Migraines are common in the general population, affecting more than 38 million people in the United States. Yet, should you suffer from such headaches, your migraine might be thought to be”a migraine.”
That is bad enough. But sometimes migraines may also be a sign of Lyme disease. Migraines, that are caused by inflammation of the nervous system, are one of the many common symptoms of Lyme disease. Having a migraine does not mean you have Lyme disease–and having Lyme disease doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll suffer from migraines.
Yes, it is complex and can be quite hard to work out.
Caused by a spirochete (a bacterium shaped like a corkscrew) spread through the bite of an infected tick, Lyme disease is sometimes known as”the great imitator” because its symptoms–like headaches, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and more–can be readily attributed to many other ailments.
Lyme disease can affect any organ such as muscles, joints, heart, mind and nervous system.
But a migraine could stage to Lyme disease without you even realizing it–and without being diagnosed for ages. Only about 25% of those who have Lyme disease remember being bitten by a tick (a bite that, incidentally, is painless), and only two-thirds receive the tell-tale rash of Lyme disease.
Writer and educator Jennifer Crystal shares her expertise with migraines on the internet for the Worldwide Lyme Alliance. Jennifer suffered from severe, debilitating migraines that took years to diagnose as being due to Lyme disease. She explains:
Spirochetes could enter the central nervous system by crossing the blood-brain barrier. This barrier is supposed to protect the mind from infection, but spirochetes are catchy and swift and can spiral their way round, causing headaches for their own victims.
Lyme is an inflammatory disorder, so once spirochetes input the central nervous system, they cause swelling . In his book Why Can’t I Get Better? Feeling like my brain was going to burst out of my skull was not actually hyperbole; my mind was really bloated, but I just couldn’t see it how I’d be able to if I had had a swollen ankle or knee.
After Jennifer began to take drugs prescribed for the frustrations, they became more manageable. Nevertheless the very best treatment, she found, was rest. “Your mind needs time to recoup from inflammationand nothing has helped that procedure more for me than sleep”
Should you suffer from migraines, knowing some details about Lyme disease may help you decide if you should consider getting testing.
Lyme is more likely to be located in populous countries (in Virginia to Maine), north-central states like Wisconsin and Minnesota, and in the northwest section of the West Coast.
The disease, in its early phases, when the bacteria haven’t yet spread, is considered localized. But subsequently, it begins to spread through the body (phase 2) and proceeds to spread (phase 3).
Being active in outside activities, having a pet which may transport infected ticks to walking and you outside in tall grasses are all risk factors to think about, too.
Because Lyme disease is complicated and rather difficult to diagnose, a lot of men and women become caught up in a maze of health tests and misdiagnoses and suffer needlessly. Lyme disease is more readily treatable when it’s diagnosed early, but that’s not always possible.
And treatment is crucial. Without it, people with chronic Lyme disease have a poorer quality of life compared to individuals with diabetes or a heart condition, reports the global Lyme and Associated Diseases Society.
Various lab tests are available to diagnose Lyme disease. These work by identifying antibodies to the bacteria; the tests are reliable a couple of weeks after an infection. Because false-positive results are possible, two different and different tests may be carried out for a certain diagnosis.
Treatment for Lyme disease works best when began as early as possible. A course of oral antibiotics is given for 14 to 21 days, however if the disease involves the central nervous system, your healthcare professional might propose intravenous antibiotic treatment for 14 to 28 days.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that most people treated with antibiotics can recuperate”rapidly and totally,” particularly when treatment is provided in the early stages of this illness. Many people treated at the later stages will also react well to antibiotics, unless they have already suffered long-term damage to their nervous system and joints.
The CDC warns that some individuals have lingering symptoms following therapy, such as tiredness or joint and muscle aches or pain, which may last for more than six months. Although longer courses of antibiotics won’t help, the symptoms”generally improve by themselves, over time.”
In situations where symptoms persist, it is considered that some people’s bodies create an autoimmune reaction that causes them to suffer from post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
Because the best defense is a good offense, take precautions to prevent ticks. If you hike, stick to cleared trails and avoid mountainous regions; similarly, once you’re outside, steer clear of tall grasses, bushes, fallen logs and leaf litter, where ticks like to live. When possible, wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves when you’re outdoors; light-colored clothing will help you better detect any loopholes which may move on.
Spray your clothes (inside and out) with the insect repellent permethrin, which will last for about five or six washings; it is also possible to buy pretreated clothes at outdoor recreation stores, which continues through about 70 washings. Also spray on your exposed skin; studies reveal that the most effective repellents have DEET, picaridin or lemon lavender oil.
And lastly, when you come inside, shower right away.