Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick. It can cause various symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, and neurological problems. Lyme disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics, and most patients fully recover within four to six weeks.
However, some people may continue to experience some of the symptoms even after. This is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). PTLDS can go on for over six months, often resulting in severe discomfort and a decreased quality of life.
Does Lyme Disease Cause Chronic Pain?
Ongoing pain is one of the most pronounced complications associated with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. The pain manifests in many different ways, depending on the individual. Some people may experience dull pain all over their body, while others may have more specific pain in certain joints or muscles. The pain may accompany other symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, cognitive difficulties, and general weakness.
There is still much unknown about why some people develop PTLDS, but some theories exist. Some experts believe that PTLDS is the result of persistent undetectable infection, while others believe that it is a result of an auto-immune response triggered by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Others believe that the symptoms are due to other unrelated factors. Whichever the case may be, it is clear that PTLDS can be a debilitating and frustrating condition.
Treating PDLDS-Induced Chronic Pain
The good news is there are several available treatment options for people with chronic pain associated with Lyme disease. The first step is to consult with a doctor who is familiar with PTLDS. They will be able to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.
Medication is the first line of treatment for PTLDS-related pain. Various types of medication can be used, depending on the individual’s specific needs. Commonly prescribed medications include antidepressants, painkillers, and anti-inflammatories. In some cases, more potent medications like opioids may be necessary.
Electrical stimulation, spinal injections, and ketamine infusions are also potential treatment options. Other treatments that may be recommended include physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage.
These alternative therapies can effectively manage pain, fatigue, and other PTLDS-related symptoms. Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and getting enough sleep, can also help to lessen PTLDS pain and fatigue.
The Bottom Line
Although the chronic pain and other symptoms of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome can go away over time, they often last for months on end, causing a great deal of discomfort and frustration.
Luckily, the above treatment can help manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected. If you think you may be suffering from PTLDS, it is essential to consult a professional and explore your treatment options.