Waking up with stiff joints is an unpleasant way to start your day. When aching joints bother you throughout the day, it’s easy to become discouraged about your health and fitness. Even worse, if you are beyond the first blush of young adulthood, you may question whether the joint problems are simply an untreatable sign of age. Eventually, you might stop exercising, worried about the effects of overexertion. Without any other explanation for your pain, you may even give up trying to do anything about your joint pain.
However, your stiff joints might be an indication of a more complex medical problem. For example, Lyme disease can cause a condition known as Lyme arthritis. The disease sends bacteria into your joints, causing inflammation and ultimately pain and stiffness. This condition can strike anyone who has this disease, regardless of age or fitness level. Fortunately, with the right holistic treatments, you can improve your health and get back to enjoying pain-free days.
Looking for answers to your joint stiffness? Contact us to learn more.
Joint Aches and Lyme Disease
While joint pain is always uncomfortable, it could be just one of the symptoms you notice. Suppose you are also noticing other symptoms, such as rash, muscle aches, dizziness, or headaches. In that case, it’s worth investigating further. According to a study published by the CDC, 27.5% of the Lyme disease patients studied had symptoms of arthritis, especially pain in their large joints. In fact, arthritis was the most common sign of this disease among patients with the onset of the illness during the coldest months.
One of the worst things about Lyme disease is that it is often left undiagnosed or untreated. Too often, people don’t realize they have this tick-borne illness. Doctors often miss the connection between the symptoms, leaving you with a laundry list of seemingly unrelated complaints. Then, without treatment, the condition typically worsens and may even become chronic. Unless your doctor is trained in treating Lyme disease, you may not receive the help you need to restore your health.
Do You Have Lyme Disease?
People with Lyme disease often go months or even years before they find a doctor who recognizes their symptoms and makes the diagnosis. Because current tests are still unreliable, the results don’t always show as positive, even if you do have this disease. Then, your doctor may dismiss your concerns, assuming that the test must be right. Therefore, the best thing you can do if you suspect you have this disease is to seek a healer who is well-trained in identifying and treating Lyme disease. However, as a first step, it helps to pay attention to your symptoms.
Lyme Disease Symptoms
Your symptoms may be easier to recognize if you realize a tick bit you. The early signs may come on soon afterward, alerting you to the possibility of Lyme disease. However, if you don’t connect the symptoms with a tick bite, you may wonder why you just don’t feel as healthy as you once did. It helps to distinguish between early signs and later symptoms.
Early Signs of Lyme Disease
The most noticeable symptom of early-stage Lyme disease is a rash called erythema migrans. About 70 to 80 percent of people who have been infected have this rash. About 3 to 30 days after the tick bite, you begin to notice a rash where the tick bit you. The rash may feel warm and spread to a diameter of as much as 12 inches. As it spreads, the rash might have a bulls-eye appearance.
Even if you don’t have the typical bulls-eye rash, you may experience other symptoms within the first month. These include:
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
Later Lyme Disease Symptoms
As the disease progresses, you might notice other symptoms as well. These later signs may seem unrelated to the tick bite if you don’t know what to look for. However, a doctor who specializes in treating Lyme disease can help you fit the pieces together and give you the diagnosis you need to move forward with treatment.
Some of the most prevalent symptoms that occur well after the tick-bite incident include:
- Severe joint pain
- Severe headaches
- Stiffness in the neck
- More rashes at other sites on your body
- Facial palsy, which shows up as drooping on one or both sides
- Joint swelling, especially in the large joints such as the knee
- Pain that comes and goes in muscles, tendons, and bones
- Irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Inflammation in the brain and spinal cord
- Nerve pain
- Numbness, tingling, or shooting pains in the hands or feet
Lyme Disease Diagnosis
Doctors weigh several factors before making a diagnosis of Lyme disease. They note the problems you are experiencing and consider whether other causes might yield the same symptoms. Your doctor may ask you questions to determine if you have been in an area where you might have been bitten by a tick. In addition, they might take a blood test to check for antibodies. With all this information, they determine the cause of your troubling symptoms.
Treatment for Joint Stiffness
Joint stiffness alone is enough to cause you significant discomfort and worry. However, if you have other symptoms, such as heart palpitations, nerve pain, or fatigue, a diagnosis of Lyme disease may be in order. Then, your doctor can create an individualized plan to treat your condition holistically.
Antibiotics are sometimes helpful for early-stage Lyme disease. However, if you have been having symptoms like joint stiffness for several months, you need a more extensive treatment plan for what has become a chronic condition.
Holistic Treatment for Lyme Disease
Many doctors are unfamiliar with Lyme disease and all the effects it can have on your body. If you go to such a doctor for joint pain and stiffness, they may send you home with a prescription for pain medication and leave it at that. They may never address the disease that is causing your joint issues.
When you see Dr. Robin Ridinger at Premier Health and Holistic Medicine, you receive caring attention and whole-body solutions. She begins with a careful assessment of all your symptoms – even symptoms you never connected with the joint pain. She continues her evaluation by asking questions based on her years of experience in treating Lyme disease and the joint stiffness that often accompanies it.
If you do have Lyme disease, Dr. Ridinger works with you to create a plan for boosting your immune system, improving your overall health, and dealing with the discomfort of joint pain. Typical components of holistic treatment include:
- Exercise to increase circulation and improve immune response
- Yoga for stress relief
- Anti-inflammatory diet to relieve joint pain
- Developing a better sleep schedule
- Smoking cessation to increase oxygen intake
Dr. Ridinger is double-board certified in Integrative Holistic Medicine and Family Medicine, making her an expert in treating patients from a whole-person perspective. With over 25 years of experience and specialized training in Lyme disease, she brings her patients a wealth of knowledge along with compassionate understanding. Together, you can discover the source of your pain and devise a plan for healing.
Are you ready to move beyond quick fixes that don’t solve the real problem? Schedule a visit with Dr. Ridinger today.