Many people bitten by ticks complain about sore joints including pain in their knees, back or even the jaws. Indeed; ticks discovered a day or two after the actual bite has occurred often causes severe complications. This is further worsened by the fact that most tick-bite victims wait for too long before seeing a specialist. This leads to various tick bite related complications including arthritis, fatigue, flu-like symptoms etc.
In this guide, we will study what you can do to avoid and prevent long term complications arising from tick bite Lyme disease.
Tick bites and Lyme Disease
Lyme disease, in the United States, is a nationwide issue which is not just restricted to the East Coast as most people erroneously think. Ticks carrying the Lyme disease organisms have been identified in almost all 50 states.Spring and summer months are the most common periods of the year when tick bites become common in different parts of the US. Left untreated, complications from Lyme are known to turn chronic, and in some cases, even fatal. Ticks also carry several other disease vectors and pathogens including those of Rocky Mountain fever, Tularemia and Babesiosis etc.
Different people react differently to tick bites depending on the duration for which the tick has remained attached to their skin as well as their existing immune condition. Most victims, however, develop fever, a red itchy rash that resembles the ‘target mark or Bull’s eye’, fatigue and joint pain. Despite taking antibiotics, the pain and soreness of the joints can recur every few months or years. This is especially the case in the elderly patients as well as those having weak immune systems.
Tick bite related joint pain
Here are some typical complaints pertaining to tick bite Lyme disease and its related arthritis:
- Case 1: “ Doctor, I woke up a few days ago to find a tick on my arm. It was not attached, but I did experience some itchiness. The tick appeared normal in size and was not swollen-which means it had not bitten me. However, this morning, I woke with soreness in my arm. It has been more than 24 hours and the soreness hasn’t eased”.
- Case 2: “ I was bitten by tick-which I removed using all necessary precautions- on January 16th. Today , two weeks later, my tooth and jaw is hurting like crazy. I have good teeth and have never required any Root Canal or other dental surgery or treatment. I have also taken my doxycycline as prescribed by my doctor. Has anyone experienced tick bite jaw pain, like me?”
- Case 3: “ I was diagnosed with Lyme disease last year. I recovered but am still experiencing joint pain and joint soreness. What can I do about it?”
All these cases show us one thing: that tick bites often tend to attack the nerves, joints and even the immune system. Many doctors, and even dentists, have had cases where their patient’s weakest organ or function has been affected following the tick bite infection.
So what does this tell us? And what can one do to cure tick bite related joint soreness?
- First of all, you must ensure that your soreness and pain is indeed tick bite related. The ‘wait-and-watch-approach’ is often a mistake made by many patients. They wait for a long time after being bitten by ticks, to see their health care provider.
- There are several blood tests that easily confirm Lyme disease. This can lead to quick resolution using antibiotics. Doing so can easily reduce the risk of developing chronic joint pain and other complications.
- Lyme related arthritis could affect a single joint or even multiple joints including ankles, elbows, neck, jaw, wrist etc. To manage pain of this sort, patients could take some non steroidal anti inflammatory medicines.
- You could also see a rheumatoid arthritis specialist who can put you on a regime of medicines to prevent chronic joint swelling and pain.
- Many patients diagnosed with Lyme disease several years ago, tend to get bout of pain in their knees or other joints every few years. By taking Doxycycline or Azithromycin, this pain and stiffness can be significantly reduced. Sometimes, intravenous medicines can also help with symptom management.
- Lyme disease can often lead to secondary symptoms such as depression, eye or kidney infections and so on. Elderly patients must therefore be monitored for these. Their sore and painful joints as well as these debilitating disorders often tend to interfere with their daily lives, and overall well being and happiness. Help and support from community as well as close family members is extremely essential at such times.
Most patients experiencing tick bite sore joints and Lyme disease feel that antibiotics only give symptomatic relief and do not provide a complete resolution or eradication of the disease. For completely stopping Lyme disease pathogens in their tracks, you could opt for herbal treatments. Today, many herbal teas, pills and powders are available which are known to strengthen the immune system to prevent Lyme disease from progressing.
The bottom line remains: one must diagnose Lyme in its early stages to avoid joint pain and other complications and also differentiate between different kinds of arthritis with the help of a specialist.