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Mary Shomon

The Link Between Frozen Shoulder and Thyroid Disease

By December 12, 2007

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It often starts with difficulty moving your shoulder. You can have dull, aching pain, difficulty with daily activities that involve lifting the arm (i.e., brushing your hair), and even pain while sleeping. It's called "Frozen Shoulder," or adhesive capsulitis, and you may not realize it, but it's more common in thyroid patients.

Frozen shoulder is the topic of an interesting new overview article by AP health writer Lauran Neergaard this week. And if you want to delve into the topic and learn more, our About.com Orthopedics guide, Dr. Jonathan Cluett, has an excellent, in-depth review of this condition, including symptoms, diagnosis and treatment information. One thing we know, however, is that getting it diagnosed and treated right away can help prevent it from worsening, so it's worth getting evaluated.

Photo: clipart.com

December 14, 2007 at 8:57 am
(1) Inger says:

God bless you, Mary, for once again pointing out something I had been totally unaware of. I can’t raise my left arm without wicked pain in my shoulder, and never higher than shoulder-level. I have never mentiomed it to my doctor as I thought it was arthritis and just part of growing old. I will follow the recommendations of Dr. Cluett and will most certainly bring it up at my next appointment with my MD. Again, thanks for keeping us informed. We’re indeed fortunate to have you.

December 14, 2007 at 9:14 am
(2) Janet says:

After living with various pains related to my thyroid condition for many years, I was very glad to find the consumer’s version of Dr. Janet Travell’s trigger point work by Clair Davies. Recently, he published an additional volume on the frozen shoulder which can be safely used by the patient in their own home.

It’s the Frozen Shoulder Workbook (http://www.triggerpointbook.com/frozenindex.html) and has been well received by the medical community. Non-invasive, non-chemical and effective.

His original work The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook is in its second edition and covers most pain problems with simple, self-administered techniques. Once again, they are non-invasive, non-chemical and effective. They won’t address an underlying medical component of pain, but it’s amazing how many conditions, for instance, migraine and other headaches and low back pain, may be helped significantly.

In our family, we check with our doctor AND with the Trigger Point Therapy Charts.

December 14, 2007 at 10:20 am
(3) Sue says:

Mary, I couldn’t survivie without all the things I learn from you and have for years now. Last year I fell and fractured my humerous (shoulder). While it was immobilized I suffered the onset of “frozen shoulder.” The physical therapy was so helpful but the pain I endured was excruciaiting and I had pretty much lost most of my range in that arm. It took a very long time but I finally have my arm back and most dyas pain free, which is someting I never thought i would accomplish. To anyone suffering from frozen shoulder….don’t give up and no matter how hard and painful it is keep working it!!!!

December 14, 2007 at 10:45 am
(4) Jennifer says:

I have TWO frozen shoulders – both idiopathic (of unknown origin) according to my doctors. As I was recovering from a Cushing’s surgery when this happened, there was no way I would allow any extra steroids to be injected into my body. I have read in other health groups for conditions that I have – hypoparathyroid – that many there have this as well and a high incidence as well. I agree that there must be an endocrine commponent to this but since most docs overlook anything endocrine – including endos – wonder if this will catch on. I am panhypopituitary so they need to do a lot of testing. As they should.

December 14, 2007 at 4:32 pm
(5) elizabeth says:

Has anyone ever experience a frozen hip relative to thyroid? Thanks, elizabeth

December 14, 2007 at 5:24 pm
(6) carol says:

I had 2 frozen shoulders both in my 40′s while i was having issues with my thyroid.They came out of the blue but lifting lots of heavy packages made it get worse rapidly. I am telling you to run to the ORTHEpeDIC doc right away. If you don’t get the cortisone shot in the beginning, it doesn’t work as well to relieve the inflammation. i had to go through with both shoulders very painful physical therapy ans they try to rip the adhesions inside the shoulder joint so that the shoulder can rotate again. It’s horrible PT. You have to really whine to the orthopedic guy to give you the shot right away.They give you anti inflammatory pills too but they only work minimally in bad cases like mine. They will not correct the problem. there is a lot of bad swelling in the shoulder capsule in this condition. You should hear my horror story on my thyroid nodule debacle. I made some posts on it before. I have no thyroid now .

December 14, 2007 at 8:08 pm
(7) Betsy says:

I have been on thyroid most of my life. I had my first frozen shoulder 20 years ago when I was in my middle 40′s. The first time this occurred, I waited too long to go to the doctor. I finally went and had a cortisone shot and eight weeks of physical therapy. Neither the shot nor PT helped. Finally I went into the hospital and was put to sleep and they manipulated my shoulder. Ten years later when my other shoulder began to give me problems, I went to the doctor right away and got the shot in the shoulder and only had four weeks of physical therapy.

December 14, 2007 at 9:11 pm
(8) judy leipski says:

I have had both shoulders frozen a year apart. My chiropractor was my best relief. He worked it out better than physical therapy. Took 2-3 months and it is so much better.

December 15, 2007 at 8:33 am
(9) Marion says:

I also had both shoulders frozen 2 years apart. Both times it took exact 9 months to go away (without any medication, physical therapy did not help much). My doctors never told me it could be a thyroid connection. ( I have Hashimoto Thyroiditis with high antibodies)

December 15, 2007 at 10:10 am
(10) Wondering says:

I have a question. My mother had her thyroid removed on last year. It had cancer cells. The doctor said he got it all. She took one radiation pill. But recently she has been complaining of body pains and aches. The doctor has ran numerous test and he says he dont know what could be causing it. He first thought it was the cholesterol pills she was taking so he gave her some medicine to take that was suppose to run it out of her system. That didnt work either, because she’s still having the pains. Could the pains she’s having be associated with the lose of her thyroid? I feel helpless because nothing helps her to make her comfortable. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank You.

December 15, 2007 at 12:14 pm
(11) cat.jones says:

I had a severe, but mercifully short, espisode of frozen shoulder post-throidectomy.

After my total thyroidectomy I was put on100mcg of Synthroid. I was very, very tired at this level, feeling as if I could barely move. I would look at how dirty the ground or floor was because all I felt I could do was slump down and rest. I never actually did, but the fatigue was almost overwhelming.

However, shortly before my first whole body scan (WBS), my left should began to feel sore when I woke up. Since I had injured that shoulder in a skiing fall, I figured I was just sleeping so deeply from my fatigue that I didn’t move my arm when I was uncomfortable–thus the pain.

It came on very suddenly: One day I could not move my arm more than 30 degress away from my body, then it was down to barely any space at all between arm and body. The pain if I moved it mere degrees away from my body was excruciating, bringing me to tears. I went to my internist after three days of this and saw their sports medicine specialist who told me this was classic frozen shoulder. She referred me ASAP to a sports med ortho doc.

I saw him the next day, and, while I had the symptoms, he was perplexed as to why it happened so suddenly. Usually, he said, it is gradual, more gradual than I described. An x-ray showed nothing, and he couldn’t do a CT because of the iodine.

Well, my endo increased my Synthroid based on the WBS and unsuppressed blood work–and the frozen shoulder just disappeared! Before the insurance company would even give permission for an MRI!

So, what I’ve learned from other thyca patients and this experience, is that low thyroid can lead to unexplained joint pains–and, of course, even when the numbers say we’re perfectly dosed, our bodies can indicate otherwise.

Just a suggestion to check thyroid hormone and perhaps try increase in dose to see if that helps. People on the thyca site have gone through endless tests, even surgery, for this kind of idiopathic pain.

I get cramped and very sore hand joints when I’m having Synthroid problems, which for some reason happened after this year’s WBS. I went unsuppressed using Thyrogen, not cold turkey, but never returned to the “balance” I’d reached for about 8 months–now I’m fatigued on the same level of Synthroid, gained weight almost overnight, and the endo won’t increase dosage due to palpitations and really low suppression. Numbers, great; body, not so. My endo is not concerned about the fatigue or achiness, btw. Tells me to be patient. For the past two months, my knee has been very sore. Related? who knows? Getting MRI results soon, I hope.

BTW, this is the “Good Cancer,” until it’s not.

December 15, 2007 at 3:54 pm
(12) Bentley says:

I had several bouts of frozen shoulder after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I did not connect it with the thyroid problem, and got physical therapy and pain pills–never cortisone. Then when I switched from T4 meds to a combo of T4 & T3 meds because my T3 was testing a little low in the range, my frozen shoulder disappeared.

What I deduced was that the swollen tissue one gets with hypothyroidism –myxedema– was happening inside my shoulder. Using T4 alone was not improving it, as I was not converting T4 to T3 sufficiently. As soon as I started adding in the T3, the frozen shoulder condition went away–within 72 hours. I think the T3 allowed the swollen tissue to return to healthy tissue. I would like to see more discussion of this. I did raise this on the forum here years ago when it happened–and several others mentioned that they had had frozen shoulder as well. I have had no recurrence of frozen shoulder since I have been on the T4/T3 combo. Tweaking med doses may be an art form, but it can have dramatic results.

December 15, 2007 at 11:22 pm
(13) gloria says:

Shortly before I started back on my thyroid meds (had been off for a while and “forgot” to start back) my left shoulder started to bother me. We had just scrubbed the gooey glue off a 25 foot wall after removing wallpaper (residue was like the back of scotch tape). I thought that I had an injury and nothing seemed to help although I tried several things. Tried a new deep tissue massage therapist in the fall and seemed to be getting much better, but now we are in the middle of December and where I am we really have winter and have had several weeks of minus 20 or so. My shoulder started to bother me again and just this afternoon I was thinking that it could be because of the lower thyroid levels caused by the colder weather. I would bump up my meds, but I am already at the top high dose of time release T3 and 100 mcg of T4 (don’t have a prescription for more T4 yet). I am rather reluctant to increase when I am at this level …. ??? what to do??


December 16, 2007 at 2:48 pm
(14) Rebecca says:

Now I know…..I always wondered what the heck….just out of the blue about the same time I started packing on weight, losing eyebrow hair, having severe hot flashed, and calf tendon aching, my should from my elbow to my rotator cuff just quit functioning. I never went to a doctor about it, but I did start have a ti massage therapist come to my home and he advised me to stretch the pictorial muscles which I did and it was amazing how much it helped…plus just about that same time I had finally been diagnosed with Hoshimotos and started on medication. Although I have been adjusting my medication for over a year now, I still have a long way to go. My hair is back, my depression is much better; I sleep a little better but am working on the adrenals to improve that a bit more. You are wonderful to have this site, I have read your book and others that you have recommended and although I still, feel, my husband do not quit get it, and I feel vindicated.

Thank you, again.
Haymarket, VA

December 17, 2007 at 7:51 pm
(15) carol says:

When i was on synthroid(no thyroid), I had terrible shoulder pain. Problem was I had a reaction to it probably the fillers. This is a common problem with me and meds. I convinced a new doctor switch me over to levoxyl and all of a sudden my shoulder pains magically disappeared. It probably was the reaction to the Synthroid . The more they increaed the dosage, the worse the pain in my shoulder . i had bursitis in that shoulder but it was better so i knew it wasn’t a flareup of that.

also low thyroid will cause aches and pains so be aware. For me, the levoxyl has been very good but not perfect. it is never the same once your gland is removed. The meds just can’t simulate the real thing.

December 20, 2007 at 12:16 am
(16) Bonnie says:

Thank you, I have been about to give up hope. The Doctors think I am crazy sometimes. I have had Raynauds since I was 22 yrs old and now hypothyroid problems throughout my lifetime and recently developed Ostopenia and Ostoporasis and terrible back, hip and leg aches.I have lost the feeling in both feet and started taking Lyrica which has help considerable. Sometimes I would lose weight to 98 lbs then gain up 214lbs. Eventhough my T4F and TSH levels seem to stay in within limits. I have received the shot in my Right Shoulder which has relieved the tremendous pain I have had 2 frozen shoulders. As person in questions #5 I have recently about 3 months or more, tremendous pain in my left hip and it runs down my leg. They are speculating now I have MS!!! Yet NO one wants to do anything. I sleep every night on a heating pad for my left hip and my leg pain. Thank you all for telling of your misfortunes with our thyroids.

December 21, 2007 at 2:36 pm
(17) Teri says:

Elizebeth and i have the same question— Does this also affect the hip at all? I’ve had horrible left hip pain. that feels like my hip locks up and i’ve lost range of motion in it. It started right after i was diagnosised with hypothryroidism. they have exrayed and i’ve had therapy and nothing works and nothing shows on the exrays or MRI’s.feels like it’s in the tendin or the muscle. No one can tell me anything about it. any input you might have would be great!
Our family is prone to hypothyroidism.

July 25, 2008 at 1:45 am
(18) Dr N K Agrawal says:

Association of thyroid disorder with frozen shoulder is not proven.

October 6, 2008 at 2:12 pm
(19) JIM says:

Very intesting. I have had right shoulder problem frozen about 15yrs ago, about the same time discovered my thyroid was low. My mother and brother have the same thing.

November 20, 2008 at 9:23 pm
(20) Strictor says:

When my shoulder started acting up it hurt so bad I could barely move it. Then the pain went away, I just couldn’t lift it high or lift anything heavy. If I put strain on it (i.e. lifting something over my head) it would pop out of socket, but not painful.

Now it is fine. I heard that frozen shoulder, once it went back to normal, would cause excruciating pain again. I have not experienced this.

BTW, I am Hypo, 34, male, 150 ug of Synthroid. Soon to increase as I have new symptoms popping up quite often. I used to be so healthy, and now my body is deteriorating, it sucks. All this in 1.5 years, absolutely amazing.

June 16, 2009 at 11:41 am
(21) LaFonda says:

am still interested in frozen hip/thyroid theory….believe I have it….anyone else?

September 6, 2009 at 2:14 pm
(22) Geraldine Faulkner says:

I’ve suffered from a frozen right shoulder for around eight months (along with an under-active thyroid gland for the last two years) and had not made the connection between the two until I’d received some ‘manupulation’ along with a Cortisone injection. A friend rang me to see how I was and said she had Googled information and discovered the connection. Most people don’t know there is a connection between the two. I was asked by my consultant in the UK if I was diabetic (what???) but nowhere along the line was the connection made between the two.
My shoulder is a lot freer and now I’m trying to gain more movement, otherwise, I’m told it could seize up again. Oh no.
My advice to fellow suffererers is ‘don’t’. Go straight to your doctor and demand to see a specialist. Chiropractors, physiotherapists and osteopaths can do nothing to help you. The complaint is said to go after 18 months to two years, but if you want to speed up the recovery process, get a Cortisone injection, some manipulation (under a general anesthestic) and get your lives back.

November 30, 2009 at 10:33 pm
(23) Joy says:

I had pain in my hip for years and then frozen shoulder a few years ago. When I got diagnosed in 1994, the pain went away in my hip. If my thyroid levels get suppressed, the pain will come back in my right hip and right shoulder. I then increase my dosage and the pain goes away again.

December 23, 2009 at 5:05 pm
(24) Julia D. says:

I had surgery on my shoulder October 6th of this year. Bone spurs had grown and impeded movement aside from causing great pain pressing on nerves. I also am hypothyroid, but successful in getting my free T4 and free T3 exactly where it should be. I don’t know that I’m buying the correlation in my case. It’s really dangerous to make blanket statements as Mary often does.

February 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm
(25) Pam says:

I had frozen shoulder in one shoulder – a year of misery. Then after a year of relief, got frozen shoulder in the opposite shoulder. I couldn’t believe it! Another year of agony. I finally started to feel back to normal again and was fine for about 6 months and now, I’m afraid I’ve got frozen hip. At first, I didn’t make any connection, but now all the symptoms are mimicking what happened with my shoulders. This is the most frustrating situation. I wish I knew what was causing this to happen. I have been checked for thyroid problems in the past, but so far, have come out clean. It almost acts like some kind of virus traveling through my body. Do I prepare to deal with this the rest of my life as it just travels to all my joints and then will it just repeat itself? Too depressing to think about.

May 6, 2010 at 11:17 am
(26) Sarah says:

I have had low thyroid, treated with T4 and T3. Although I have felt good, I have had a hip problem, like frozen hip for about 9 months. Just came on like my hip needed to unkink or pop, but it never did, and just got worse, loss of range of motion. I found very little on the net. I did see that it may go away on its own, and mine appears to be doing that now. Now, I also have shoulder pain, am worried about frozen shoulder. Very weird.

September 9, 2010 at 12:24 am
(27) Aurorer says:

I developed pain in my left arm about a year ago. It was not bad enough to see a dr. I thought maybe I had just slept on it wrong, so was unconcerned. However, it progressively got worse. When I did finally bring the problem to the attention of my internist, he diagnosed a torn muscle in the shoulder joint and gave me a cortisone shot in the shoulder muscle. The arm continued to hurt and I developed limited range of motion as well. Dr. ordered an MRI and radiologist reported small tear in the supraspinatus muscle. Shortly after this, I lost my balance and caught myself with my left arm putting the whole weight of my body on this arm. The pain was excruciating!!
Finally made an appt. with orthopedist who took three x-rays, disagreed with the torn muscle diagnosis, and diagnosed frozen shoulder syndrome. Am now in very painful physical therapy and am improving somewhat, but arm still very painful in some backward flexion and overhead flexions! Big mistake, not going immediately to orthopedist, resulting in frozen shoulder!! Worse pain I have ever experienced! Am hyperthyroid and on Tapazole for thyroid condition.

October 24, 2010 at 12:22 pm
(28) Sharon says:

I had my thyroid removed in October 2008. Things seemed to be going well. In 2009, I started losing my hair and experienced a frozen shoulder. Lots of painful physical therapy but in 4 months gained my range of motion back on my right shoulder. Continued to slowly lose my hair but things seemed to be going well once again. Now, in 2010, I’ve got a left frozen shoulder, lifeless thin hair, brittle nails, and dry skin. I take 112 mcg of Synthroid. I’m wondering what’s going to happen next and if this is the way my life is going to be since having the thyroidectomy. Reading these comments has made me realize that I’m not crazy and I’m going to be questioning my doctor even more about a connection between the thyroid and joint problems (i.e. frozen shoulder).

June 10, 2011 at 3:53 am
(29) liz says:

I have hypothyroid and I am treated with levothryroxine 75mcg. I was experiencing hip pains and shoulder pains but the hip pains went away after I lost 20 pounds. I now have a frozen right shoulder for three weeks now. I really did not know that it had something to do with my thyroid condition. I am hoping I can get full mobility of my right arm by trying to raise my arm. I can’t comb my hair or unstrap my bra and become very frustrated due to the pain. I have a 4 year old who is not fully dependant so it’s a huge challenge for me. My right arm feels heavy at times and the pain comes even when I am resting. Sometimes the pain radiated down to my elbow. I continue trying to move my arm because I don’t want it to stay stiff and have to make an appointment to see a doctor.

October 4, 2011 at 2:27 pm
(30) Joann says:

I have had a frozen shoulder for at least two years without improvement. I recently went to the Doc for enlarged lymph nodes. He did an ultra sound and found a cyst on my thyroid but blood work came back in the normal range. After reading about the connection I can’t help but feel that there is a connection. Any advise or similar stories?

December 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm
(31) camille says:

I was just recently diagnosed with a frozen shoulder today and the orthopedic doc explained that hypothyroidism has a link to it (i have hashimotos) makes sense to me. i was blaming the medical asst who gave me a flu shot high up in the shoulder last year and it has been painful since.

December 30, 2011 at 5:37 pm
(32) camille says:

1 more thing is i have had this for over a year now, i am doing pt 3x a week not helping the pain but is loosening the joint area. the ortho told me he will give me a cortizone shot next month if no major improvement

February 22, 2012 at 1:03 am
(33) Syl says:

In May 2011, I had my thyroid removed due to cancer. In July 2011, I slipped on a stair and sprained my ankle. I probably had some strain to the shoulder when I tried to break the fall. In December 2011, I suddenly couldn’t move my arm. I was diagnosed with frozen shoulder. November 11, 2011, my synthroid was lowered from 75 to 50MCG. January 2012, test showed the dose to be too low and the doctor wanted to raise the dose a bit. In short, I exercised my arm and slowly got the movement back again. I was supposed to go to PT, but I got great results from this small gold disc that i got from Spirit Repair. It worked like magic, within days. I did do some simple exercises to loosen it too. The frozen shoulder came on suddenly, but it was also about 4 weeks after my synthroid was lowered. I’m convinced that there is a connection. The pain seemed to move from my bicep up to my shoulder.

March 15, 2012 at 5:36 pm
(34) Michael says:

I had one of my thyroid’s removed in 2010. Since October last year 2011, I’ve had a pain/burning feeling in my right arm. It has felt very week, pins and needles feeling. Slight discolouration of my hand, cannot lay on right arm, or stretch. One of the most horrific pains in my life, gives me a sharp shooting pain for roughly 40secs if i over stretch. I had tried steroid injections, been to pain management clinic, they told me to try tremodol tablets and special plasters for my pain, and are going to refer me to physio. After reading some people blogs, they say physio doesn’t work. My pain management doctor didn’t say anything about this problem relating to my previous thyroid removal operation. Since looking on the net, alot of people say, thyroid and frozen shoulder are related. If I asked my gp for thyroid tablets, do you think this would help me? Or I may consider asking my gp soon, for a operation on my shoulder, which I have also found out…

March 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm
(35) Bonnie says:

Michael I thought if you had your thyroid removed they automatically give you T4 Synthroid to replace the hormones. You should talk to your doctor about that. If they do bloodwork make sure they do a full thyroid panel and not just TSH.

April 10, 2012 at 10:32 am
(36) Denise says:

Just diagnosed with Frozen Shoulder and have been on compounded thyroid meds for 2 months for hypothyroidism. My thyroid problem was diagnosed through a doctor who practices Bio-Identical medicine and believes in optimizing the thyroid funtion. All previous thyroid tests from my genral doc were “normal” but I still had symptoms,fatique, unexplained weight gain, depression, etc. Since starting the compounded meds I have seen a huge improvement in symptoms but have now ended up with frozen shoulder. Am seeing the doc again soon hopefuly to adjust my meds which will in turn improve the frozen shoulder. Hopefully I caught the shoulder issue early and can get results with therapy and avoid the manipulation procedure. I had my 1st cortisone shot yesterday and feels bettter already, but time will tell…

June 23, 2012 at 12:40 am
(37) Jayne says:

I had a frozen left shoulder about 5 years ago and it took me thrree years to get my mobility back. I had lots of physical therapy, a manipulation under anesthesia where they injected steroids into the joing, and when all that did not work the ortho went in and arthoscopically “cleaned out the remaining scar tissue. That was when I finally turned the corner and was able to make progress with physical therapy. I have been hypothyroid since age 28, took faithfully 150 mcg of synthroid and my numbers were therapeutic. I now have ANOTHER frozen shoulder on the right side and am in severe pain I had a steroid shot last week which helped very little, perhaps 1%. I am very upset at the prospect of facing all that physical therapy , pain and the prospect of another three year bout. This blog has opened my mind to the possibility that it is related to thyroid. I was hypothyroid recently and my dosage of synthroid was increased to 175 mcg. I only go to a GP for my synthroid needs. Perhaps I should see an endocrinologist in view of the common theme here. The pain is terrible, making it very hard to sleep as I sleep on my right side.

July 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm
(38) paul says:

I am in my mid 50′s and had my thyroid checked 10 yrs ago and I think I was boarder line hypo.
The past 2 years I’ve had shoulder pain. It has progressively and aggressively gotten worse. I’ve gone from never taking so much as aspirin for aches
to taking 2 200mg ibuprofen once a day when this first started. Now I’m up to 10 or 12 tablets throughout the day. If I miss a dose at bedtime, I might not be able to get out of bed the next morning. Both shoulders are so stiff and painful I can’t raise my arms to comb what little hair is needing it.
I haven’t been to any type of doc for the better part of 10 yrs. I can’t continue that however.
If I keep my dosage steady I can manage my day if I have very little demanding physical activity. If I attempt anything beyond walking I had better pre-dose or I will pay the price afterward.
My mother who is suffering with her thyroid has been telling me since the last time I had mine checked to get it checked again. She is probably right..

July 23, 2012 at 6:37 pm
(39) Susan says:

Just adding my 2 cents. I have been diagnosed for about 6-7 years, hypo, had so many symptoms after years of no diagnosis that they are too much to list. Now much much better.
I have been on T3 and T4 for a while, however, I need adjustments pretty often. During two different periods of hypo I had hip/back probs, once I got the frozen hip (couldn’t really find any info on it, but it is a real thing), it took a while to go away, but I did not connect it to the thyroid. Also, back pain that I think is side effect of Diovan, same story.

In March, I started feeling terrible. By May, my shoulder started up–again, I did not immediately connect, but as my endo upped my dose late May, (it took about 6 weeks due to dose going up in steps), but now my shoulder (late July) is definitely clearing up.
No question in my mind, when your thyroid is low, all kinds of issues will arise with your body, and getting your thyroid up can help.
I mean, thyroid basically runs your whole system!

July 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm
(40) Mikel says:

Got a frozen hip and Graves disease. (Re)started Strumazol at 19-03. First symptoms at 04-04. Disappeared and returned in juli. Didnot know it could have to do with (low) thyroid function. Complaints lasting for 3 weeks now, last days pretty serious.

January 21, 2013 at 3:19 pm
(41) claire says:

I have graves disease and am on carbimizole, however I believe that being over-medicated has made me underactive.
I had a frozen and very painful hip a couple weeks ago and now both my shoulders have become painful within a week of eachother.
I do believe there’s a link.

February 1, 2013 at 10:35 pm
(42) Jane says:

Dealing with a frozen shoulder, I am totally put off by your description of the condition. Dull ache? Methinks you’ve never experienced this hellish nightmare. There is far more to the pain and limitations than not being able to brush your hair and restless nights. Your research is lacking.

February 3, 2013 at 8:01 am
(43) Tasia says:

Ive had a bad shoulder for a year now, its very painful and I have limited range of movement. I went to my doctor but he told me it isnt frozen shoulder and I need physio.

Ive been waiting for months for physio but have heard nothing as yet.
Problem is my other shoulder is beginning to hurt now Ive started taking omega 3 6 9 to see if it helps. Im very stiff in the mornings my neck too.

Im also hypo have been for 4 years.

I dont know what to do ive had blood test recently and it came back fine I dont need to increase. I dont really fancy having physio and maybe will just carry on with painkillers and omega and see what happens.

February 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm
(44) Bonnie says:

You should check your labs with the functional ranges instead of what regular doctor’s use. You may need more thyroid meds. Functional doctors believe anything over 2 for your TSh is hypothyroid. You also may need to add T3 if you are not taking any. You may be having trouble converting your T4 to T3.

April 17, 2013 at 10:33 pm
(45) Jharry says:

Thanks for the article. I have hypothyroidism that has been under control for 10 yrs., however about 2 months ago started having symptoms of what I thought was a rotator cuff tear. At the same time I became extremely fatigued, muscle aches all over and bone pain. Blood work showed severe Vitamin D deficiency. After 1 week on high doses of Vitamin D I fatigue, muscle aches and bone pain went away (I feel so much better) but shoulder was getting worse. Today I finally saw an orthopedic and he said “you have a frozen shoulder, are you diabetic or do you have thyroid disease”. I was blown away, I had no idea there was a link. Relieved to know it was all connected and I’m not just completely falling apart at 43. I will get a cortisone injection next week and they started on Celebrex and Tramadol. Looking forward to feeling some relief.

September 2, 2013 at 10:25 am
(46) dawn says:


It seeds that thyroid disease is one of the risk factors but not the only one

October 21, 2013 at 8:17 am
(47) suganesh says:

iam from india . i have same problem in shoulder .the uneven shoulder is start when i was age 15 . doctar say you have extra bone in right side shoulder . sir(god) give solution to cure the problem

December 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm
(48) Nicolas says:

Whether thyroid medications can cause frozen should should be considered.

December 26, 2013 at 8:29 am
(49) ang says:

I to have frozen shoulder been dealing with it for about 6 months now. I have been doing some reading on this. I have been to several websites and read peoples comments. Most of the symptoms I have but no one has mention a ball like feeling under the arm, but when I try to feel nothings there! I get needless pain under or around the shoulder, very soar around the shoulder blade area, and on top of the shoulder, at times if feels like someone kicked me in the ribs. Sometimes It feels like my shoulder is twisted outwards is the best I can described it. Has anyone have experience these symptoms ? Everyday activities is a pain but I am managing.

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April 2, 2014 at 7:31 am
(51) Lorra says:

My thyroid was totally removed in 1973 (malignant tumor without any radiation treatments), recent tests showed the replacement pills are sufficient. I had a little problem with my shoulder about 10 years ago where I couldn’t raise my arm without pain, but exercise and swimming seemed to help. Now my knee is swollen, the pain kept me awake a month ago and I had trouble walking. Now the knee is still swollen (like a water balloon inside), with trouble getting up off the chair (especially low toilets) and sleeping disrupted waking up to pain. I should lose some weight…

April 6, 2014 at 9:19 am
(52) Dee says:

After a fall March 2012, I noticed some pain, could not really pinpoint it. It seemed to hurt when I would reach forward for something very quickly.
Then I started to feel these lumps or balls in my arm, sometimes bicep, tricep area. The pain was excruitating, I could not move when the pain would strike.
By the time I went to a doctor it had been 5 months. He said the average time is 3. It got better.
Now I am experiencing it in my other arm. This time, thanks to the comments here, I will not wait. I will go to the doctor right away to get the injection and will start the exercises I remember from the PT I went through. I have diabetes and low thyroid. It may be coincidence however I do not think it is. My sugar has not been controlled in well over a year. Not so sure about thyroid. I need to get free T3 free T4 checked. Just checking TSH is not enough.

Good article, thank you

This time with the frozen shoulder I am having upper back pain, can that be related? I sure hope so.

April 9, 2014 at 8:52 pm
(53) Risa says:

I’ve had hypothyroidism since my late 30s and take Synthroid every day. I developed frozen shoulder (right) overnight with no warning signs or trauma or overuse. Just woke up and couldn’t zip my dress, hook bra, etc. I tried injections which did nothing. I continued to decline–lost 30 lbs due to pain and couldn’t sleep. Local orthopedist performed manipulation under anesthesia (major mistake) and he tore my rotator cuff. Left him and went to orthopedist that specialized in shoulders only in lg metro area who said my frozen shoulder was most likely due to my hypothyroidism and he performed surgery endoscopically to repair cuff and remove LG AMTS OF SCAR TISSUE. Bad news was I had to come out of sling on Day 3 and start PT (most wait 6 weeks before starting PT) but I had to start because dr was afraid my shoulder would refreeze after surgery. As soon as I could submerge my arm, my PT was in the water and worked my way to land. It took me 1 yr to fully recover and lots of hard work!

Now, 3 yrs later my other shoulder is frozen but it came on more gradually. I did 1 mo of PT but no improvement. Going to see same shoulder orthopedist in metroplex next wk plus I made an appt with an endocrinologist for the first time. I don’t want to go through surgery and months of PT again because it’s a long, painful process BUT I have 100% mobility and no pain in the original shoulder so it was worth it. I’m just hoping maybe there are other options this time.

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