Thyroid pain is unpleasant to begin with, but given the important functions the thyroid gland is responsible for, any indication that something might be wrong with it can create a great deal of worry.
There are a number of different things that can adversely affect the thyroid, some of which can cause thyroid pain. The pain may be a symptom of something that can be relatively easily treated, but on the other hand, there are serious conditions as well that can cause thyroid pain. Not knowing what the cause is, it's always very important to bring it to the attention of your care provider so that tests can be taken to see what is wrong. In the meantime, you may be given medication to relieve the pain or reduce inflammation, which usually accompanies any pain.
Thyroiditis - If you have thyroid pain, you may have thyroiditis. Thyroiditis is not so much a disease as it is a condition, specifically a condition of experiencing pain in the thyroid gland. Some disorders of the thyroid cause no pain, while others do. In a sense, the pain is a good thing, as it is an easily recognized symptom of something that is wrong, and alerts you to the fact that you should see a doctor.
Several Types Of Thyroiditis - A common type of thyroiditis is Hashimoto's thyroiditis which is associated with temporary instances of hypothyroidism, the condition where the thyroid gland is not producing a sufficient amount of the hormones our body requires.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis, if untreated can result in permanent hypothyroidism which, fortunately can be treated.
Another type of thyroiditis is called Subacute thyroiditis, usually caused by a virus which attacks the thyroid gland. This is a condition which normally goes away on its own, along with the thyroid pain, but can in some cases, cause hypothyroidism.
Women at times can experience thyroid pain due to postpartum thyroiditis, when antibodies attack the thyroid gland following delivery of a baby. Drugs, bacteria, and radiation treatments can also cause thyroiditis and thyroid pain.
Hypothyroidism And Hyperthyroidism - Two major disorders of the thyroid gland are hypothyroidism, discussed above, and hyperthyroidism, the condition where the thyroid is producing an excessive amount of hormones. Thyroid pain is but one symptom of either of these conditions, and is not necessarily experienced in all cases.
A hypothyroid condition may cause pain in the body elsewhere, but not in the thyroid gland.
Other symptoms include:
Low blood pressure
Weight gain, as metabolism slows down
Hyperthyroidism on the other hand, speeds up metabolism, causing:
Possible weight loss
High blood pressure
Problems with vision
and many other symptoms.
Thyroid pain is not one of the major symptoms of hyperthyroidism, though it could be present.
Goiter Is Another Cause- Another cause of thyroid pain is goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland causing among other things, tenderness in the area around the thyroid gland.
A goiter will often have to be dealt with surgically if it becomes sufficiently large to cause pain or other problems.
The other main contributor to thyroid pain, especially hypothyroidism can usually be treated with medication. Often, over the counter medications are sufficient. Any treatment, though, should be under supervision of a primary care provider.
Test will usually need to be conducted to get at the root of the cause of thyroid pain and, more importantly, to see if there is an underlying condition or disease that requires special treatment.
It is probably safe to say, that the vast majority of conditions leading to thyroid pain are not serious or at least life-threatening. There is always the occasional exception, however, so when pain is first experienced, don't delay in seeing your doctor.