What Are The Side Effects Of Lyme Disease Treatments
Antibiotics, like all medications, have the potential for side effects. Any antibiotic can cause skin rashes, and if an itchy red rash develops while on antibiotics, a patient should see their physician. Sometimes symptoms worsen for the first few days on an antibiotic. This is called a Herxheimer reaction and occurs when the antibiotics start to kill the bacteria. In the first 24 to 48 hours, dead bacterial products stimulate the immune system to release inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that can cause increased fever and achiness. This should be transient and last no more than a day or two after the initiation of antibiotics.
The most common side effect of the penicillin antibiotics is diarrhea, and occasionally even serious cases caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile. This bacterial overgrowth condition occurs because antibiotics kill the good bacteria in our gut. It can be helpful to use probiotics to restore the good bacteria and microbiome balance.
Managing Lyme Arthritis Pain: Can Herbs Help
Stephen Harrod Buhner is a well-known herbalist and author who specializes in the treatment of Lyme disease and co-infections. His book, Healing Lyme, Natural Healing of Lyme Borreliosis and the Coinfections Chlamydia and Spotted Fever Rickettsioses, is based on extensive research on Lyme disease and was the first book I bought after my Lyme diagnosis. It offers an exhaustive description of what occurs during Lyme infection, as well as a detailed herbal protocol that Ive been following for the past 3 years.
Buhner writes that Lyme joint pain is caused by the way Borrelia burgdorferi interacts with joint spaces in the body. According to Buhners book, The most important thing to understand about Lyme disease is that the bacteria have an affinity for collagenous tissue. This is at the root of every symptom they cause… Wherever feed on those tissues is where the symptoms occur.
Joints are largely composed of collagen both cartilage and synovial fluid are collagenous structures. Lyme bacteria break down and eat collagen wherever they lodge. As you can imagine, this leads to inflammation and pain.
Lyme can plant itself into any collagenous tissue in the body meaning it can infect any joint space. It can also choose the myelin sheaths around nerve tissue in the brain or spinal cord, also made of collagen. This results in neurological symptoms, and is another reason Lyme patients symptoms and pain are so different.
Lyme Disease Joint Pain And Arthritis
Lyme disease and joint pain unfortunately go hand in hand, as Lyme-related arthritis is commonly found in Lyme disease sufferers. If you have Lyme arthritis, you have swollen, painful joints that cause stiffness and pain. It is found in people who are in the late stages of Lyme disease. According to an article in Science Daily, approximately 60 percent of patients with untreated Lyme disease will develop related arthritis.
Lyme arthritis is caused by the bacteria that causes Lyme disease getting into your joints and causing inflammation of your tissues. Over time, this can cause damage to your cartilage. Most cases of Lyme arthritis are short-lasting and affect only one large joint.
Lyme arthritis can affect your:
In the U.S., its estimated that about 60 percent of untreated Lyme disease patients will experience intermittent episodes of swelling and lyme disease joint pain for months to years after they are infected by a tick bite.
Thankfully, most Lyme arthritis cases can be treated with antibiotics and NSAIDs, although some people may require surgery to remove some diseased tissue. Around ten percent of untreated patients may go on to develop chronic arthritis, reports Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center.
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How Is Lyme Arthritis Treated
Most children with Lyme arthritis recover after 28 days of antibiotic treatment. The most common antibiotics prescribed for Lyme disease are:
- Doxycycline for children eight years of age or older
- Amoxicillin for children under eight years of age
If the symptoms persist after a course of antibiotics, a second course of antibiotics may be prescribed.
In persistent cases of Lyme arthritis, your rheumatologist may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs , or intra-articular corticosteroids.
Diet & Targeted Exercise Can Help Lyme
If you have Lyme disease, discuss a protocol for killing the bacteria with your doctor. Of course, this is imperative for eliminating symptoms.
That said, most Lyme protocols take time, and there is much more you can do during treatment to mitigate symptoms of pain.
For instance, Dr. Farshchians clinic advises people with Lyme arthritis to decrease any environmental factors that may contribute to inflammation, such as mold exposure or mast cell activation . Addressing common comorbidities often makes a significant improvement in symptoms, she says. In addition, her clinic aims to help patients reduce inflammation organically through diet, lifestyle, anti-inflammatory herbal supplements, medications, light therapy, Epsom-salt baths, and exercise.
In my experience and that of my clients, all these approaches can be helpful. Below are a few of my favorite strategies.
1. Rolling with a foam roller
One thing you can easily do at home is to roll tight tissue in your body with a foam roller. This helps to lengthen and release tension in your fascia, or connective tissue.
Rollers are inexpensive and available online. Just play with gently rolling the muscles surrounding painful joints, or really any sore muscles at all, with the roller. If you need ideas for how to experiment with this, this video demonstrates my favorite ways to roll.
2. Gentle strengthening
3. A low sugar diet
When to Consider Testing for Lyme
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What Are The Risk Factors For Post Treatment Lyme Disease
Risk factors for Post Treatment Lyme Disease include:
- Delay in diagnosis
- Increased severity of initial illness
- Presence of neurologic symptoms
Increased severity of initial illness, the presence of neurologic symptoms, and initial misdiagnosis increase the risk of Post Treatment Lyme Disease. PTLD is especially common in people that have had neurologic involvement. The rates of Post Treatment Lyme Disease after neurologic involvement may be as high as 20% or even higher. Other risk factors being investigated are genetic predispositions and immunologic variables.
In addition to Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, there are several other tick-borne co-infections that may also contribute to more prolonged and complicated illness.
Who Gets Lyme Disease
Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia too.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Post
Doctors have known for years that they cannot rely on a physical exam to diagnose early Lyme disease unless they find an erythema migrans rash, Bells palsy, or heart block. Now, Rebman and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine acknowledge that doctors also cannot count on a physical exam to diagnose Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome .
In their article published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, the authors state, Results from the physical exam and laboratory testing our sample of patients with PTLDS did not show a pattern of significant objective abnormalities. However, the most notable exception was the higher rate of diminished vibratory sensation on physical exam among participants with PTLDS.
Following treatment for Lyme disease, it is uncommon to find objective clinical manifestations in patients with PTLDS, according to the researchers. In fact, a much more likely scenario after treatment is the persistence or development of subjective symptoms without any residual or new objective manifestation.
But the authors did discover a collection of symptoms among the Lyme disease patients which, when looked at as a whole, indicated the presence of problems post-treatment. For example, Although only found in a small subset of our sample , two participants met criteria for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, an autonomic condition that has been previously reported following Lyme disease.
Causes Of Lyme Disease Joint Pain: Can Lyme Disease Cause Arthritis
Lyme disease is spread by ticks and can usually be treated with antibiotics if the symptoms are caught early.1,2
However, if Lyme disease is not treated, the bacteria can spread to the joints and cause Lyme disease joint pain.3,4This is just one of many symptoms of the disease but one that can be particularly painful and debilitating.
Many people wonder if this type of joint pain truly is arthritis or whether it will only last as long as Lyme disease is present in the body.
This article will address the question of whether Lyme disease can cause arthritis and some effective ways to cope with Lyme disease joint pain.
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Lyme Arthritis: How To Ease And Prevent Joint Pain And Swelling
Painful joints and swollen knees have remained a common manifestation of Lyme disease since it was first diagnosed as a separate condition in the mid-1970s. In fact, a study in Arthritis and Rheumatism recounted the first cases of what would come to be known as Lyme arthritis in 1977.
In this historical study, the authors examined 51 residents from three neighboring communities near the town of Lyme, Connecticut. The individuals affected by the mystery illness included 39 children and 12 adults. The residents experienced pain and swelling in larger joints of the body, with the most typical presentation occurring in the knee.
The incidences of pain and swelling tended to develop in an asymmetric fashion, meaning the symptoms occurred on one side of the body. About 25% of the patients involved in the study also described the appearance of a unique skin lesion resembling a bulls-eye approximately four weeks before the onslaught of arthritic symptoms.
Remarkably, all of the cases surfaced in people who lived in rural, wooded areas with the peak rate of incidence happening in June through September. In contrast, other arthritic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, had never occurred among groups of community members or during specific months of the year before, making the novel mystery illness distinct from those with similar symptomatology.
Synovial Fluid Pcr For B Burgdorferi
Although reported in a few patients, it is exceedingly difficult to culture B. burgdorferi from synovial fluid in patients with Lyme arthritis. This is presumably due to the fact that joint fluid, with its many inflammatory mediators, is an extremely hostile environment. In spiked cultures, adding small amounts of joint fluid results in rapid killing of spirochetes. In contrast, polymerase chain reaction testing of synovial fluid for B. burgdorferi DNA often yields positive results before antibiotic therapy ,, and usually becomes negative following antibiotic treatment. However, spirochetal DNA may persist after spirochetal killing, which limits its use as a test for active infection. Moreover, PCR testing has not been standardized for routine clinical use. Therefore, in most cases, the appropriate clinical picture and a positive serologic result are sufficient for diagnosis of Lyme arthritis, and PCR testing serves as an optional test to further support the diagnosis.
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Defining Patient Subgroups: Post
Patients with persistent symptoms related to Lyme disease likely represent a heterogeneous population, which includes previously untreated patients, as well as those treated patients who remain symptomatic. As a result, some will manifest primarily patient-reported symptoms while others will present with symptoms in conjunction with objective, physical findings. This heterogeneity is further complicated by variation in terminology and the definitions used by different groups in the field.
A schematic of clinical- and research-defined patient subgroups among those with persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease . The size of each patient subgroup is not meant to represent actual population frequency, as prevalence data is extremely limited. IDSA, Infectious Diseases Society of America ILADS, International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society CLD-PT, Chronic Lyme Disease-Previously Treated CLD-U, Chronic Lyme Disease-Untreated IgG, Immunoglobulin G CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome FM, Fibromyalgia.
Symptoms Of Post Treatment Lyme Disease
- Include severe fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, & cognitive problems
- Can significantly impact patients health and quality of life
- Can be debilitating and prolonged
Our research indicates the chronic symptom burden related to PTLD is significant. Although often invisible to others, the negative impact on quality of life and daily functioning is substantial for PTLD sufferers.
The chronic symptom burden related to Lyme disease is considerable, as shown on the left side of the graph above, and statistically significantly greater than the aches and pains of daily living experienced by the control group, on the right.
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Lyme Disease Often Leads To Lyme Arthritis
Although Lyme disease may affect many organs, such as the heart and nervous system, joint involvement tends to be the most common and persistent manifestation, resulting in joint swelling and pain. About 60% of people who are infected with Lyme develop arthritis unless they receive antibiotics.
In most, Lyme arthritis resolves after 30 days of treatment with an oral antibiotic, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin. Individuals with persistent symptoms despite an oral antibiotic usually respond to treatment with an intravenous antibiotic for 30 days. However, about 10% of those with Lyme arthritis fail to respond to antibiotic treatment, for reasons that have long been unclear.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
As the symptoms and signs of Lyme disease are similar to those found in other conditions and are nonspecific, diagnosis is not easy. In addition to this, the ticks that spread the disease can also transmit other diseases at the same time.
Diagnosis is easier when your doctor can see that you have the characteristic bulls eye rash. However, if you dont, your doctor will ask you about your medical history, whether youve been outdoors in summertime, where you have been outdoors and will give you a medical examination.
Lab tests enable bacteria antibodies to be detected in order to confirm a diagnosis. They are most reliable when youve had the infection for a few weeks, as your body will then have had the time to develop the antibodies.
Tests for Lyme disease include:
- Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test. This is the test most commonly used to diagnose Lyme disease, and it detects antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Sometimes the test brings up a false-positive so its not typically used as the sole test for diagnosis.
Although the test may not show as a positive result during the first stage of Lyme disease, often the accompanying rash is distinctive enough to make the diagnosis, especially if youve been in an area where Lyme disease-transmitting ticks are common.
- Western blot test. If the initial ELISA test comes back positive, the Western blot test will confirm your diagnosis.
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Key Points For Healthcare Providers
Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
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Lyme disease is an underreported, under-researched, and often debilitating disease transmitted by spirochete bacteria. The spiral-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, are transmitted by blacklegged deer ticks. Lymes wide range of symptoms mimic those of many other ailments, making it difficult to diagnose .
The blacklegged ticks can also transmit other disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These are known as coinfections . These ticks that transmit Lyme are increasing their geographical spread. As of 2016, they were found in about half the counties in 43 of 50 states in the United States .
Lyme is the fifth most reported of notifiable diseases in the United States, with an estimated 329,000 new cases found annually . Some studies estimate that there are as many as 1 million cases of Lyme in the United States every year .
Most people with Lyme who are treated right away with three weeks of antibiotics have a good prognosis.
But if youre not treated for weeks, months, or even years after infection, Lyme becomes more difficult to treat. Within days of the bite, the bacteria can move to your central nervous system, muscles and joints, eyes, and heart .
Here is a list of 13 common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
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Other Integrative And Restorative Therapies
Modalities to help improve strength, mobility, and flexibility can help to relieve pain temporarily. Over time, improved function may help reduce the underlying cause of the pain. I am a big fan of hands-on treatment by a trained professional.
The following is a partial list of therapies you might consider.:
- Neuromuscular electrical stimulation
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
- Ultrasound therapy
- Vagus nerve stimulation
Lyme Sci: 12 Ways You Can Help Yourself Manage Chronic Pain
Chronic paindefined as ongoing pain that continues for longer than six monthsis a common complaint of patients with persistent Lyme disease.
For the past 40 years, the medical definition of chronic pain was more narrowly defined, including only those patients with actual or potential tissue damage.
Recently, with the help of researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, the International Association for the Study of Pain has made a subtle but important change to the medical definition of pain.
The new definition, An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damages, is important as it includes the pain caused by an overstimulated nervous system, commonly associated with chronic pain.
This new more inclusive definition, if adopted by insurance providers, could have a positive impact on access to health care for disempowered and neglected populations.
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