by Michael D. Allen, DC, NMD
Can you put your hand over your thyroid? Do you know where it is? It is an “H” shaped gland on each side of your neck, in front.
Your thyroid’s overall responsibility is to maintain your body’s fire. Simply, it is charged with the intake, metabolism and elimination of the substances you eat.
Most doctors monitor their patient’s thyroid via lab tests, which is helpful but many doctors do not inspect the full course of tests that would be most thorough.
Some Thyroid Symptoms
Do you have muscle and/or joint pain? Does your neck bother you? Are you fatigued for long periods? Is your hair thinning and falling out? Have you had unexplained weight changes? How about depression and/or anxiety? These symptoms and several others could all be signs of thyroid trouble. Even one of these symptoms could be an important indication of thyroid problems.
The Brain-Thyroid Link
Since your brain controls everything that happens in your body, here is the point: Lab tests alone are inadequate to tell you how your thyroid and brain are working together.
Lab tests only measure certain biochemicals related to thyroid function. While I choose my thyroid lab tests carefully there are other seldom utilized non-lab tests that can evaluate the link between your thyroid and your brain. We do them everyday in my practice.
Neck Reflexes and Your Thyroid
If your thyroid has biochemical problems then treating the biochemical issues is appropriate. But what if your thyroid problems are the result of structural issues? Many people deny having neck pain but the breakdown of neck motion actually has a very high probability of relating to thyroid problems.
There are several fundamental reflex issues that can relate to a dysfunctional thyroid, one of which is called the tonic neck reflex that—as you can probably tell—is closely related to neck function.
The tonic neck reflex is simply displayed when an archer draws their bow or a pitcher throws a ball. When your head turns to one side the tone in certain muscles naturally increase on that side while the tone in certain other muscles naturally decrease, and the opposite should happen on the other side. All these changes in tone are naturally determined, and they are inborn. Problems arise when the tone in the muscles that should increase actually decreases while the tone in the muscles that should have decreased actually increases. This display is quite common and should always be considered pathological. This perversity causes an abnormal pull on the bones of the neck and sends the wrong signals to your brain. The brain receives signals that one type of motion is happening when in fact something different is taking place.
Blood Follows Demand
Not only do the tonic neck reflexes indicate joint motion issues but they also relate to blood flow. Since blood normally flows to muscles that do work, it more reluctantly flows to muscles that are not working. However, when the tonic neck reflexes break down causing muscles to work in abnormal ways, consequential movement errors occur and the blood flows in unnatural directions. That can subsequently affect the thyroid, too. The muscles and organs of the neck receive their blood and nerve supply from related sources. Whatever you do to the one you also do to the other.
Thyroid lab tests are useful to evaluate the thyroid’s biochemistry, but any positive findings should always be further evaluated by examining the person relative to themselves. The doctor should always examine the link between the organ in question and the brain that controls it. We just named one physiological reflex here, but in fact, there are many other reflexes that link muscle and organ relationships that involve the thyroid.
If you or someone you know has thyroid problems despite normal laboratory findings, please call us. At Allen Chiropractic, PC, we understand the nuances that can indicate brain-organ breakdown. And in many cases these issues can be rehabilitated in natural ways.