Hypothyroid Treatment
How the Thyroid Works
What Is Hypothyroidism
Risk Factors for Underactive Thyroid
The Facts
The Symptoms
Natural Thyroid Treatment
Exercises for Hypothyroidism
Benefits of Exercises for Hypothyroidism
Best Strength Training Exercises for Hypothyroidism

More than 20 million Americans suffer from some form of thyroid disease. Hypothyroidism, a highly common thyroid condition, affects more than 12 percent of the U.S. population. Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid disease, occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone to support normal function in the body, as there is not enough thyroid in the blood. There are a number of risk factors, signs, and symptoms associated with hypothyroidism, but there are also many effective and efficient natural thyroid treatments to help patients manage their condition.

As Long Island’s Top Rated Local® wellness institute, our team at the Pollack Wellness Institute is here to help patients who suffer from hypothyroidism proactively to improve their overall health and wellness with a number of natural modern and ancient treatments. Please click on the links to learn a little more about us, to meet our doctors, and to read testimonials from many of our amazing patients. If you or someone you know suffers from underactive thyroid disease, or any other thyroid conditions, please contact us today to schedule an appointment at our Commack location or at our Plainview location.

How the Thyroid Works:

The thyroid gland is a small gland that is shaped like a butterfly and located in the lower front section of the neck below the larynx or “Adam’s apple.” The thyroid is made up of two lobes that are joined together by a small band of tissue called the isthmus, and the entire gland is situated along the windpipe. This gland makes thyroid hormones that are distributed to every tissue in the body by way of the blood stream. Thyroid hormone is essential for helping the body use energy efficiency while also helping the body stay warm. As it does this, thyroid hormone keeps the brain, heart, nerves, muscles, and other main organs functioning properly.

What Is Hypothyroidism?

We mentioned briefly what hypothyroidism is, but let us delve in a little deeper. Underactive thyroid disease is a very common chronic condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. When your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, it causes a chemical imbalance in the body that affects proper bodily function, which may disrupt body temperature, heart rate, and metabolism. Hypothyroidism may be caused by a number factors, including autoimmune disease, thyroid surgery, radiation therapy, certain medicines that prevent normal function of the thyroid gland, and some treatments for hyperthyroidism (when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone). Once you have hypothyroidism, you will most likely have it for life. While this condition is more common among women, men may also get this disease.

Risk Factors for Underactive Thyroid

You may be at risk for hypothyroid if:

  • You are a woman, especially women over the age of 50.
  • You have developed an inflammatory autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is a common cause of hypothyroidism.
  • You have a family history of thyroid conditions and/or autoimmune diseases.
  • You have an autoimmune disorder such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune diseases.
  • You have had thyroid surgery where all or a significant portion of your thyroid gland was removed.
  • You have had radiation treatment for cancers of the head or neck that may have affected normal function of the thyroid gland.
  • You have taken medications which contain lithium, amiodarone, interferon alpha, or iodine thyroid treatments.
  • Rare disorders that may affect normal function of the thyroid which can lead to underactive thyroid.

If you are at risk for underactive thyroid or know someone who is, contact Pollack Wellness Institute to schedule a consultation and to begin hypothyroid treatment in Long Island.

Facts About Underactive Thyroid

For those who suffer from hypothyroidism or are at risk for the disease, here some facts to help you better understand this condition:

  • With more than 20 million Americans who suffer from hypothyroidism, underactive thyroid disease is one of the most common health conditions.
  • More than 60 percent of those who have the disease may not even know it.
  • Women are more than five times more likely than men to experience thyroid issues.
  • Most thyroid diseases like hypothyroidism are chronic, meaning they are lifelong conditions that may not go away, yet can be medically treated and managed.
  • When hypothyroidism or any other thyroid disorders go undiagnosed, a patient becomes more at risk for other serious health conditions like osteoporosis, infertility, and several cardiovascular diseases.
  • While men are not as likely to get hypothyroidism, they may still get the disease and other thyroid conditions.
  • Women who are pregnant or become pregnant who have hypothyroidism or who have not been properly diagnosed may experience complications with their pregnancy.
  • There are treatments for hypothyroidism that can effectively treat and manage the associated symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

There are many signs and symptoms of underactive thyroid disease, yet it is a serious health condition that requires a proper diagnosis by a doctor. When you come in for a consultation before beginning hypothyroid treatment with us, Dr. Pollack will discuss with your your health problems, concerns, your health history, symptoms, upon which he will determine potential hypothyroid treatment options. Most importantly, a simple blood test for Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is the proven way to know whether or not you have hypothyroidism.

Keep in mind that as thyroid levels are depleted and reach lower than average levels, the body’s cells are unable to get enough thyroid hormone to warm and energize the body, which causes the body and body function to slow down. Here are the most common symptoms and signs associated with hypothyroidism:

  • Feeling cold, trouble keeping warm, and heightened sensitivity to cold temperatures.
  • Excessive fatigue and lethargy.
  • Sudden and unexplained weight gain.
  • Unexplained mood swings and/or changes in regular behavior.
  • Forgetfulness and depression.
  • Dry skin as a result of cooler body temperatures.
  • Constipation.

Natural Hypothyroid Treatment in Long Island

Hypothyroidism can’t be cured, but there are many hypothyroid treatments available that help patients manage the disease. There are treatments such as Thyroxine (T4) Replacement which is a synthetic thyroid hormone treatment that is meant to replicate as closely as possible a proper functioning thyroid gland. There are risks, however, when patients take thyroid hormone, as too much or too little can cause health complications. If a patient takes too little thyroid hormone, there is usually no change in hypothyroidism; if a patient takes too much, they risk developing an overactive thyroid gland or hyperthyroidism. When someone gets too much thyroid hormone, the symptoms of hyperthyroid may manifest and include:

  • Onset of fatigue but with the inability to rest or sleep.
  • Nervousness, jitters, and shakiness.
  • Heightened appetite.
  • Feeling hot, trouble cooling off, and heightened sensitivity to heat.
  • Muscle weakness and shortness of breath.
  • Accelerated and/or sensation of an irregular heart rate.

While Thyroxine (T4) Replacement may be the right treatment for some, there are several natural alternative therapies to manage and control a patient’s hypothyroidism safely and efficiently. We have listed these natural hypothyroid treatments below:

Acupuncture Treatments

Acupuncture is an effective natural treatment which helps correct imbalances in the body through the placement and insertion of fine needles into specific points located throughout the body. It is a component of Chinese medicine that addresses and treats most medical illnesses and hormone imbalances. Acupuncture may reduce symptoms associated with hypothyroidism and may also support and improve normal thyroid function. For those seeking alternative hypothyroid treatments in Long Island, acupuncture may be the right treatment option, especially for patients who do not wish to go the with synthetic treatments.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is an essential aspect of the healing process which may improve your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Massage therapy is an effective, non-invasive treatment that involves applying controlled pressure and soothing hand, finger, and elbow techniques to areas of the body to provide short-term pain relief and to improve function. Some of the greatest benefits of massage therapy is that it reduces stress, relieves anxiety, and encourages relaxation. A soothing massage with gentle, gliding strokes encourages calmness of mind and stillness of body, which can improve mood and manage depression associated with hypothyroidism. Additionally, massage reduces cortisol and other stress hormones to help manage a healthy weight. Massage treatments also help patients achieve:

  • Reduced pain and discomfort
  • Decreased muscle and joint tension and stiffness
  • Improved circulation
  • Increased flexibility and range of motion
  • Improved mobility and function
  • Strengthened muscles and joints to combat weakness and fatigue

Yoga

Yoga has many valuable characteristics for maintaining and improving overall health. Yoga is  a practice which involves stretching and strengthening using fluid movements while applying breathing techniques and improving balance. While you will want to consult with your doctor first, there are several yoga poses that may help relieve many issues associated with the thyroid. Here are some yoga poses to consider:

  • Fish Pose (Matsyasana): This gentle pose stretches the neck which stimulates the thyroid gland. It is perfect for thyroid patients because it relieves muscle and joint stiffness and tension in the neck, shoulders, and chest which helps reduce stress. This can help balance a patient’s mood and manage depression associated with hypothyroidism.
  • Bridge Pose (Setubandhasana): Like the fish pose, the bridge pose also stretches the neck when performed correctly and successfully. As this pose stretches your neck muscles, it will also activate your thyroid gland, relax your muscles and joints, calm anxiety, and reduce stress. This is also a wonderful stretch to improve your digestive system.
  • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): This pose involves stretching and compression which can regulate the thyroid glands. As the chest expands, the muscles open up allowing you to stretch the muscles in the front of the neck. This pose improves circulation, encourages flexibility in the entire back, and strengthens the neck and shoulder muscles. All of these benefits contribute to reducing stress and anxiety, relieving muscle tension, and calming the mind.

There are many yoga poses that may relieve symptoms related to underactive thyroid disease, so discuss the options with your doctor before trying these.

Nutritional Counseling

Getting a grasp on your diet can improve your overall health, which may also help you manage your underactive thyroid disease. Working with our nutrition team can provide hypothyroid patients with lifestyle advice, teach them corrective exercises, and offer methods for improving immune function, reducing digestive stress, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Food Tips for Managing Hypothyroidism

  • Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fresh fruits, but try to avoid broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.
  • Eat healthy fats found in olive oil, avocados, nuts, fish, and flax seeds.
  • Be sure to include high-fiber foods in your diet.
  • Up your protein game.
  • Reduce and even eliminate added sugar, caffeine, and refined carbohydrates.
  • Try switching to a gluten-free diet.

Self-Healing

Along with yoga, there are other ways you can manage your hypothyroidism.

  • Meditation: Holistic healing is one way to address issues related to underactive thyroid and meditation is one way to achieve wellness. Meditation is a self-empowering healing method which may improve the mental and spiritual issues caused by hypothyroidism such as unexplained mood swings, depression, forgetfulness, and increased stress. Meditating allows a patient to experience calm and stillness in the comfort of their own home, which can improve relaxation, reduce stress, stimulate clarity and focus.
  • Practice Relaxation: Relaxation means different things to different people. For some, going for a walk, taking a drive, or surrounding themselves with nature encourage calmness. For others, reading a book, watching a movie, gardening, or spending time with a pet is the best way to relax. Once you find what relaxes you, implement it into your daily routine to help reduce stress and alleviate mental, emotional, and physical drain.
  • Journaling: Many find journaling to be a soothing method of healing because it allows them to express their thoughts in writing without feeling any judgement. Writing down your thoughts also offers a chance for self-reflection which contributes to self-growth.

Please feel free to contact the Pollack Wellness Institute to meet with our team and learn more about how to manage your hypothyroidism in our office and at home. Your health and wellness are our priority, so call us today and let us help you heal.



Exercises for Hypothyroidism

Along with all of the wonderful, natural hypothyroid treatments in Long Island that we offer, physical activity is another beneficial treatment that can help you feel better and can help relieve some of the associated symptoms. Let’s look at some of the best exercises for an underactive thyroid.

Determine Which Exercises Are Best for You

Each patient experiences hypothyroidism differently, so there are some considerations to keep in mind when determining which exercises will best meet your needs. A good tip when beginning an exercise routine is to start a journal, which can help you express your goals, symptoms, concerns, and affirmations. Keeping a journal also allows you to log your workouts and comment about your experiences with them, which can be very helpful for tracking your progress. Here are some questions to ask yourself before beginning your exercise program:

  • What are the goals I hope to achieve?
  • What are the most common symptoms I experience regularly?
  • Is my condition well controlled?
  • How active am I currently?
  • Which hypothyroid treatments help the most?
  • Where do I want to exercise? (i.e., the gym, outdoors, aerobics classes, etc.)
  • When can I exercise so that I can maintain a regular workout routine?
  • Have I talked with my hypothyroidism treatment doctor about implementing exercise into my daily routine?

Once you have written down your goals, concerns, and have answered these and any other questions you may have, you’ll want to determine if low impact or high impact exercises will best meet your individual needs.

  • Low impact exercises are great for those who are just beginning an exercise routine, and those who are experiencing the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
  • High impact workouts may be a better option for those whose underactive thyroid condition and symptoms are well-controlled, and who are already more physically active.

Benefits of Fighting Hypothyroidism with Exercise

Exercise and physical activity are beneficial for anyone looking to improve their health and wellness, maintain a healthy weight, and encourage strong bones, muscles, and joints. For those with an underactive thyroid, however, exercise has many specific benefits that can offer all these benefits and more. Some of the benefits of exercising to fight hypothyroidism include:

  • First and foremost, exercise is the best way to not only achieve a healthy weight, but to also maintain a healthy weight. One of the most common side effects of underactive thyroid is weight gain, so regular exercise is a wonderful solution to shedding a few pounds. Additionally, for those who have been newly diagnosed with the condition, weight gain can affect your emotional and mental wellbeing. It is common for those who have gained weight to feel a drop in their confidence. Therefore, exercising regularly can not only improve your physical health, but can also improve your emotional, mental, and even spiritual wellness.
  • Regular exercise helps combat excessive fatigue and lethargy, two of the most commons symptoms associated underactive thyroid. These symptoms often contribute to weight gain because they can cause a person with hypothyroidism to feel tired frequently, sluggish on a regular basis, and unmotivated, all of which can make a patient feel less inclined to exercise or engage in any physical activity. These symptoms can make a person more inclined to sit frequently and for longer periods of time, which contributes to weight gain.
  • Regular exercise can improve your mood while also giving you a healthy boost of energy. Working out stimulates the body’s production of endorphins, those feel-good chemicals released from the pituitary gland of the brain, which can combat sluggishness, depression, and fatigue with feelings of pleasure and euphoria. This can help significantly with managing stress and anxiety, which are both common side effects of underactive thyroid. What’s more, endorphins, or neurotransmitters that transport electrical signals throughout the body, relieve pain, which can help reduce muscle and joint discomfort. As if these benefits aren’t enough, an endorphin release can also help regulate your appetite.

    • Exercise is essential for a healthy and strong cardiovascular system. As we mentioned in the last section, maintaining a healthy diet plays a significant role in natural hypothyroid treatments, as patients with this condition have to keep a watchful eye on their cholesterol, carbohydrate, and fat intake. Exercising regularly is another way those with the condition can manage their cholesterol to avoid cardiovascular diseases like heart disease. Please feel free to revisit our section on nutritional counseling to read healthy food tips for hypothyroidism.
  • Getting regular exercise is an excellent way to strengthen bones, muscles, joints, and connective tissue. Those with hyperthyroidism commonly experience muscle and joint pain, especially in the back, hips, knees, and ankles, so getting regular exercise helps to strengthen these joints and the muscles supporting and protecting these joints.
  • Exercising also helps patients with an underactive thyroid build muscle mass, which can gradually decline or atrophy as a result of inactivity and lower metabolism. Hypothyroidism lowers the body’s resting metabolic rate, which contributes to weight gain and obesity. Strength training builds muscle, increases heart rate, and improves energy, while also stimulating a healthy metabolism, all of which work to counteract the causes of weight gain.
  • Exercising regularly can improve sleep patterns which can often be affected by hypothyroidism. Because this condition has mental and emotional implications that can affect a person’s mood, increase stress, and contribute to anxiety, these can interfere with normal sleep patterns. Many patients may experiencing restlessness, trouble falling asleep, and insomnia, so exercising regularly can counteract these side effects.
  • Maintaining a regular exercise routine can enhance other hypothyroid treatments in Long Island provided by your doctor and specialists at Pollack Wellness Institute. These natural hypothyroid  treatments include acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and nutritional counseling, to name a few.

Best Exercises for Combating Hypothyroidism

Now that we have gone over the things you’ll want to consider before beginning a regular exercise regimen and the benefits of exercising to combat hypothyroidism, let’s look at some of the best exercises for patients with hypothyroidism. Remember, you will want to talk with your Pollack Wellness Institute hypothyroidism specialist before beginning your exercise regimen.

Low Impact Exercises

Low impact workouts are great for those hypothyroid patients who:

  • Are continuing to experience the symptoms associated with underactive thyroid.
  • Are just starting out with an exercise program.
  • Experience pain or discomfort in their neck, lower back, and extremities.
  • Have limited mobility due to a recent injury or recent surgery.
  • Have any other health conditions that may limit a high-impact workout.
  • Have been instructed by their doctor to avoid high-impact exercise.
  • Are seniors with limited mobility.

Best Low Impact Exercises for Hypothyroidism

Walking

There are so many benefits of walking to improve your overall health and wellness. It is easy on the joints and gives people a chance to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, which has health benefits for the mind and body. For those with an underactive thyroid, walking is the perfect low impact workout because it:

  • Gets your heart rate going without overexertion.
  • Helps shed those unwanted pounds while also preventing them from returning.
  • Is easy and fun to do.
  • Can be done anywhere without an expensive gym membership or equipment.
  • Can be performed at a low, moderate, or high pace.
  • Can be done with friends, family members, and pets.
  • Improves mood and energy.

Yoga

(Please link this to the “Yoga” section above – see madshot)

Yoga is soothing for body, mind, and soul. It is a low-impact workout that focuses on breathing, strengthening, and balance, all of which can improve many common symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. Click the link above to revisit the yoga section where we have listed three specific yoga poses for hypothyroidism.

Pilates

Pilates is similar to yoga but with a greater focus on strengthening the body’s core, including the abdomen, obliques, lower back muscles, hips, thighs, and glutes. Like yoga, pilates improves strength, flexibility, and balance, as well as coordination and endurance. This low impact exercise can help those with hypothyroidism lose weight, strengthen joints and muscles, and reduce pain and inflammation. It can also ease stress and anxiety, and regulate metabolism.

Water Aerobics

Water aerobics is easy on the joints but still provides an effective workout that increases the heart rate and helps you shed those unwanted pounds. The water provides you with resistance when doing aerobics while also allowing you to glide and move easily in the water. Water aerobics is particularly great for patients experiencing joint pain, inflammation, and joint swelling, especially in the knees and ankles, because the water is supportive for your joints.

Strength Training

Weight lifting or using your own body weight to strengthen your muscles helps you lose weight and burn calories. Additionally, building stronger muscles improves joint support while also reducing pressure on the joints that contributes to joint pain and inflammation.

Tai Chi

We mentioned the benefits of meditation for hypothyroidism in our last section, and you can think of Tai Chi as a form of meditation but with flowing movements. According to the Mayo Clinic, Tai Chi offers numerous health benefits including stress relief and an effective treatment for anxiety and depression. This low impact exercise focuses on improving the body, mind, and spirit using gentle and graceful flowing movements that can stimulate concentration and focus. Tai Chi is incredibly relaxing and therapeutic and can performed by people of all ages. This is a wonderful, low impact workout that can be easily implemented into a daily or weekly exercise routine.

Swimming

Swimming can be classified as both low impact and high impact exercise depending on the style and speed of swimming. For those patients with hypothyroidism, swimming at a slower pace may be a good way to start, especially for beginner swimmers. Doing the backstroke or breaststroke at a slow to moderate pace will burn calories, help you shed pounds, and give you leaner muscles. It is also a great way to relieve stress and anxiety while getting your heart rate up.

Yard Work

Yard work can be classified as a low impact workout because it gets the heart rate going, and it requires strength and movement. Whether you’re pushing the lawnmower, pulling weeds, or digging in the garden, yard work is a great way to get a low impact workout in.

These are just a few of the best low impact workouts for people with hypothyroidism, yet there are many more. Now, let’s look at some of the best high impact exercises for those with underactive thyroid.

High Impact Exercises

High impact workouts are great for those hypothyroid patients who:

  • Are managing their hypothyroid symptoms well.
  • Are already more physically active, and are active on a regular basis.
  • Have not experienced a recent injury.
  • Have not had a recent surgery.
  • Are not experiencing acute or current imobility.
  • Have discussed their exercise plan with your doctor at Pollack Wellness Institute.

Best High Impact Exercises for Hypothyroidism

Aerobics Workouts and Classes

Aerobics are a wonderful way for hypothyroid patients to burn calories, lose weight, and manage their symptoms. These exercises can be defined as engaging in a physical activity that increases your heart rate to what we refer to as your “target heart rate,” and that this level of activity is maintained for at least 20 minutes. Aerobics exercises can be performed in a gym, in an aerobics class at a local Long Island gym, or in the comfort of your own home by watching instructional aerobics videos. Aerobics can be both low or high impact, depending on your preference, rate of the activity being performed, where you do these workouts, and the type of aerobics you choose. One of the greatest benefits of aerobic workouts, other than burning calories and getting in shape, is that it increases your heart rate which encourages circulation and gives you a healthy boost of energy. This is great for those with underactive thyroid disease whose energy levels can be easily depleted as a side effect of the condition. Aerobics can be done in a variety of physical activities including, but not limited to:

  • Dancing and aerobic dance classes
  • Walking and speed walking outdoors or on a treadmill
  • Rowing
  • Skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating
  • Climbing stairs or using a stair climber
  • Jumping rope
  • Playing tennis, racquetball, or handball
  • Shooting hoops
  • And so much more!

Jogging or Running

Jogging and running are both great ways to burn calories, get your heart rate going, lose excess weight, and manage a healthy weight. These exercises are also very easy to adjust if you want to switch between moderate and high impact workouts by simply increasing or decreasing your speed. Either way, these aerobic activities have both physical, mental, and emotional benefits to help reduce various symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.

Biking, Cycling, and Mountain Biking

Biking could technically be considered low impact, too, because it is very easy on the knee and ankle joints. Additionally, you can ride a bike on a level surface, at slower pace, for any amount of time. It becomes a high intensity workout when the speed of travel is increased, and you’re rising on hills and inclines, which can cause the muscles, joints, cardiovascular system to work harder. Therefore, you can burn more calories with a higher intensity ride. Cycling is a great exercise for patients with hypothyroidism because it is versatile and can be adjusted easily to fit your specific needs.

Hiking

Hiking is a wonderful cardio workout that can be done at a slow, moderate, or fast pace, depending on your preference and experience. It is a great full body workout that can help those with hypothyroidism shed pounds, burn calories, get a healthy boost of energy, all while improving mental and emotional wellness.

Strength Training Exercises

Strength training activities work great for those patients with underactive thyroid who:

  • Are either experiencing hypothyroid symptoms or who are managing their symptoms well.
  • Are looking to burn calories, lose fat, build muscle, and strengthen joints and connective tissues.
  • Prefer blending low and high impact exercises.
  • Have not experienced a recent injury.
  • Have not had a recent surgery.
  • Are not experiencing acute imobility.
  • Have discussed your exercise plan with your doctor at Pollack Wellness Institute

Best Strength Training Exercises for Hypothyroidism

Body Weight Resistance

This is one of the easiest ways to engage in strength training because you do not need to purchase expensive equipment or join a gym to perform this workout. Using your own body weight as a workout tool will help you tighten and tone, elevate your heart rate, and strengthen muscles and joints. Some of the most common exercises that involve using your own body weight include:

  • Sit-ups and crunches
  • Push-ups
  • Squats and lunges
  • Leg lifts

These exercises are beneficial for hypothyroid patients who want to tone up, feel energized, and sleep better at night.

Weight Lifting

Lifting weights is a great way to start a low impact exercise routine. The key is to maintain proper form and to not overdo it once you get started. There is no reason to start lifting heavy weights when you’re just beginning; rather, it’s best to work up in weight gradually to gain the benefits of lifting weights properly, at a good pace, and without suffering an injury. If weight training with free weights or machine weights interests you, talk with your doctor at Pollack Wellness Institute before getting started.

Exercise with Resistance Bands

If you’ve worked with our Pollack Wellness physical therapists during sports injury rehabilitation therapies, you’re probably familiar with strength training with resistance bands. Resistance bands are similar to giant rubber bands that offer different levels of resistance, and they can be used just about anywhere. Resistance bands help strengthen and tone muscle, improve range of motion, and can strengthen joints for better mobility.