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Lyme disease mimics many other conditions, including Fibromyalgia. Currently, an estimated 4 million Americans are living with Fibromyalgia. 

For every 100,000 people in America, seven people, or an estimated total of 475,000 people, contract Lyme disease annually. This translates to hundreds of people every day getting Lyme disease. It has become an epidemic.

With millions of people being affected by Lyme disease and Fibromyalgia, many of them wonder if there is a link between the two. They also wonder how to tell the conditions apart, a crucial element of getting treatment and healing from either disease. The first part of distinguishing between them is knowing their differences and understanding the symptoms. The next part is getting the proper testing and treatments.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection. It is transmitted from a tick infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria to a human. Lyme bacteria or spirochetes enter a human’s bloodstream and begin to multiply and spread through the body. The spirochetes trigger an inflammatory immune response to find the bacteria and destroy them.

Lyme spirochetes have multiple ways of avoiding detection, however. The longer they survive, the symptoms will progressively worsen and interfere with daily functioning.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Symptoms develop in three stages of Lyme disease. Early localized symptoms occur soon after an infected tick bites you. A bullseye rash may appear, a sure sign of Lyme disease. Not everyone gets a rash, though. Other early symptoms include

  • Stiff neck
  • Chills
  • Sweats
  • Fevers
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

These symptoms intensify if left untreated and may appear with new symptoms in the early and late disseminated stages. Additional symptoms may include

  • Bell’s palsy
  • Cognitive dysfunction or “brain fog
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Joint swelling and pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Central nervous system issues

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia causes chronic pain but has yet to be entirely understood by medical professionals. What they’ve learned so far is that people with Fibromyalgia feel pain all over their bodies. However, the source of the pain is unknown. Without a specific test, Fibromyalgia may often be misdiagnosed.

Researchers believe there are multiple causes of Fibromyalgia, including weakened immune systems, infections, injuries, and traumatic experiences. It may even be genetic if other family members have it. Also, if you have Lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, you are likely to develop Fibromyalgia.

 

lyme disease and fibromyalgia - Lyme Mexico

 

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia vary for each person. Pain is the most prevalent symptom. Other symptoms include

  • Stiffness everywhere on the body
  • Fatigue
  • Cognitive dysfunction or “fibro fog”
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Migraines
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Jaw pain, stiffness, or clicking

The Link Between Lyme Disease and Fibromyalgia

There are apparent similarities between Lyme disease and Fibromyalgia. Some believe there may even be a link between the two. More specifically, Lyme disease may trigger Fibromyalgia. Oddly, many people are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia when they have Lyme disease. One theory is that both disorders can impact the central nervous system, like in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Although Fibromyalgia may be caused by genetics, Lyme spirochetes may affect the nervous system by causing a genetic-like response, therefore triggering Fibromyalgia.

Multiple studies confirm Lyme disease and Fibromyalgia can exist at the same time, with patients being dually diagnosed. It is crucial to get accurately tested to avoid misdiagnosis and incorrect treatments. 

How to Tell the Difference Between Lyme Disease and Fibromyalgia

While many of the symptoms of each condition overlap, they differ in some ways. For example,

  • The bullseye rash appears with some Lyme disease cases, but no rashes signal Fibromyalgia.
  • Antibiotics help treat Lyme disease but not Fibromyalgia.
  • Painful tender spots are associated with Fibromyalgia but not always with Lyme disease.
  • Lyme disease pain is in the neck and joints, while Fibromyalgia pain is all over the body.
  • Lyme disease causes swelling and damage to the joints, but Fibromyalgia causes pain and stiffness but no damage or swelling.

Getting Accurate Testing and Treatment

Lyme disease tests, the ELISA and the Western Blot, are not recommended but are currently the only tests available for Lyme disease. They produce false negative results about 50% of the time. This means you can have Lyme disease but test negative for it because the tests only search for the antibodies of Lyme bacteria. 

Lyme antibodies often go inactive. They are only active when a person has a flare-up. They also have ways of hiding, like in tissue and cell walls, and with biofilms or shields, they build to protect themselves. Advanced methods exist to test your blood for Lyme disease, but most general practitioners cannot conduct the tests. Don’t let that stop you, though. Doctors are out there with advanced methods of testing. Some of the best are outside the country.

Traveling Outside the Country for Alternative Testing and Treatment

There are reports of people with symptoms of chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia, and Lyme disease, seeing between 10 and 20 doctors to figure out the source of their symptoms. Each different visit leaves them with more questions than answers.

You can avoid jumping from doctor to doctor by seeking help from a Lyme-literate doctor, even if it means traveling to a different country. 

Currently, general practitioners have one line of treatment, antibiotics, which work if Lyme disease is caught early. Antibiotics should not be the only treatment because if even one Lyme spirochete survives, it can begin multiplying. Alternative treatments prevent this. Examples include the following:

Finding the Right Specialist

Consider traveling outside the United States, Canada, and the UK to Mexico to meet with a top clinic, Lyme Mexico Clinic. One trip to Lyme Mexico Clinic can give you quick results and cost less money and time than seeing multiple doctors here. Call them today for an initial consultation on the benefits of working with their clinic’s renowned specialist. Ask questions and make your health a priority. You deserve to see and be treated by the best.

 

lyme disease and fibromyalgia - Lyme Mexico

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