Lyme The Nervous System And Neuropathy
Unfortunately, once the infection begins to spread throughout the body, many people will develop Lyme neuroborreliosis . This is neurological Lyme disease, which affects and inflames the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Research suggests the neurologic manifestations of Lyme disease may be present in approximately 15% of the patient population. However, the exact incidence of LNB isnt well known. A brief stint in an online Lyme patient forum will quickly reveal that most individuals report experiencing at least some amount of neurological involvement on a routine basis.
One debilitating symptom that may be present among those with LNB is peripheral neuropathy . This is a disease process that impacts the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord. Neuropathy occurs when there is damage or dysfunction of neurons in one or more nerves.
The damage results in interference among the neurons, and they begin to have difficulty communicating with each other and the brain.
To make matters worse, co-infections like Babesia and Bartonella can contribute to neuropathy as well, according to a study in the International Journal of General Medicine.
So how do you know if the symptoms youre facing are neuropathy, and what can you do to find some relief? Read on to learn about the symptoms, diagnosis, and ideas on how to manage the pain and discomfort associated with neuropathy more effectively.
How Can You Tell If You Have Lyme Disease And What Are The Symptoms
The common symptoms of Lyme disease are flu-like symptoms, like fatigue, fever, and headache. In some cases, Lyme disease can also cause joint swelling and pain, particularly in the knees. This is known as Lyme arthritis. Lyme disease can be hard to detect because its symptoms are similar to other illnesses.
What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, affecting an estimated 329,000 individuals in the United States each year. It is spread through the bites of infected blacklegged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks.
Lyme disease can cause fatigue, fever, and joint and muscle pain. When treated with antibiotics in the early stages, most people make a quick and complete recovery. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to serious joint and nervous system complications.
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Lyme Disease Manifesting As Acute Transverse Myelitis
Acute transverse myelitis is a neurologic disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord. This inflammation can damage or destroy the fatty substance protecting the nerve cell fibers along the spine and disrupt the communication between the nerves in the spinal cord and the rest of the body.
Clinical signs and symptoms depend on the affected region of the spinal cord, explains Kaiser and colleagues in a recently published case report, Lyme myelopathy: Case report and literature review of a rare but treatable disorder.
The causes of ATM include demyelinating processes, infections, autoimmune disorders, malignancies, vascular insults, and nutritional deficiencies, writes Kaiser.
There have been documented cases of Lyme-associated ATM, but they are rare. Only 25 cases have been reported in the literature. Three of those cases reported an erythema migrans or another rash and only 5 individuals reported a recent tick bite.
In the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, Kaiser describes the case of a 56-year-old man who developed transverse myelitis as a complication of Lyme disease.
The man, who was an avid gardener living in Pennsylvania, developed right back and flank pain , as well as numbness and tingling that eventually spread over the abdomen, writes Kaiser, from the University of Pittsburgh.
The mans signs and symptoms included:
There was some relief of pain with steroids and an antiviral medication.
Vision Auditory And Other Sensory Symptoms
In addition to aches and pains, many tick-borne diseases can cause vision and auditory issues such as those listed below:
- Light sensitivity has been linked to Bartonellosis .
- Retinal inflammation, which can cause blurred or distorted vision, has also been linked to Bartonellosis.
- Red eyes, clinically referred to as conjunctival injection, can be a sign of Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis , both of which can be hard to detect because of the variation in symptoms across patients.
- Sound sensitivity can be associated with Bartonellosis.
- Ringing in the ears can be a symptom of Babesiosis.
- Burning sensation on the skin and numb skin patches can both be signs of Bartonellosis.
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Determining The Source Of Your Symptoms
Again, its important to note that symptoms of tick-borne diseases in humans can vary greatly from person to person and can change over time if diseases are not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.
The presence of any one of the symptoms above does not alone guarantee that you have a tick-borne disease, but if you do experience them alongside any other potential symptoms, its important to talk to a trusted doctor and get tested immediately.
IGeneX is proud to offer highly accurate, highly sensitive diagnostic testing for all major tick-borne diseases in the U.S., including Lyme disease, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Bartonellosis, Babesiosis, and Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis. Learn more about IGeneX testing today.
Regression And Other Symptoms In Children
Children are the largest population of Lyme patients.
The CDC study of reported Lyme cases from 19922006 found that the incidence of new cases was highest among 5- to 14-year-olds . About one quarter of reported Lyme cases in the United States involve children under 14 years old .
Children can have all the signs and symptoms of Lyme that adults have, but they may have trouble telling you exactly what they feel or where it hurts.
You may notice a decline in school performance, or your childs mood swings may become problematic.
Your childs social and speech skills or motor coordination may regress. Or your child may lose their appetite.
Children are more likely than adults to have arthritis as an initial symptom 01267-2/fulltext#sec0040″ rel=”nofollow”> 25).
In a 2012 Nova Scotian study of children with Lyme, 65 percent developed Lyme arthritis . The knee was the most commonly affected joint.
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Diastolic Heart Murmur Nocturnal Back Pain And Lumbar Rigidity In A 7
Genn KamedaAcademic Editor: Received
A 7-year-old girl presented with nocturnal pain in her back and legs. The physical examination revealed a loud opening sound of the mitral valve and lumbar rigidity. With the exception of significantly increased anti-nuclear antibody levels, the immunological findings did not show any other abnormal parameters, also spinal magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound examination of the abdomen and pelvis yield no pathological findings. The lumbar puncture showed a lymphocytic pleocytosis as well as an intrathecal synthesis of Borrelia-specific antibodies. Echocardiography showed a thickened mitral valve with mild regurgitation. No other signs of florid endocarditis or myocarditis could be detected. Due to these findings, the diagnosis Lyme neuroborreliosis was made and an intravenous antibiotic therapy was given. The clinical symptoms subsided. Six months later, she had an almost normal mitral valve with only trivial mitral insufficiency. The association between the lumbar rigidity and the thickened mitral valve remains unclear. The case of our patient with nocturnal back and leg pain may be considered a rare case of Lyme neuroborreliosis with meningoradiculitis in children, and to our knowledge these symptoms together with cardiac involvement, such as a significantly thickened mitral valve, have not yet been described in the literature.
2. Case Report
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Part of a special WBUR series
Barbara MacLeod, a former anchor and reporter for New England Cable News, has lived with Lyme disease and the damage it causes since 1988. Her journey has been harrowing and painful. She shares it with us.
Barbara MacLeod: So it all started when I was about 25 years old. And I started suffering from strange symptoms: pain, fatigue, stuff I couldnt put my finger on. I was having trouble sitting, and I was having shoulder problems that would wake me up at night, every night. And I had just taken a job as an anchor, the main anchor, at a small cable station on Cape Cod, called Cape 11.
I had been there for about a year when I started having all these health problems. I would go to these doctors to try to figure out what the specific symptoms were. For my shoulder pain I was going to an orthopedic person, who would look at my shoulders and thought maybe it was overuse from tennis or racquetball, so maybe I had some type of arthritis with the knee pain I had a bad knee from ski-racing.
“I would always mention it to the doctors, that I thought that I might have Lyme disease, but nobody seemed to take it seriously.”
Nancy MacLeod : As parents, you hate to see your kids something getting in the way of them getting what they want and what theyre capable of doing.
This story was produced by WBUR’s .
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You Have A Fever And Chills But It’s Not The Flu Or Covid
Other common symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, and body aches.
If that trio sounds familiar, it’s because the symptoms can appear after any infection, such as COVID-19 or the flu. You can get tested at a doctor’s office to rule out other illnesses, but antibodies for Lyme disease typically don’t show up on tests for weeks after infection, according to the CDC.
Fredericks recommended checking for the bull’s-eye rash to set early Lyme disease symptoms apart from something like the flu.
How Long Does Lyme Neuropathy Last
Despite the fact that Lyme disease can be cured by taking antibiotics for two to four weeks, some patients may develop symptoms such as fatigue and pain lasting more than six months after the treatments have ended. Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome is a condition that can occur after treatment.
Lyme Disease: A Serious Infection With A Variety Of Neurological Symptoms
Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterium, causes the disease Lyme disease. Among the symptoms of Lyme disease are a fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and even seizures. Aside from the neurological problems associated with the disease, Lyme disease can also cause problems with the nervous system, particularly if it enters the central nervous system. When a person has Lyme neuroborreliosis, he or she can develop a variety of health problems, including brain problems. At least 15 to 40% of late-stage Lyme patients develop neurological disorders such as memory problems, concentration issues, and vision issues after contracting Lyme neuroborreliosis. The most common neurological symptoms caused by Lyme neuroborreliosis are cognitive impairment, stroke, and spinal cord infection. Because of the symptoms associated with Lyme disease, you should consult a medical professional as soon as possible. Your doctor may be able to recommend treatments that are tailored to the symptoms of your Lyme disease, but there are no guarantees when it comes to treating it.
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Check Your Body For Ticks After Being Outside In A Tick
If youve been in an area that may contain ticks, you should check your body for ticks. If you find a tick on your skin, remove it as soon as possible to prevent it from biting you or burrowing into your skin. There are several ways to remove a tick from your body. You can use tweezers to grab it by its head.
Alternatively, you can use some kind of oil to smother the tick and remove it without touching it. To prevent ticks from getting attached to your skin, you can wear light-colored clothing and tuck your pants into your socks. You should also avoid walking through tall grass and weeds, as these are ideal habitats for ticks.
Lyme And Neuropathy: How To Ease Nerve Pain Tingling And Weakness
Lyme disease can affect several systems of the body the brain, nervous system, joints, heart, and more.
The list of symptoms infected individuals can experience is expansive and varies from person to person.
Its one of the reasons a Lyme disease diagnosis may be controversial.
Yet, one thing everyone seems to agree on about the tick-borne disease is that it can significantly impact the nervous system, especially without prompt treatment in the early stages of the infection.
Unfortunately, Lyme often goes missed early on. The telltale sign of a Lyme infection an erythema migrans rash, or the classic bulls-eye rash doesnt occur in every case. .
And the initial symptoms of infection may be nothing more than fever, chills, headache, fatigue, or muscle aches, making them easy to miss or brush off as a case of the flu.
But as the disease advances, the bacteria associated with Lyme, Borrelia burgdorferi, spreads via the bloodstream to other parts of the body, a process known as dissemination. This occurs in the days and weeks following infection, referred to as early disseminated Lyme disease.
If an infection goes untreated for months to years, however, theres a good chance the infection will proceed to late stage or late disseminated Lyme disease, sometimes called chronic Lyme disease. Thats when the nervous system can become involved, and symptoms ratchet up to a whole new level.
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Where Are Ticks Found
Ticks are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America. There are a high number of ticks in the Scottish Highlands.
They can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.
They’re common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
The Lyme Disease And Digestive Symptom Connection
Since Lyme disease is a systemic infection, the bacteria can affect any organ or tissue in the body. The gastrointestinal symptoms of Lyme disease and its associated infections are related to inflammation, nerve damage, and mitochondrial dysfunction. These digestive symptoms or conditions may occur in isolation, but if systemic symptoms are present or the digestive disorders are challenging to treat, Lyme disease should be considered as the underlying culprit. In addition, treating digestive disorders improves the outcome of treating Lyme disease by reducing intestinal-mediated immune dysregulation.
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Back Pain In Child Caused By Lyme Disease: A Case Report
Science Direct has just published a case report of a child in Massachusetts that was diagnosed and treated in the ER with isolated Lyme radiculoneuritis . The childs symptoms included fever and allodynia of the upper back. Though isolated radiculoneuritis is considered to be a rare presentation of early disseminated Lyme disease, authors state that this syndrome is likely underrecognized.
Laboratory results for the patient showed elevated inflammatory markers as well as a positive test for Borrelia. Additionally, nerve root enhancement was observed in C5-C6 and C6-C7 of the spine through MRI exam with contrast. The child was treated with oral doxycycline and symptoms resolved.
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The Problem Of Being Successfully Treated For Lyme Disease And The Continuation Of Symptoms
This is a frustration we often see in our cervical spine instability patients. They have been declared recovered, yet symptoms persist.
In December 2017 research paper, lead by Alison W Rebman at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine these observations:
Although a physical exam and clinical laboratory tests showed few objective abnormalities, standardized symptom questionnaires revealed that patients with post-treatment Lyme Disease symptoms are highly and clinically significantly symptomatic, with poor health-related quality of life.
Post-treatment Lyme Disease symptoms patients exhibited levels of fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbance, and depression which were both clinically relevant and statistically significantly higher than controls.
As the prevalence of post-treatment Lyme Disease symptoms continues to rise, there will be an increased need for physician education to more effectively identify and manage post-treatment Lyme Disease symptoms as part of integrated patient care.
A second paper published in 2021 , and again lead by Alison W. Rebman at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine made many observations into the symptoms of Lyme Disease. Some of these findings included neck pain of unknown origin. Here are some brief learning points from this paper.
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Can Lyme Disease Cause Sciatica
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick. Lyme disease can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, and headaches. In some cases, Lyme disease can also cause sciatica, a condition that causes pain in the lower back and legs.
Lyme disease is sometimes associated with meningitis, which causes inflammation of the protective tissues covering the brain and spinal cord, as well as neck pain and stiffness.
A nerve root can be found in the limbs of up to 5% of people, as well as in the chest and abdomen, as 20% of people. Except for Lyme disease, inflammation causes the pain rather than pinching the nerve in your neck or back.
If you have Lyme disease, you may experience muscle soreness or joint pain. It is common for your knees to be affected, and joint pain can become more severe as the disease progresses.
The symptoms of multiple sclerosis and Lyme disease can include numbness or tingling. This weakness should be overcome. It is difficult to walk.