What Are The Symptoms
The main feature of Lyme arthritis is obvious swelling of one or a few joints. While the knees are affected most often, other large joints such as the shoulder, ankle, elbow, jaw, wrist, and hip can also be involved. The joint may feel warm to the touch or cause pain during movement. Joint swelling can come and go or move between joints, and it may be difficult to detect in the shoulder, hip, or jaw. Lyme arthritis typically develops within one to a few months after infection.
Treatments For Chronic Lyme Disease
A bite from a bacteria-infected tick causes Lyme disease. If you get the disease, you might have lingering symptoms. Some people have ongoing pain and fatigue, says Afton Hassett, PsyD, principal investigator at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at University of Michigan.
Possible Complications To Watch For With Lyme Disease
Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your dogs condition.
- Some dogs who take antibiotics can develop loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Once infected, a dog will always have the bacteria that cause Lyme disease in his or her body. Therefore, relapses are possible, and owners should be on the lookout for unexplained fever, swollen lymph nodes, and/or lameness.
- A small percentage of dogs develop kidney failure as a result of Lyme disease. Clinical signs include vomiting, weight loss, poor appetite, lethargy, increased thirst and urination, and abnormal accumulations of fluid within the body.
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When To Consider Testing For Lyme
You might be wondering if your joint pain could be related to Lyme disease, especially if youve had a blacklegged tick bite in the past.
The CDC estimates that a staggering 90% of cases of Lyme disease may go undiagnosed in the US each year. So while approximately 30,000 reported cases of Lyme reported annually, as noted, the actual number of cases may be closer to 300,000.
Lyme disease is often called the great imitator, because it mirrors many other diseases. These include, but are not limited to, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, unless you live in an area considered Lyme endemic, such as the northeastern United States, most conventional doctors may not think to test you for Lyme.
If your symptoms include waxing and waning flu-like symptoms, brain fog, fatigue, or joint pain, and if you think you may have had a tick bite in the past, consider asking your doctor for a test for Lyme disease. Remember that some people with Lyme experience have all of the above symptoms and more, while some experience just one. Also be aware that the ELISA test commonly given by conventional doctors is not always accurate, as it tests for antibodies that may or may not be present at the time of testing. My initial ELISA test came back negative it had been a year since my initial tick bite but my symptoms were in full force.
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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
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What Do I Do If I Find A Tick On My Skin
Dont panic. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skins surface as possible. Pull up with steady, even pressure. Be careful not to squeeze or twist the tick body. Sometimes parts of the tick remain in the skin. You can leave them alone or carefully remove them the same way you would a splinter. Do not use heat , petroleum jelly, or other methods to try to make the tick back out on its own. These methods are not effective.
Wash the area where the tick was attached thoroughly with soap and water. Keep an eye on the area for a few weeks and note any changes. Call your doctor if you develop a rash around the area where the tick was attached. Be sure to tell your doctor that you were bitten by a tick and when it happened.
Neck Pain From Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is commonly associated with tick bites and a big circular rash. However, a tick bite does not hurt and many people do not recall being bit or seeing the rash. Further complicating matters, Lyme disease symptoms may start out minor and not become problematic for months or longer.
Lyme disease causes neck pain in more than 30% of cases. Watch:Neck Pain Causes Video
Media reports rarely focus on neck pain with Lyme disease, but some estimates note that it occurs in more than 30% of the cases and is typically one of the earlier symptoms.1 Recognizing Lyme disease early and seeking treatment can make a big difference in the outcome.
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Essential Oils For Lyme Disease
It is believed that many essential oils have antimicrobial activities, and some people with persistent Lyme disease symptoms have turned to essential oils to help reduce symptoms of the disease.
Researchers tested 34 essential oils against B. burgdorferi in the lab and found cinnamon bark, clove bud, citronella, wintergreen, and oregano show strong activity against the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, even more effectively than daptomycin, the gold standard antibiotic many people with Lyme disease are prescribed.
These results indicate that essential oils show promise as treatments for persistent Lyme disease, but clinical trials are needed in order to show their effectiveness in humans.
When used properly, most essential oils are safe and free of adverse side effects. However, it is important to use them carefully. They can irritate the skin if not properly diluted, and some should not be taken internally.
Purchase high-quality essential oils that go through testing to ensure the product is safe to use. Follow the usage and dilution instructions on the label carefully. Talk with your healthcare professional before using essential oils to avoid drug interactions with any medications you are taking.
Overview Of Lyme Disease Pain Control
Most people with Lyme have pain. In this article I review the causes of Lyme pain and the steps a person can take to control and eliminate pain. I provide a strategy for controlling Lyme disease pain which uses:
- Anti-cytokine herbs and supplements to lower inflammation,
- Supplements that support repair of mitochondria cell energy factories,
- Low dose naltrexone ,
- Medical marijuana and/or CBD oil,
- Magnesium to relax muscles,
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Lyme Disease: Why Does Joint Pain Persist
Researchers have found clues that might lead to a treatment for Lyme arthritis. The secret may lie in the walls of the bacterium that causes the condition.
Lyme disease occurs when a person becomes infected with a tick-borne bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi.
Although doctors can often treat Lyme disease with antibiotics, if they do not catch it early, the bacteria can cause long-term issues with the individuals joints.
Lyme arthritis can persist for months or even years in some cases.
Researchers are still unsure why joint symptoms can continue long after antibiotics have destroyed the bacteria.
30,000 cases of Lyme disease among the United States population.
However, the true number of cases is likely to be much higher. In fact, the CDC estimate that there might be up to 300,000 cases each year.
According to the CDC, reports of Lyme disease have tripled since the late 1990s, and overall, tick-borne diseases are becoming more prevalent. This increase is due, at least in part, to rising global temperatures.
Due to the steady growth in the number of cases, scientists are keen to uncover more effective ways of treating the long-term symptoms.
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Treatment For Erythema Migrans
People treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Early diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease can help prevent late Lyme disease.
Treatment regimens listed in the following table are for the erythema migrans rash, the most common manifestation of early Lyme disease. These regimens may need to be adjusted depending on a persons age, medical history, underlying health conditions, pregnancy status, or allergies. Consult an infectious disease specialist regarding individual patient treatment decisions.
|100 mg, twice per day orally||N/A|
|500 mg, three times per day orally||N/A|
|500 mg, twice per day orally||N/A|
|4.4 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses||100 mg per dose|
|50 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 3 doses||500 mg per dose|
|30 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses||500 mg per dose|
*When different durations of antibiotics are shown to be effective for the treatment of Lyme disease, the shorter duration is preferred to minimize unnecessary antibiotics that might result in adverse effects, including infectious diarrhea and antimicrobial resistance.
NOTE: For people intolerant of amoxicillin, doxycycline, and cefuroxime, the macrolide azithromycin may be used, although it is less effective. People treated with azithromycin should be closely monitored to ensure that symptoms resolve.
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What Are The Second Stage Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
The symptoms of second stage, early disseminated, Lyme disease can be difficult to attribute. Symptoms include severe fatigue, fever, pain, intermittent weakness and achiness of the muscles and joints, numbness in arms and legs, vision changes, and cognitive dysfunction such as short-term memory difficulties and problems multitasking. These symptoms are not specific for Lyme disease and can make the diagnosis of second stage Lyme disease very challenging.
More recognizable Lyme disease nervous system manifestations include facial paralysis , or meningitis with severe headache and stiff neck. Notable cardiac manifestations include passing out or feeling faint from an abnormally slow heart rate, irregular heart palpitations, or unexplained difficulty tolerating exercise. Meningitis and carditis are both potentially serious Lyme disease conditions and warrant immediate medical attention.
Antimicrobials That Kill Growing Phase Cysts
Intracellular and Extracellular
Note: I work with the following agents as anti-cyst agents based on the mechanism by which these antibiotics work and some scientific experiments. For the Rifamycins, there are no laboratory experiments showing these agents work against cysts. Clinically, I see great benefit in using the Rifamycins as my anti-cyst agents – so I list them here.
- Rifampin 300 mg 2 pills 1 time a day or 1 pill 2 times a day
- Rifabutin 150 mg 2 pills 1 time a day
- Tinidazole 500 mg 1 pill 2 or three times a day usually pulsed for four days on then three days off of each 7 days
- Metronidazole 500 mg 1 pill 2 or three times a day usually pulsed for four days on then three days off of each 7 days.
- Grapefruit seed extract 250 mg 1 pill 2 times a day. Note this is an herbal antibiotic that I find as effective as the prescription options in this list.
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Infection Transmitted By Ticks
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection first described in 1975 in Old Lyme, Connecticut. It is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi,which is spread to humans through the bite of an infected blackleggedor deer tick. The transfer of bacteria occurs when a tick bites aninfected deer or mouse, then attaches to human skin and feeds over aperiod of 1 to 3 days.
Lyme disease, if recognized and treated with antibiotics,is a curable infection. The disease progresses in stages, with stage 1beginning a few days or weeks after an infected tick bite. Earlysymptoms resemble the flu, with muscle aches, headache, and fever. It isduring this early stage that the characteristic bulls-eye rash oftenappears as a red rash with a clear ring, with or without itching. Ifleft untreated, stages 2 and 3 disease can lead to joint, heart, andnerve problems over a period of weeks, months, and even years.
If a tick is found attached to the skin, it should beremoved by pinching the head with tweezers and pulling straight up. Thearea of the tick bite should be watched for several weeks for signs of abulls-eye rash or early symptoms of Lyme disease. If symptoms occur,treatment includes 2 to 4 weeks of antibiotics as well as nonsteroidalanti-inflammatory drugs for pain and stiffness in the musclesand joints.
Lyme Has Two Growth States
Research published in 2015 shows that Lyme has two different growth states. There is a growing phase of the germs and there is a persister phase. Think of the persisters as germs that are in hibernation. These persisters – hibernating phase germs – ignore regular standard antibiotics we traditionally use to treat Lyme.
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How You Get Lyme Disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.
Theyâre common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
Ticks donât jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something theyâre on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, youâre more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
Risk Factors For Post
Youre at a greater risk for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome if youre infected by the bite of a diseased tick. If the infection progresses to the chronic stage, your symptoms might continue for weeks, months, or even years after the initial tick bite.
You may also be at a higher risk for these long-term symptoms if youre not treated with the recommended antibiotics. However, even people who receive antibiotic therapy are at risk. Because the cause of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome is unknown, theres no way to determine whether it will progress to the chronic stage.
Typically, the symptoms of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome resemble those that occur in earlier stages. People with persistent symptoms often experience lingering episodes of:
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The Patient Who Suspects Chronic Lyme Infection
LD is so prevalent and well known that the public is well aware of its symptoms. Many patients, particularly those who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, degenerative arthritis, or neuropathies of unknown origin, believe they may have had unrecognized and undiagnosed LD. They may request recurrent LD testing and even antibiotic therapy, despite negative Lyme serologic tests.
In reality, some of these patients may be correct. The authors have encountered several patients who presented with a chronic pain syndrome such as fibromyalgia who were later found to have disseminated LD or PTLDS. At this juncture, we are not prepared to set out any specific diagnostic or treatment protocols. We do, however, believe that pain practitioners must consider LD as an underlying cause of pain in patients who present without a clear event or cause of chronic muscle, nerve, or joint pain. In addition to diffuse musculoskeletal and joint pathologies, cranial neuropathy , and radiculoneuritis are 2 of the most common presentations of acute, early neurologic LD. Given what appears to be an epidemic of LD, we will carefully monitor the situation and bring you updates through Practical Pain Management.
Chronic Lyme Pain & Headaches
The pain caused by Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses can be widespread and excruciating. It can affect muscles, joints, nerves and bones, and manifest in any area of the body. Treatment varies greatly depending on the type and severity of the pain, but it is important to take a multi-faceted approach. Medications and various alternative therapies all have their place in the treatment of pain symptoms. Pain medicine specialists can help determine the best treatment.
Pain can have a damaging impact on the immune system, adding to the importance of effectively treating it. Pain management is absolutely essential to those with compromised immune systems, because the pain experience further reduces the immune reaction. If you have Lyme disease pain, you are less likely to be active, to sleep properly, or to eat properly because your mind is constantly trying to fight off the pain response. There is little time for anything else, and it is consuming.
Absence, or at least management, of pain is a health necessity, especially in the sleep response. You can’t heal if you can’t sleep properly. And, your body is on constant alert, which imposes extra stress levels, which further reduces immunity! It’s a viscious circle!
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Key Points For Healthcare Providers