In last week’s blog post, we covered What To Know About Tick Bites And Lyme Disease, and we wanted to elaborate on Chronic Lyme Disease this week.
Between 10-20% of Lyme patients have lingering symptoms for at least six months after treatment. Some experience symptoms for even longer. Officially, this group is called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease (PTLD) or Chronic Lyme Disease.
Symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease
Lingering symptoms of fatigue, musculoskeletal pains, disrupted sleep, and lack of customary mental functions persist despite appropriate treatment of 2-4 weeks of antibiotics. The CDC just published guidelines in June, 2017 for 3 weeks of antibiotic treatment for Lyme.
PTLD symptoms are non-specific symptoms but are also the symptoms for some of the auto-immune diseases. There is growing data that the PTLD is really an auto-immune response from the original infection. It is not believed to be an additional undetected infection; however, in Europe, there are some countries that do believe these patients have another infection that did not respond to antibiotics.
According to the Journal of American Medicine, long term antibiotic use did not cure or even improve function in patients struggling with PTLD. However, they did find that the side effects from the long term antibiotic use could cause harm due to antibiotic resistance and side effects to the medications.
Treatment for PTLD
Treatment for PTLD includes symptom management in conjunction with primary care physicians. Your doctor should do a thorough assessment for alternative diagnoses such as sleep disorders and provide recommendations.
Here at LB Hand Therapy, we see patients with pain related to inflamed nerves or joints. We often treat the pain with different therapy techniques and exercises. Pain relief is always a key to improving a patient’s function. Many of these patients are very fatigued and find it hard to remember to do their home programs, so progress is always slow. Most patients do, however, find that they can manage their symptoms.
There is no known length of time that PTLD or Chronic Lyme will last. Some people report still battling it years later, while others find that eventually, their symptoms mitigate.
If you suspect you have Lyme Disease or Chronic Lyme Disease, please see your doctor for appropriate treatment.