Fibromyalgia in the Lyme Community

Fibromyalgia (in Latin meaning  fibro= fibrous tissues, Gk. algos=  pain, meaning muscle and /or connective tissue pain. Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterized by chronic widespread pain.

Symptoms of Fibromyaglia

  • Fatigue                                                   
  • Joint Stiffness
  • Swallowing Difficulty
  • Bowel and Bladder abnormalties
  • Numbness & Tingling
  • Cognitive Dysfunction
  • Depressions/Anxiety

The brains of fibromyalgia patients show structural and behavioral differences from those of healthy individuals, but it is unclear whether the brain anomalies cause fibromyalgia symptoms or are the product of an unknown underlying common cause. [Structural alterations in brainstem of fibromyalgia syndrome patients correlate with sensitivity to mechanical pressure]

Fibromyalgia has been recognized as a diagnosable disorder by the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Rheumatology.  It is registered as a central nervous system disorder, is described as a ‘central sensitisation syndrome’ caused by neurobiological abnormalities which act to produce physiological pain and cognitive impairments as well as psychological symptomatology. 

Just like Lyme Disease, there are  members of the medical community who do not consider fibromyalgia a disease because of a lack of abnormalities on physical examination and the absence of objective diagnostic tests even though the patient are complaining of pain and symptoms. This can be very frustrating to patients who are suffering from debilitating symptoms and can’t seem to get answers or help.

Fibromyalgia vs Lyme Disease Facts

Testing

Treatment

  • There is as yet no cure for fibromyalgia. [Fibromyalgia–new concepts of pathogenesis and treatment]
  • Lyme disease can be cured in the acute phase if caught early. Chronic Lyme has no cure as of now, although some patients go into remission. According to ILADS 40% of patients treated with short term antibiotics will go on to have long term problems.

Cause

  • Fibromyalgia has no recognized causative agent.
  • Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia Burgdorferi

interesting Note: The new Fibromyalgia test,  The FM/a® Test,  is a multi-biomarker-based test, which analyzes your immune system’s white blood cell’s chemokine and cytokine patterns. You often hear Lyme patient talking about Cytokine Release Syndrome. [Borrelia burgdorferi Spirochetes Induce Mast Cell Activation and Cytokine Release] [Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes induce mast cell activation and cytokine release.] So it here a similarity in cytokine disorders in both Lyme and Fibro patients? 

Aggregation

  • There is a high aggregation of fibromyalgia in families. There is a high aggregation of Lyme disease in families. [Source] [Source]

Epidemiology

  • Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2–4% of the population, with a female to male incidence ratio of approximately 9 to 1. [http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/329838-overview#]
  • Lyme Disease also affects more women then men.  [Lyme Disease Presents Differently in Men and Women] [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2913779/] (Read only if you have a thick skin. [CDC Statistics]
  • Both Lyme disease and Fibromyalgia affect caucasians more then other races.
  • Fibromyalgia is  most commonly diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 20 and 50, though onset can occur in childhood. Could not find stats on Lyme disease.

Abnormal Brain Scans

 Is There a Lyme & Fibromyalgia Connection?

Below are many articles from physicians, medical centers and researchers regarding a possible connection between Lyme disease and Fibromyalgia.

 Summary:

While there seems to be many possible similarities with Lyme disease and Fibromyalgia patients, there is no way to know for sure until more research, unbiased research, is done. We can only present the findings of both researchers and the opinions and experiences of patients and medical professionals.
I have a feeling eventually Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, MCS, possibly EDS, MS, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, Dementia and many more illnesses will be connected. Are they all caused by Lyme disease, aggravated by Lyme disease or provoked by it?  I do not know, possibly Lyme along with other viruses such as Epstein-Barr virus and Chlamydial Pneumonia as well as Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichiosis and others. all play a symbiotic role in our chronic illness.
Or perhaps there is something more ominous going on.   I’m just a chronically ill patient myself looking for answers. Nothing I say on this site should be used in place of medical advice from your own medical professional.  Please do your own research and share with us what you find and experience.
~Lisa Hilton

Please tell us below what you think
and what your experience has been.

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One thought on “Fibromyalgia in the Lyme Community”

  1. Good morning, I don’t know if you know the answer to this but I’ve had fibro type pain along with numbness petrolatum in my hands and feet only the past few years. I’ve had lyme and coinfections for over 6 years. My question is my mother has had fibro many many years, she has symptoms that could have very well been lyme since before I was born. One main one that sticks in my mind is the drs didn’t know what this big bullseye rash was on her cheek way back then so they said it was sweets disease and she was one of the first ones to ever be diagnosed with that new large circle rash. So my question is do you know of any good reliable write ups of if fibro is “lyme disease” or is there could it be possible she has something else causing it? Also, my dad has many of the same but more severe symptoms. He had to have a liver bypass because a clot from thick blood stopped blood flow. He’s on blood thinners for life now and has to take serum ammonia meds to keep the levels in his brain at a normal level or his brain gets foggy like mine. I believe we all have had a stran of lyme all my life. Convincing them to get tested has been tough. Thank you so much for all you do to help our community. Very sincerely I hope and pray for a cure to this madness.

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