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Larry Langdon
/ Categories: Lyme Disease

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia and Myofascial pain syndrome are the most common causes of chronic muscular pain and exhaustion (MPS). Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes extensive musculoskeletal pain, as well as fatigue, sleep, cognitive, and mood problems.

Fibromyalgia is thought to disrupt the way the brain processes pain signals, causing pain to be amplified. Myofascial pain syndrome is a variant of fibromyalgia that shares many symptoms with the disease. MPS is defined by localised pain in regional muscle groups, such as the jaw, neck, or lower back, whereas fibromyalgia is characterised by widespread pain across the body.

In MPS, there are a few tender trigger points in the muscles that can cause localised discomfort. They can also result in referred pain. Fibromyalgia is linked to a variety of tender sites that are more widespread. Tender points are different from trigger points in that they do not induce transferred pain. Tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety, and depression are common in fibromyalgia sufferers.

Although fibromyalgia and MPS are chronic illnesses with no cure, there are a number of therapy options that can assist to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.


What Are The Symptoms and Signs of  Fibromyalgia?

The following symptoms are common among fibromyalgia patients:

• There is a lot of suffering for patients. For at least three months, the pain is persistent and dull. The discomfort can be felt all over the body, on both sides, and below and above the waist.

• Fatigue: Fibromyalgia patients are usually exhausted, and they may wake up tired despite sleeping for long periods of time. It's possible that the pain will keep you awake at night. Other sleep abnormalities, such as restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea, are also present in the patients (temporary cessation of breathing during sleep).

• Problems with cognition: This condition is also known as "fibro fog." The ability to focus and pay attention to mental work is hindered by fibromyalgia.


What Causes Fibromyalgia?

Although the specific causes of fibromyalgia, a number of factors have been discovered to play a role in their development. These may include the following:

• Genetics. It has been discovered that fibromyalgia and MPS run in families. Certain genetic mutations may raise the likelihood of getting the illness.

• Infections. Certain systemic disorders have been linked to the onset or exacerbation of the condition.

• Suffering from physical or emotional trauma. Acute psychological stress or physical trauma, such as an accident, can sometimes trigger fibromyalgia and MPS.


What Are The Fibromyalgia Risk Factors?

• Female sex is a risk factor for fibromyalgia. Women are more likely than men to suffer from fibromyalgia and MPS.

• Your ancestors. The likelihood of having a positive family history rises.

• Other afflictions Other diseases, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, can make you more vulnerable.


What Triggers Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

There may be no discernible trigger in most cases.  Acute psychological stress, physical trauma, surgery, or other systemic infections can all trigger symptoms.


What Are The Treatment options  For Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia treatment options include:

• Analgesics. Symptoms can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medicines such acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and prescription pain treatments. Narcotics are rarely used since they can develop addiction and exacerbate pain over time.

• Antidepressants. Antidepressants and muscle relaxants, such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) or milnacipran (Savella), may be administered to aid with the pain and exhaustion associated with fibromyalgia.

• Anti-epileptic drugs. Certain types of pain may benefit from medications used to treat epilepsy.

• Physical and occupational therapy. Exercises that enhance strength, flexibility, and stamina can be taught by a physical therapist. Water-based exercises could be especially beneficial.

• Occupational therapy services. An occupational therapist can assist you in making changes to your work environment or the way you do specific duties to reduce stress on your body.

• Stress reduction. In the therapy of fibromyalgia, managing physical and emotional stress is critical. Deep-breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation can all aid with stress management. It may be necessary to seek professional counselling from a therapist.

• Getting enough rest. Because fatigue is a common symptom of fibromyalgia, getting enough rest and maintaining good sleep hygiene are key.

• Diet and exercise. Exercise can increase pain at first, but it gradually reduces pain when done on a regular basis. Walking, swimming, biking, water aerobics, yoga, and dance are all examples of exercises. In the management of fibromyalgia, a physical therapist can assist in the development of an exercise plan, as well as eating a good, balanced diet and minimising caffeine use.


What Happens If Fibromyalgia is Left Untreated?

Fibromyalgia is typically not life-threatening, but can have a negative impact on one's quality of life. The illnesses cause pain, weariness, and a lack of sleep, which can make it difficult to operate at home or at work. Patients may become disappointed as a result of their illness, which can lead to anxiety or despair. These problems can be controlled with the right treatment.


How are Fibromyalgia and Lyme linked?

Intense pain and muscle aches, headaches, cognitive difficulties such as brain fog and memory lapses, neurological issues, depression, anxiety, and unremitting exhaustion are all signs of Lyme disease which are similar to fibromyalgia. However, many may be unaware of how widespread Lyme disease is. Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the world. Lyme Disease has symptoms that are similar to fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalomyelitis), rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as psychiatric disorders including sadness and anxiety. These similarities can result in being misdiagnosed.

If one has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, they may have been tested for Lyme disease as well before the doctor ruled out the possibility of fibromyalgia. If the test came back negative, does that mean you don't have Lyme disease since the blood test for Lyme disease was found to be unreliable, and roughly 56 percent of Lyme disease patients tested negative. For fibromyalgia patients, this suggests that a certain number of those diagnosed with FM may actually have Lyme disease.

If one suspects they have Lyme disease, it is strongly advised tp consult a doctor doctor and schedule any necessary tests.

The pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is the of Lyme disease, can cause fibromyalgia. However there are several other pathogens that can also trigger fibromyalgia.


What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease, commonly known as Lyme borreliosis, is one of the most prevalent infectious diseases spread by ticks. It is a potentially fatal bacterial infection caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which is transferred to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks.

When a person becomes infected, bacteria migrate through the bloodstream and impact different sections of the body. Lyme disease is a long-term infection characterised by an inflammatory illness that affects numerous systems including the skin, joints, heart, and brain system if left untreated.

Anyone who has been bitten by an infected tick can get Lyme disease. In the United States and Europe, it's the most frequent tick-borne infection. Antibiotics are usually effective in curing Lyme disease, especially when started early.


How is Lyme Disease Transmitted?

Borrelia burgdorferi is a spirochete (a flexible spirally twisted bacterium) that causes Lyme disease (B burgdorferi). Tick bites from infected pinhead-sized black-legged ticks or deer ticks spread the disease to humans (of genus Ixodes).

After feeding on infected deer, birds, or mice infected with B burgdorferi, ticks pick up the infection. Humans are usually infected after being bitten by an infected tick. These ticks can attach to any part of the body, although they prefer to hide in places like the scalp, groynes, and armpits.

The infected adult or nymph tick bores a tiny hole in the host's skin, inserts its mouth into the entrance, and latches on. To transmit bacteria to people, the tick must be adhered to the body for at least 36 to 48 hours or more.

Adult ticks that are larger may be visible and can be removed. Young nymph ticks, on the other hand, may not be visible and go undiscovered.


What are the Stages of Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is divided into three stages.

• Stage 1 - Early Lyme illness with isolated symptoms

When an infection has not yet spread across the body, it is referred to as an early localised infection. Only the location where the bacterium first came into touch with the human body is affected.

• Stage 2 - Lyme disease with early disseminated infection

The bacteria begins to spread throughout the body through the lymphatic system or bloodstream a few days to weeks after the commencement of local infection, impacting various regions of the body.

• Stage 3 - Lyme disease with late disseminated infection

The infection has infected every part of the body. Untreated or inadequately treated Lyme disease affects numerous parts of the body, including the nerves, brain, eyes, joints, and heart, months or even years after the bite.


What are the symptoms and signs of Lyme disease?

Lyme disease symptoms vary in severity from person to person. Although there are three stages of Lyme disease, the symptoms might overlap and affect the skin, joints, heart, or brain system. Some patients may have late-stage Lyme disease symptoms without having early-stage Lyme disease symptoms.

The following are the most prevalent Lyme disease symptoms:

Signs and Symptoms of Stage 1 Lyme Disease (Early Localized Lyme Disease)

Lyme disease symptoms appear 3 to 30 days after being bitten by an infected tick. Symptoms may include:

 • A red rash called erythema migrans in the first few weeks (EM). The EM rash appears in about 70–80% of adults with Lyme disease, most commonly in the armpit, groyne, back of knee, on the trunk, or in children's hair, ears, or neck. The rash emerges as a little flat or slightly elevated red area at the bite site 3 to 30 days after the tick bite. It is normally circular or oval in shape and grows in diameter over several days, eventually reaching about 12 inches in diameter. The rash may feel warm to the touch, but it is rarely unpleasant or painful, and it can last for up to four weeks without treatment. It gradually loses colour in the centre as it improves, producing a bull's-eye appearance.

• Symptoms of the flu About half of those who have Lyme disease suffer flu-like symptoms, which include: Fever, chills, general sense of dread.

• Swollen lymph nodes near the bite site

• Headache

• Joint discomfort •

 Muscle pain

• Stiff neck

• Fatigue

Stage 2 Symptoms:  Early Disseminated Lyme Disease

Untreated Lyme disease can cause the following symptoms a few weeks to months after the tick bite:

• Multiple EM rashes on other parts of the body other than the tick bite location.

• Fever

• Variable arthritis

 • Muscle, tendon, and bone symptoms

• Joint pains

• Headaches

 • Neck stiffness

• Painful inflammation of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)

• Numbness in arms or legs

• Facial muscular paralysis or weakness

• Bell's palsy (one side of the face droops)

• Chest discomfort, a sluggish or irregular pulse

• Shortness of breath and dizzy spells

• Mood swings

• Memory issues


Stage 3 - Late Disseminated Lyme Disease Symptoms

Late disseminated Lyme disease can develop months or years after an infection, and it is more common in those who were not treated promptly. Lyme disease can result in long-term joint inflammation (Lyme arthritis), heart rhythm issues (Lyme carditis), and difficulties with the brain and nerve system. A person's disease may manifest itself in a variety of ways, including:

• Muscle and joint discomfort

• Arthritis

• Abnormal muscle mobility • Muscle weakness • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet • Speech difficulties

• Problems with thinking (cognition)

• Memory problems

 • Nerve damage

• Nerve discomfort

 • Dementia

• Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat (Lyme Carditis)

• Heart failure

• Sleep disorders

• Vision issues

• Facial palsy (muscle tone loss or droop on one or both sides of the face)


How Is Lyme Disease Treated?

Antibiotics and other medications can effectively treat people who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease. The earlier a person is treated, the more likely they are to recover completely and quickly.

Depending on the stage of infection and symptoms, a 10-day to 4-week course of antibiotics is commonly used to treat persons who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease. Antibiotics such as doxycycline, amoxicillin, azithromycin, cefuroxime, and ceftriaxone are commonly used.

Toxins generated by dead bacteria create a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, which causes a transient exacerbation of symptoms in roughly 10% to 15% of people with early Lyme disease. This reaction usually develops within 24 hours of beginning antibiotics and can last up to a day before it goes away.

If Identified early: In this case, Lyme disease is treated with oral antibiotics such as doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime for two to three weeks. These antibiotics slow the progression of the disease and reduce the duration and severity of symptoms.

Early disseminated Lyme disease: Oral or intravenous antibiotics can be used to treat early disseminated Lyme disease. For situations that are mild or regarded less threatening, oral antibiotics are utilised. Intravenous treatment is frequently used to treat patients with multiple symptoms and more serious presentations such as meningitis and heart block. Antibiotics are usually given intravenously for a period of 10 to 28 days (most commonly two weeks).

Late disseminated Lyme disease : Patients with late Lyme disease arthritis are treated for four weeks with oral antibiotics. If the arthritis persists, a second four-week round of antibiotics is given, either orally or intravenously. Intravenous antibiotics, mainly ceftriaxone or cefotaxime, are used to treat neurological problems associated with late Lyme disease for two to four weeks. The infection can also affect the heart, necessitating the use of intravenous medicines.

Post -Lyme Syndrome: Non-specific symptoms such as headache, fatigue, poor sleep, cognitive impairment, muscle and joint pain persist for more than 6 months in roughly 10% to 20% of persons after antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease is completed. The condition is known as post-Lyme disease syndrome, and the cause is unknown. There is no documented treatment for post-Lyme disease syndrome, and taking antibiotics for longer than the first routine treatment does not assist to alleviate symptoms. The majority of patients with this illness improve over time.

Treatment of Chronic Lyme disease:  This is used characterise the symptoms of Lyme disease, such as muscle, joint, and nerve pain, exhaustion, and cognitive impairment, which occur after antibiotic treatment. There is no evidence that taking antibiotics in quantities greater than those currently suggested helps symptoms. Pain medication, supplements and other therapies my be advised by the doctor.

Treatment of pregnant women: Lyme disease can also be treated as per protocol in pregnant women. There is no convincing evidence that a foetus can contract Lyme illness from its mother or that miscarriages are more common after Lyme disease.

Prophylaxis (prevention) following tick exposure: If a person has been exposed to a tick in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent, prophylactic treatment to prevent Lyme disease may be initiated. There is no vaccine available for Lyme disease.

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