If you have back pain but can’t find a cause, it may be Lyme disease, a source of back pain, among many other symptoms. Back pain can be mild, with most people able to continue daily routines. It can also be moderate or severe, interfering with how someone performs at home, work, or socially.
The higher the pain levels, the more disruptive back pain can be to your life.
Back pain occurs for various reasons and can involve multiple body parts. When you have knee pain, for example, some part of the knee is usually the source. With back pain, finding the source is more challenging, which may include the neck, ligaments, tendons, muscles, discs, and bones. The spine, which is made of three regions, may also be a source of pain.
Working with a Lyme-literate doctor specializing in Lyme disease back pain can help you discover the cause and type of pain you have and a treatment that works.
Causes of Back Pain
The more you know about back pain, the more helpful you can be to your doctor in diagnosis and treatment. Most causes of back pain fall into one or more categories, only two of which may contribute to Lyme disease back pain.
Mechanical causes refer to injuries to specific body parts connected to the back. For example, spinal stenosis, herniated discs, vertebral fractures, strains, sprains, compression fractures, and pregnancy.
Degenerative pain occurs because there is a deterioration of bones, muscles, or other back parts. Degenerative disc disease is the weakening or wearing away of discs. Spinal stenosis is a spinal canal narrowing that often pinches a nerve.
Inflammatory back pain is a condition affecting the spine and joints. The pain is associated with various inflammatory conditions that produce stiffness after resting, but the pain decreases once you begin moving around or being active. Lyme disease is an inflammatory condition. The immune system’s inflammatory response is triggered by bacteria spreading through your body. Because Lyme bacteria are good at hiding, sending inflammation throughout the body on a continuous, yet unsuccessful, search.
Oncologic back pain typically occurs as a symptom of some form of cancer. It may even be a side effect of the treatment you receive for the cancer.
Infections in your spine, discs, or neck are a few examples of conditions that can cause back pain. Bacterial infections, like Lyme disease, should also be considered. The bacteria can replicate and spread throughout the body. The longer it goes untreated, the more likely it will travel to places like your spinal cord, muscles, tissues, etc.
Identifying the cause of your back pain is one step in the assessment process. Many other factors will help them make an accurate diagnosis.
Diagnosing Lyme Disease Back Pain
To diagnose your symptoms, you must give detailed descriptions. Below are questions your Lyme-literate doctor will ask and suggestions on how to answer them.
What type of pain do you have? There are multiple types of pain. You don’t have to know clinical names and definitions but be as descriptive as possible. Common types of Lyme disease back pain include the following:
- Stiffness or soreness may be related to muscle strain or a more serious injury.
- Sudden pain may signal a problem related to a nerve, such as a pinched nerve or pressure on the spinal cord. The pain may come and go and may also feel like it is burning.
- Persistent pain can lead to feelings of numbness, tingling, or weakness.
- Intermittent pain comes and goes, and the more active you are, the pain may worsen. Inflammation is an excellent example of what can cause intermittent pain.
Other factors that aid in a diagnosis include the location of the pain, history of accidents or injuries, length of time you have had back pain, and how the pain affects your lifestyle. In addition, discuss any changes in weight, appetite, coordination, balance, digestion, and mood.
Treating Lyme Disease Back Pain
Your treatment plan for Lyme disease back pain may depend on the stage of Lyme disease you are in. There are three stages: early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated. In the first stage, symptoms are new and easier to treat. Many people experience relief when prescribed antibiotics. Early symptoms occur within the first 30 days of being infected.
Symptoms worsen in stage two and become chronic in stage three. Each stage may require advanced treatments typically only provided by licensed infectious diseases specialists, like Lyme-literate doctors. They aim to eliminate Lyme bacteria from your body.
Below is a list of advanced treatments for Lyme disease back pain:
- Therapeutic apheresis
- Biofilm eradication
- Oxidative and antioxidant therapies
- Immune modulation
- IV antibiotics, vitamins, and minerals
- Dietary and lifestyle changes
- Vitamin supplements
You must learn to prevent a tick bite because you can acquire Lyme disease more than once.
Preventing Lyme Disease Back Pain
You can take steps to prevent Lyme disease back pain. Even if you encounter a tick or find one on your clothes or body, prevention methods may save you from dealing with Lyme disease. For example, wearing clothing, hats, and shoes covering your skin creates a barrier between your body and the tick.
It can take a tick many hours to find a spot to bite you. Wearing the proper clothing extends that time. Washing your clothing in hot water after returning from the outdoors reduces the tick’s chances of survival.
Checking your pets for ticks is another way to protect yourself. Using spray repellents on yourself and your pets can deter ticks from latching on to you. There are plenty of natural and chemical repellents that are not harmful to you, pets, or the environment but that make ticks want to avoid you.
If you find a tick in the process of biting you or discover a bullseye rash after a bite, contact a Lyme-literate doctor immediately. The sooner you do, the less likely you will develop ongoing, chronic symptoms.
A great example of a treatment clinic outside the U.S., Canada, and the UK is the Lyme Mexico Clinic. Call them to find out how you can benefit from their services.