October 8, 2009

Symptoms & Treatment for Lyme Arthritis

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

Lyme disease is an infection that is caused by three species of Borrelia bacteria, and is probably the most common infection to be transmitted by ticks. In the initial stages, the infection causes fever, headaches, and a feeling of constant exhaustion, and is usually also accompanied by a rather typical rash known as erythema chronicum migrans. As the disease progresses, it starts to affect other parts of the body, including the heart, the nervous system, and the joints. Lyme arthritis, as it is sometimes known, occurs only in the third stage of Lyme disease, when the infection has persisted for several months and has become chronic, with severe neurological symptoms. The arthritis symptoms usually involve swelling and pain, and in some cases the joint itself might start to erode. The knees are most commonly affected, but almost any other joint could also be affected, including the shoulders and the hips.

The main course of treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotics. This is therefore something you need to do in consultation with your doctor. Many people prefer to avoid antibiotics, but in some cases, such as with Lyme disease, this is impossible. As long as the antibiotics are prescribed responsibly by the doctor, and are used by the patient as per the doctor’s instructions, they are highly effective. There is no way to cure lyme disease with home remedies, and many alternative treatments are extremely dubious. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has in fact put out a warning about alternative treatments that use bismacine or chromacine, which can cause death through bismuth poisoning. Some simple home remedies and lifestyle measures can help cure your symptoms and speed up recovery, but antibiotic treatment is essential. Once the infection has been successfully fought, the symptoms will usually subside, including the arthritic symptoms. In some cases however, symptoms may persist, and may require further treatment.

As far as lyme arthritis symptoms go, the most effective home remedy is the same as for almost any other type of arthritis – hot and cold compresses. You will need to find out for yourself whether a hot compress or a cold compress works better; some people find that both work equally well. Your diet is the other important area of treatment – a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grain, and fish is certain to help you recover, but in addition, it seems that certain nutritional supplements also help. Probiotics, multivitamins, and magnesium malate are most often recommended, but it is advisable to consult your doctor before taking any of them.