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Can Chiropractic Care & Acupuncture Help With Thyroid Conditions?

When I talk about using natural thyroid treatment methods to restore the health of a person who has a thyroid condition, I’m usually referring to a protocol which involves numerous changes in the person’s lifestyle.  This of course includes changes in their eating habits, taking quality nutritional supplements and herbs, exercising regularly, sleeping well, doing a better job of managing stress, etc.  But obviously there are other “types” of natural treatment methods, and since millions of people utilize chiropractic care and acupuncture, I thought I should shed some light as to how effective these treatment methods can be in helping someone with a thyroid condition.

Many of you know that I have a doctor of chiropractic degree, but this doesn’t mean I’m going to recommend that everyone with a thyroid condition immediately begin scheduling appointments with a local chiropractor.  I no longer have a “traditional” chiropractic practice, as when I first graduated from chiropractic school in March of 1999, I did what most chiropractors do, which was to focus on musculoskelatal disorders.  However, when talking about whether or not chiropractic care can help people with thyroid conditions, I think it is important to understand that chiropractic isn’t just about helping people with neck and back pain, even though this is without question why many people do see a chiropractor.

Even though most people perceive chiropractors as doctors who “twist” and “crack” the bones of the spine to help people with neck and back pain, they do a lot more than this.  In fact, even though “hands-on” chiropractic treatments (called spinal adjustments) are safe, many chiropractors now use computerized instruments to “adjust” the spine, which many people prefer. 

Whatever treatment method is used, chiropractic spinal adjustments not only help to “align the spine”, but by doing so they also balance out the nervous system as well.  Obviously some chiropractors do nothing more than manipulate the spine, and to be frank, some chiropractors run their practices like a mill, just trying to see as many patients as possible and not really concerning themselves much with the health of their patients.  This actually describes some doctors in every profession, and not just chiropractic, as some doctors are simply more concerned about the QUANTITY of patients they see, and as a result sacrifice the QUALITY of care.

In any case, I’m getting off the subject of how chiropractic care, as well as acupuncture, might be able to help people with thyroid conditions.  Since chiropractic care deals with balancing the nervous system, and since the nervous system controls every cell, tissue, and organ in the body, it is possible that an imbalance in your nervous system can potentially lead to a thyroid problem, although this admittedly is not the primary reason why people develop thyroid conditions. 

But how can a misalignment of the spine potentially cause a thyroid condition?  Well, if the nerves that supply the thyroid gland are being compromised, then this can without question affect thyroid health.  And so if this scenario were to happen, then following a natural thyroid treatment protocol that I typically recommend would not help someone with this problem.

How Can A Chiropractor Tell If The Nerves Supplying The Thyroid Gland Is Being Compromised?

That’s the problem, as there really is no surefire way to know this.  Sure, some chiropractors will claim that they can use x-rays, a surface EMG, or another device to determine whether or not you have a “subluxation” (misalignment in your spine causing nerve interference) which can be affecting the nerves that supply the thyroid gland.  But there really isn’t a way to 100% confirm that a misalignment in the spine is causing your thyroid disorder.  And since most people respond to natural thyroid treatment methods without seeing a chiropractor, I think it’s safe to say that most thyroid conditions aren’t actually caused by spinal subluxations.

So does this mean that a person with a thyroid condition would be wasting their time and money by seeing a doctor of chiropractic?  I’m not suggesting that seeking chiropractic care to help with one’s thyroid condition is a complete waste, as many people do have problems with their spine leading to nervous system imbalances (I’m not going to discuss why this is the case as this is beyond the scope of this article), and so it definitely won’t hurt to see a chiropractor. 

Plus, just as I think that people with nutritional deficiencies should eat better and take certain supplements to address them, I also think that anyone with a nervous system imbalance should get this addressed.  But of course being that I have a chiropractic background I’m naturally biased, and think that most people can benefit from chiropractic care, not necessarily to improve their thyroid health, but to help benefit their overall health.

In summary, I think it’s safe to conclude that most thyroid conditions are not caused by misalignments of the spine which in turn lead to nervous system imbalances.  On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that many people don’t have subluxations they’re not aware of, which is why I do think it’s a good idea for everyone to at least get checked out by a chiropractor. 

Plus, while most of the patients I deal with already have thyroid conditions, I’m all for preventing different types of conditions from developing, and most chiropractors admittedly do a fantastic job when it comes to wellness and prevention.  Even though these wellness programs aren’t specifically aimed at preventing thyroid conditions, seeing a chiropractor for wellness has numerous health benefits.

Can Acupuncture Cure A Thyroid Condition?

Okay, I made my pitch for chiropractic, but how about acupuncture?  Well, without going into as much detail, it really is a similar story.  Acupuncture has a lot of health benefits, but just as most people can’t have their thyroid condition cured by chiropractic care alone, the same concept applies with acupuncture treatments. But just like chiropractic care, acupuncture has many benefits, and perhaps from a symptom management perspective it can help some people with thyroid conditions. 

I should probably mention that some chiropractors and acupuncturists also provide nutritional counseling as well, but even the combination of chiropractic care and/or acupuncture, along with nutritional supplementation, usually won’t restore the health of someone with a thyroid condition.  And the reason for this has to due with the cause of most thyroid conditions.  I’ve said many times that while eating well and taking quality nutritional supplements are important with any natural thyroid treatment protocol, making these changes alone usually won’t be enough to restore one’s health back to normal.  And while someone who receives chiropractic care and/or acupuncture, along with eating well and taking quality nutritional supplements, will receive some great benefits and most likely see some positive changes, this most likely won’t be enough to cure their thyroid condition.

The reason I know this is from personal experience, as many years back I used to see a lot of people with fibromyalgia.  And while this condition isn’t exactly the same as a thyroid disorder, there are numerous similarities.  Plus, many people with fibromyalgia have thyroid conditions that aren’t picked up on the blood tests. 

Anyway, at the time I had a naturopathic physician working for me, and so most of my fibromylagia patients would receive spinal adjustments from myself, and nutritional counseling from the naturopath.  And in many cases these people felt better, but I noticed that they still didn’t receive optimal results. 

Once again, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and autoimmune thyroid disorders are different, but just like fibromyalgia, it takes numerous factors to restore one’s health back to normal.  I wish I had the knowledge then that I currently have, as I would have been able to help more people.  But the point I want to make is that fibromyalgia, thyroid disorders, and many other conditions take time to develop due to a combination of different factors, and therefore, just receiving passive treatments from a chiropractor and/or acupuncturist usually won’t cure these conditions.  And the same concept applies with taking nutritional supplements.

This is why I recommend that anyone with a thyroid condition see a natural endocrine doctor, as in most cases, the condition is just too complex for someone to self-treat.  Obviously there is plenty of marketing with regards to thyroid support boosters and other types of supplements which claim they can cure your condition, but unfortunately it’s just not this easy.  So for certain conditions and/or overall health benefits I think it’ great to see a chiropractor or acupuncturist, but for a thyroid condition, you should definitely see someone who focuses their practice on endocrine disorders.