If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans with Lyme disease, you know the symptoms come and go. Some days you feel well enough to accomplish all your chores and responsibilities. Other days your flare ups keep you in bed.
Lyme disease flare up symptoms can appear and then disappear. It can feel like a bad prank. However, knowing more about flare up symptoms and how to treat them can help you better prepare for their arrival and help them disappear sooner.
What are Lyme Disease Flare Up Symptoms?
If you experience a flare up, that means your Lyme disease symptoms have been dormant for a while, and now they are back. Lyme disease flare up Symptoms that return can be more intense, and sometimes, new symptoms will appear. As a flare up begins, symptoms range from mild to severe and may include:
- Pain in muscles, joints, and bones
- Mood swings
- Sleep disturbances
- Brain fog or concentration problems
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to lights, temperatures, noises, smells, tastes
- Anxiety, depression, or both
As flare ups start to subside, you will notice a significant improvement in your symptoms.
What Causes a Lyme Disease Flare Up?
There isn’t one reason or trigger for a Lyme flare up, but multiple factors contribute to a return of Lyme disease flare up symptoms. Lyme disease affects each person differently. Some can treat Lyme with antibiotics and not have any flare ups. Others treat Lyme disease using various methods yet continue to experience flare ups for years after the initial tick bite.
Theories exist about the causes of Lyme flare ups. Some believe the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi triggers the onset of other autoimmune disorders with similar symptoms. Others believe there may be clusters of bacteria that figured out how to survive and reactivate after a period of dormancy.
Co-infections, viruses, and illnesses cause flare ups, as well as what you eat and drink. Food high in processed sugars and carbohydrates increases inflammation. Studies show when someone decreases their sugar intake, inflammation markers also decrease.
The truth is more research is needed to determine the exact cause of a Lyme disease flare up. However, there may be common risk factors associated with flare ups, such as stress of any kind.
Stress and Lyme Disease Flare Ups
Whether it’s emotional or physical stress or mild or severe, stress is not healthy. Stress has been extensively studied and found to be a significant contributor to inflammation in the body. Stress releases chemicals called cytokines, which help repair damaged areas of the body. When released in high amounts, however, they are not beneficial. The more stressed you are, the more cytokines are released, and the more inflammation in your body.
Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease. Flare ups are a sign of increased inflammation in your body, which can move to your joints, muscles, nervous system, and brain.
Because stress can be a trigger for a Lyme flare up, you must implement stress-reduction activities daily. Try meditation, yoga, massage, exercise, gardening, and any other activity you find relaxing.
Sleep and Lyme Disease Flare Ups
Sleep is a time when the body is at rest, but the brain is very active. It is working hard to restore and strengthen everything from sore muscles to the immune system. A lack of sleep prevents restoration and produces an increase in cytokines, the chemicals related to inflammation.
To prevent triggering inflammation and another Lyme disease flare up, make sleep a priority. It’s important to note that an increase in cytokines can make you feel tired or drowsy. Fatigue is a sign you need rest so your body can heal. Even taking a short nap can help.
Treatment for Lyme Disease Flare Ups
There are things you can do to make Lyme disease flare up symptoms less severe. Working with a Lyme-literate doctor is crucial. A Lyme literate doctor is a specialist in Lyme disease. They have spent years studying and treating Lyme and understand it better than a general practitioner. They also know advanced treatments that go beyond antibiotics.
A general practitioner may want to treat each symptom separately. For example, if you feel anxiety and depression, they may wish to prescribe antianxiety or antidepressant medicines. If you have symptoms of insomnia, a doctor may want to prescribe drugs to help you sleep. Not all sleep medicines allow you to get restorative sleep, however.
Medications are often needed for Lyme disease flare ups. Still, alternative treatments can be administered at the onset, exit, and in between flare ups to combat debilitating symptoms.
Alternative Treatments for Lyme Disease Flare Ups
Lyme-literate doctors are equipped with the most advanced technology to offer quick procedures that help you feel better, like intravenous vitamin and antibiotic infusions. Most antibiotics and vitamins taken orally are broken down in the digestive system, with only a percentage making it to your bloodstream.
The antibiotics and vitamins go directly into your bloodstream with intravenous infusions, where Lyme bacteria are hiding.
Additional alternative treatments for Lyme disease flare ups include
- Chelation therapy
- Oxygen therapy
- Antioxidant therapy
- Therapeutic apheresis
- Oxidative medicine
- Detox therapies
- Diet and nutrition
If you have Lyme disease, you must take the time to care for yourself. Trying to push through the pain or self-medicating will only lead to further complications and future flare ups.
Coping with flare ups can be much easier to handle if you permit yourself to heal. If you do not heal, you can’t give 100% to professional, personal, or social obligations. To help you focus more on healing, journal your progress daily. You can look back in your journal to figure out what may need to be changed for better results.
Also, work with a counselor familiar with Lyme disease who can give you helpful strategies for coping with flare ups. Take care of your psychological health, make a spiritual connection, and make small lifestyle changes that offer substantial health rewards.
You can get more control over Lyme disease flare ups. You can start making positive changes today so that your next flare up will be less severe. A Lyme-literate doctor is waiting to help you today.
A great example of a treatment clinic outside the United States, Canada, and the UK is the Lyme Mexico Clinic. Call them to find out how you can benefit from their services.
Check This Out!
Dr. Morales has written a piece about Lyme in Mexico in this book titled, Lyme Disease: Medical Myopia & the Hidden Global Pandemic, by author and neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Bernard Raxien.