Persistent Lyme Disease is Very Painful
Persistent Lyme disease which is also known as Chronic Lyme disease occurs when an individual who is treated with antibiotics for Lyme disease keeps on experiencing the symptoms of Lyme disease after treatment.
Research suggests that around 10% to 20% of people treated with antibiotic therapy show symptoms that persist even after the treatment has been finished. There are various symptoms include muscle aches, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and joint pain. The pain can last for six months and even longer in some cases. The symptoms often interfere with the day to day activities of a person. As a result, it can be emotionally distressing to the individual.
It’s still unclear why some people develop Chronic Lyme disease while some do not. The exact cause of the chronic symptoms is also still unknown. Columbia University suggests that doctors treat each case individually keeping in mind the medical history, specific symptoms, and the most recent research for treatment.
Lyme disease is diagnosed with a blood test which checks the ratio of the antibodies to the disease-causing bacteria. The most popular test is the ELISA test. However, a Western blot test can also be used to confirm the results of the ELISA test. These tests do confirm an infection; however, the cause of the continued symptoms can’t be determined.
Your doctor might ask you to get certain affected areas tested to know the damage done. The tests can include the following:
- Echocardiogram or electrocardiogram for examining the function of the heart
- Spinal tap for examining cerebrospinal fluid
- MRI for observing neurological conditions.
Knowing how to treat it
If Chronic Lyme disease is diagnosed when it is in its early stages, the standard treatment is to take oral antibiotics. The course lasts for three weeks. Intravenous treatment might also be needed depending on the symptoms and your condition.
Since the exact reason of Chronic Lyme disease is unknown, there is still some debate about the appropriate treatment. A few experts suggest continued antibiotic therapy. However, it has been proved that long-term antibiotic therapy hardly increases the chance of recovery. It is also true that prolonged use of antibiotics causes health complications.
Treatment usually focuses on reducing the pain and the discomfort that the symptoms cause. Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers can be used for joint pain. While intra-articular steroids and NSAIDs can be used for treating issues like joint swelling.