back pain

Can Lyme Disease Cause Trigger Points?

Lyme disease is known for its capacity to wreak havoc on the entire body, especially if it isn’t treated early. This is because the borrelia bacteria has a particular way of setting up shop deep within the body’s and evading immune cells and antibiotic treatment. In some cases, treating Lyme disease early can lead to a full recovery. In others, even people who have treated their Lyme disease can end up with what is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. If the infection is left untreated for too long, irreparable damage can be done within the body.

While symptoms such as brain fog and fatigue are commonly associated with Lyme disease, the condition can also affect many other aspects of the body such as the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the musculoskeletal system. When the musculoskeletal system is attacked, for example, it can lead to pain and inflammation in the joints, tendons, bones, and muscles. So can Lyme disease cause trigger points as well? Read on to learn more.

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contrast sensitivity

Contrast Sensitivity Impairment In Post-Treatment Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that can present with mild to moderate symptoms upon the initial infection. When a person seeks treatment promptly, their chances of destroying the bacteria completely are higher; however, if treatment is delayed, the bacteria can essentially “camp out” within the tissues of the body, causing chronic post-Lyme disease symptoms.

When someone develops post-Lyme disease syndrome, they can experience issues with various parts of the body – the bacteria doesn’t discriminate, and can attack several different organs and organ systems. In some cases, Lyme disease can attack the structures of the eye, such as the optic nerve. When this happens, the eye structures become inflamed, which affects vision and could bring on pain in the eyes. In some cases, other vision issues can develop, such as contrast sensitivity. But what is contrast sensitivity, exactly? And what is the evidence surrounding contrast sensitivity impairment in post-treatment Lyme disease?

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Tick-Borne Infections In Pregnancy: Overview & Outcomes

Getting bitten by a tick isn’t always a cause for concern, because not all ticks contain infectious bacteria. However, many do, so if you are bitten, you may be at risk of contracting Lyme disease. Lyme can be debilitating because of the way the bacteria infiltrates the body, hiding out in tissues and causing damage over the long term.

Understandably, when a person is pregnant, they may wonder if getting a tick-borne infection can harm their unborn child. Research has investigated the impact that Lyme disease can have on both the child as well as the person carrying the baby. While the serious repercussions of Lyme disease spreading to the unborn child are rare, there are some things those expecting should be aware of when it comes to tick-borne infections in pregnancy. 

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immune cells

What Is A CD57 Cell Marker?

The immune system is home to various cells, all of which have their own jobs to do when it comes to keeping the body functioning and healthy. Immune cells are broken up into several categorizations: lymphocytes, monocytes/macrophages, and neutrophils. Within the lymphocyte grouping, there are T-cells, B-cells, and natural killer cells.

 T-cells are designed to start a reaction against specific pathogens, which then signals B-cells to start creating antibodies – proteins designed to help the body fight off pathogens. Natural killer cells are then tasked with activating receptors that lead to the production of small proteins that can kill the pathogen or limit its ability to spread throughout the body. 

The immune system uses all of these cells to help keep you healthy. However, in some diseases or infections, levels of immune cells can change dramatically. One such cell is often negatively affected by disease: a natural killer cell known as CD57. But what is a CD57 cell marker? And how is it related to chronic illnesses such as Lyme disease?

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Infectolab - lymphatic system

2 Ways Lyme Disease Can Damage The Lymphatic System

Humans and animals contract Lyme disease when they’ve been bitten by a tick. Not all ticks carry Lyme, but ticks carrying bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi are the ones that spread disease. When a tick bites into human skin, its saliva introduces the bacteria into the person’s bloodstream. The infection can result in long-term physical damage, and many patients report changes in their behavior and mental health as well, especially if they have carried Lyme for a long time unknowingly. When a tick bite goes untreated, the body suffers from the symptoms of Lyme disease without the additional help of antibiotics.

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Image by Ryan McGuire on Pixabay: Can Lyme disease damage the lymphatic system? The short answer is yes.

Lyme Disease: Signs & Symptoms

Lyme disease can be broken down into two distinct phases: acute Lyme disease and chronic Lyme disease.When a person is initially bitten by a tick carrying Lyme, their body enters the initial stages of the disease – the acute period. As the name suggests, this is when the body begins to react to the immediate bite. Symptoms include the commonly experienced bullseye rash: a red mark where the tick has embedded itself into the person’s skin, surrounded by several red, progressively larger circles around the bite. The medical term for this is Erythema Migrans Rash, and it occurs in 70-80% of patients.

Chronic Lyme disease is characterized by patients feeling effects of Lyme long after medicine can explain why. The bacteria may have been purged from the body with antibiotics, yet patients with chronic Lyme still experience symptoms such as trouble with memory, difficulty speaking, joint pain, fatigue, and mental health disturbances like anxiety and depression, which some hypothesize could be a result of managing a long-term disturbance in physical health without appropriate support. Because the actual Lyme bacteria in many cases is no longer traceable in the body, chronic Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose and track.

Lyme Disease and the Lymphatic System

Your lymphatic system is an essential part of your immune system. It helps produce the cells that make your immune system strong enough to fight illnesses off, and also regulates things like the removal of excess fluid from your body and the transportation of fat around the bloodstream. When the lymphatic system is under stress, the physical results are occurrences such as bloating, skin problems, and the swelling of the lymph nodes themselves, found in the neck, collarbone, underarms and groin. If your next question is: are swollen lymph nodes a symptom of Lyme disease? – well, you’d be smart to ask. Read on to find out.

2 Ways Lyme Disease Can Damage the Lymphatic System

1. Lyme disease suppresses the immune system

Any infection will cause your body’s immune system to be on high alert. And that’s OK, because that’s what the immune system is for! The problem arises when people with Lyme start to enter the chronic, long-term phase that some patients report experiencing. Because the battle with Lyme is prolonged over months or even years, your lymphatic system, an essential component of your immune system, understandably gets tired. This begins a vicious cycle, since immunosuppressed people are more susceptible to contracting other illnesses because their system isn’t strong enough to fight off everyday bugs as a result of running on overdrive.

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Image by Nastya_Gepp on Pixabay: What’s the link between Lyme disease and the lymphatic system?

2. Lyme disease can live in your lymph nodes, causing swelling

Lymphoadenopathy during Lyme Borreliosis is a correlation that doctors are still exploring in depth. Simply put, Lymphoadenopathy is the swelling of the lymph nodes. Lyme Borreliosis is the scientific term for Lyme disease, and so the phrase demarcates the tendency for the lymph nodes to swell when a person has contracted Lyme. Studies show that Lyme actually makes a home for itself in a person’s lymph nodes, which triggers an immune reaction, sending the immune system into attack mode to protect the body and commonly leading to swelling.

Often called The Great Imitator, Lyme disease doesn’t stop here when it comes to inciting reactions from the body that are difficult to attribute specifically to Lyme (after all, most infections cause our immune systems to kick into gear). As researchers at University of California, Davis, report: “B. burgdorferi [Lyme] have apparently struck an intricate balance that allows the bacteria to both provoke and elude the animal’s immune response.” It is this cycle of triggering an immune response but not being eradicated, only to trigger the response again, that might explain why some people’s Lyme disease becomes a chronic illness.

What to do if you think you’ve contracted Lyme disease

If you think you’ve contracted Lyme disease, it’s essential to consult a medical professional right away. Because chronic Lyme is difficult to diagnose, it is important to make sure that the physician you choose is Lyme-literate – that is, that they are familiar with The Great Imitator, and are open to working with you based on the symptoms that you report to explore all the treatment options possible.