
  • Low body heat temperature
  • Edema especially facial
  • Loss of outside portion of eyebrows

The thyroid is a gland that stretches over the Adams Apple of the throat and regulates metabolism.

Hypothyroidism is where the thyroid is consistently under active and a variety of things can cause it.

Hashimotos, a disease that destroys thyroid tissue, is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the Western countries. Because it is an immune disease, Hashimotos often goes undiagnosed, and is largely mismanaged by both conventional and alternative healthcare systems.

People with Hashimoto’s often don’t respond well to Thyroid replacement hormones, or they experience symptoms of both an underactive or overactive thyroid.

Symptoms of an overactive thyroid include:

  • Fatigue or muscle weakness.
  • Hand tremors.
  • Mood swings.
  • Nervousness or anxiety.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat.
  • Skin dryness.
  • Trouble sleeping.

Numerous studies have shown a link between Hashimotos and gluten intolerance. If you have Hashimotos, you should follow a gluten free diet. Gluten can be found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, triticale and oats. The gluten molecule is very similar to the thyroid gland molecule, which confuses an overzealous immune system in a gluten intolerant person.

gluten free words in flourIf you suspect you have Hashimotos, you should ask your doctor for a TPO and TGA blood serum antibody test. When testing thyroid function most doctors will only test TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), which is not appropriate for diagnosing Hashimoto’s. A negative test is sometimes false as the immune system often fluctuates. If symptoms strongly suggest Hashimotos, repeat tests should be done. Sometimes, if the person is gluten free, it is necessary to get the person to eat gluten before an antibody test.

Because supplementing with iodine can aggravate Hashimotos, it should be strictly avoided if you have the disease.

Apart from gluten-sensitivity, other risk factors for developing Hashimotos include:

  • Insulin Resistance and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Estrogen Fluctuations during pregnancy and menopause
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Chronic virus or infections
  • Digestive Inflammation
  • Immune reaction to heavy metals or environmental pollutants


I hope you found these ideas useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with them.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.