Fibromyalgia and Lyme Disease – Is there a link?
Although there are many differences between Fibromyalgia and Lyme disease, both conditions cause patients to have trouble swallowing, to suffer from insomnia consistently and to experience stiffness in their joints. Recent studies that were completed in 2012 show that the symptoms of lyme disease are associated with 300 other conditions and types of infections.
That being said, there is no doubt a link between Fibromyalgia and Lyme disease not only because both are difficult to diagnose with plenty of overlapping symptoms but also due to the fact that some Dr’s actually believe (controversially) that Lyme Disease may in fact trigger Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Three types of bacteria cause this disease, and all of these bacteria are found on ticks. If a person gets lyme disease after being bitten by a small bug, a rash will appear around the site of the bite within three days to 30 days.
At first, a physician can use antibiotics to eliminate the infection, but if left unchecked, lyme disease can affect the patient’s nervous system, the heart and the joints.
According to a compilation of studies, only 25 percent to 35 percent of patients who have been diagnosed with lyme disease recall being bitten by a tick.
This disorder causes moderate to severe pain in numerous parts of the patient’s body. An individual who has the condition is much more sensitive to pressure of all types, and patients usually report fatigue, a feeling of numbness and tingling that occurs sporadically.
Currently, researchers have not found the cause of this condition.
The Similarity Of The Symptoms
People who do not realize that they have lyme disease will begin to feel pain that occurs and subsides randomly. As a result, the body’s natural response will be to cause inflammation in the joints, which will result in the individual experiencing more pain.
In addition to the inflammatory response, advanced lyme disease will increase the body’s ability to sense pain of all types by affecting the nervous system.
Impairing The Body’s Immune System
Patients who have Lyme disease can live for years without noticing any of the condition’s symptoms, but usually, the signs of the disease appear when the person’s immune system is compromised.
Certain events that can weaken the body substantially enough to allow the disease to manifest include a traumatic injury, an event that triggers a release of cortisol and pregnancy. The administration of a vaccine to prevent a disease for which the body has not yet created antibodies can allow the signs of lyme disease to become evident.
When a patient begins to experience the pain of fibromyalgia, the person’s body will be weakened, and as a result, the symptoms of lyme disease may concurrently appear.
The Infection’s Effects On Hormones
The bacteria that cause the disease will slowly excrete neurotoxins that can decrease the amount of key hormones that the pituitary gland creates and releases. The hormones control the body’s response to pain and can limit the production of prostaglandins, which are compounds that trigger an inflammatory response.
If a person is diagnosed with lyme disease, doxycycline is usually injected near the bite or the rash. In order to simultaneously reduce the inflammation, a patient can ingest numerous herbs and medications, such as ginger, cinnamon and aspirin.
A study that was conducted in 2007 showed that injections of human growth hormone are able to substantially reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia by strengthening the immune system and replacing the hormones that the pituitary gland should be producing.
Additionally, countless physicians use tricyclic antidepressants to treat the condition, and other doctors recommend the use of muscle relaxers, such as tizanidine.
So although there are overlapping symptoms with these two conditions often getting mixed up and misdiagnosed, at the end of the day the course of treatment and general outcome couldn’t be more different and there are still no hard facts that point to Lyme disease being a trigger of Fibromyalgia.