What does a Lyme flare-up feel like? Ask the Lyme Doc.

What does a Lyme flare-up feel like

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that can lead to unpredictable disease flare-ups and remissions. The best know flare-up is called a Herxheimer reaction. A Herxheimer reaction was first identified in patients with syphilis and occurs when the body reacts to endotoxin-like products released by the death of bacteria in the body after starting an antibiotic. A flare-up may occur following a trigger or as part of the illness.

 

When a Lyme disease flare occurs, patients will notice a return of the symptoms they have experienced before or a worsening of existing symptoms. Some patients may also develop new symptoms. A flare-up can come and go and vary in intensity.  What does a Lyme flare-up feel like? The symptoms of a flare-up can include:

  • an increase in fatigue
  • problems with memory and concentration, sometimes referred to as ‘brain fog’
  • extreme sensitivity to bright lights, heat, cold, and noise
  • muscle stiffness
  • mood changes (including irritability)
  • poor quality sleep
  • dizziness
  • numbness or tingling in hands and feet
  • widespread muscle pain
  • blurred vision
  • general body pain

What triggers a flare-up?

One of the best ways to prevent a flare is to determine what might be causing it in the first place. These causes are called triggers. Triggers for Lyme disease vary by person, but they can include:

  • emotional stress (such as a divorce, death in the family, or accidents)
  • physical stress to the body (i.e., surgery, physical harm, concussion)
  • life stress or stressful events
  • infections, colds or viral illnesses
  • exhaustion
  • diets including processed sugars and alcohol
  • menstrual period
  • lack of sleep
  • traveling and/or changes in schedule
  • changes in treatment

How do you prevent a flare-up?

There are ways to help prevent a flare-up but most importantly, patients need to listen to their bodies and identify triggers that set off a flare in symptoms. Following are several ways to prevent a flare-up:

  • Treat your Lyme disease
  • Reduce your stress
  • Get enough rest and sleep
  • Stay away from foods that make you feel worse, including alcohol and processed sugars
  • Learn to pace yourself to avoid doing too much when you are feeling well
  • Keep up your health
  • Stay hydrated
  • Work with your doctor to get your symptoms under control
  • Some people find ‘positive thinking’ helpful
  • Try focusing on the things you can do, rather than those you can’t
  • You might find a mental health provider helpful

Editor’s note. What does a Lyme flare-up feel like?  Ask the Lyme doc sponsored by Dr. Cameron

 


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Joel Halaszynski
Joel Halaszynski
1 year ago

I have chronic pain at times I have been diagnosed with neuropathy and they don’t know why. No back or not a diabetic. I now have upper shoulder pain and no reason I was diagnosed with Lyme 15+ years ago Family doctor and a Lyme doctor said yes even though it didn’t show in the blood work. Local hospital said no I had all systems breathing chest pain achy joints etc etc etc. At times vision breathing and chronic pain

Sherri Leyen
Sherri Leyen
1 year ago

Has anyone ever complained of getting migraines? My daughter was 12 when diagnosed with Lyme disease. They gave her 2 weeks of antibiotics. Never had a tx since. She is almost 20 now and yesterday said she lost vision in one eye and a migraine started. She woke up today with one again..could this be the start of a flare up?

Jane
Jane
8 months ago

I had positive Lymes 5 years ago and 4 wks antibiotics and seemed all fine then in July\Aug 2021 just after my covid vaccination suddenly I’m ridiculously exhausted to the point of struggling to get up. Struggling to work and get through a day.
I mean I have to – I work full time and am single parent so I am getting on with it but I feel so tired/ neck aches/ can’t motivate exercise (despite being a keen runner) /brain fog/blurred vision and sinus issues. I am miserable. I had blood tests for menopause and they found my Lymes antibodies were elevated but then said there is no treatment …. Surely that’s not true. HELP!!!

Stephani
Stephani
23 days ago
Reply to  Jane

My symptoms greatly improved after starting homeopathic treatment with a functional medicine practitioner. I see Dr. Hirani in Culver City, California

Leigh
Leigh
11 months ago
Reply to  Sherri Leyen

Well, I’ve not yet been officially diagnosed, but two years ago I started noticing this box like square shaped red blotch on my upper arm. Now I’ve had a few ticks on me in my lifetime. I’m a 48 year old woman. My first ever tick on me was on my neck back in 1979 on a camping trip in the California High Sierras. The year of the bugs I was bitten, stung and hooked by a fishing pole in my finger! Anyhow one night back in our cabin, my Dad noticed something on the back of my neck and he fought and fought to back this big sucker out with a cigarette! More recently, I had to take a hike literally for safety about 6 years ago and had to hoof it through a boggy marsh of the FWY when my car broken down and I had no choice but to abandon a one lane overpass. Otherwise I would get hit. I hit poison oak, chiggers and a tick in my arm. Then a small one cleaning our backyard within the last year. I have diabetes and a lot of other things that were part of a package deal being diagnosed with the disease at 22. I lost my sight in my left eye and hearing in my left ear due to a bacterial infection. Never knew what caused it and sadly forgotten what it was called. My memory is struggling. Fatigued all of the time. Sick with fevers, vomiting etc. I just thought this was my diabetes until now, I have more and more of these red areas showing up! Also a huge UV sensitivity to light and I blister in sun. Don’t know if that’s related. Losing hair as well and irritated, I see a lot of stress and have had covid twice this year and I’m Anti Vax so please refrain from your personal perspectives. I take good care of myself otherwise. I eat healthy and when I feel good I garden. I can’t run and workout like I use. Any advice where I should go to get a diagnosis, I’ve been on a year long waitlist for my physician!!! I need relief I’m in severe pain, with all symptoms. Urgent care or ER since only my doctor can give me a referral to a specialist! What can I do!? Thanks!

Erica
10 months ago
Reply to  Leigh

I’m anti vax too. I’ve heard cats claw works and other parasite and whole body cleanses. I recently had a c section and I got very sick with bacterial infection too. Right eye has lost vision abs left ear is having trouble.

Wendi
Wendi
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh

Hi Leigh, I am not a pro, but am dealing with Lyme, and many other things that also go hand in hand with Lymes, but many of your symptoms yell Lupus to me. My Mom had Lupus from the age of 14. IMO, I think you should see a Rheumatologist. BEST of luck to you, please update!

Jessica
Jessica
8 days ago
Reply to  Sherri Leyen

I had tension headaches and migraine headaches everyday for 10 years. The CFL lights in office buildings make it so much worse and do irritate the nervous system as well.

Ann marie Slattery
Ann marie Slattery
1 year ago

Chronic Lyme or persistent Lyme do research now YouTube I find a wealthy of information and doctors there

Jessica
Jessica
8 days ago

Did your lyme present in the neck? If so, you may need an MRI of your neck. This buggers do a lot of damage to the spine. I have small fiber neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy. I have white matter lesions, focal slowing at the temporal lobe, and literally every single disc in my spine is either herniated or ruptured. My index finger on my right hand is deformed and thankfully it stopped there because I got treatment. However, my neck required surgery. I went from the neurologists office to the OR because I had such bad cord compression. Funny thing was, was the pain wasn’t as bad. He should have operated on 4 discs but he did only 2 so the hardware is slowly damaging the ones below which is what brought me to him in the first place. After surgery everything got worse and of course unless you go to an LLMD forget it. After awhile, the ATM machine runs dry. I find it criminal how lyme patients are treated. I no longer work and I didn’t get it for lyme disease but everything it did to me. Why do you have to literally lose everything??? LLMD’s charge soo much money too.

silvana
silvana
1 year ago

In the Netherlands chronic lymepatients are desperate for help and hope things will change and doctors eyes will be opened someday.
When I experience a flare up I’ ll be on antibiotics & chloroquinine for months until all symtoms are gone. There are only three ilads left here , luckely I can afford treatment by taking meds oraly. Flare ups come with very painfull radiculitis like symtoms, burning feet and limbs, heavy brainfog and fears.

Linda Hartford
1 year ago

With a Lyme flare-up, I usually experience intense headaches during the night and when I awake in the morning; these often last for days. Muscle soreness is so intense that I feel that I’ve been hit by a truck. Also, the brain fog I experience is so strong that my short term memory along with typing /writing is non-existent. I do not trust myself to operate a motor vehicle because all of my senses are heavily muted. I wish someone would tell me where the joy in life is….

Sarah Schulze
Sarah Schulze
1 year ago

And Acupuncture!!!! Helps. Have to make sure you have one that understands and is qualified to treat you with Lyme disease

Lisa Michelle White
Lisa Michelle White
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Hartford

The Joy in life… Thru Lyme disease?? Taking time to exercise, walking or rebounding with a Bellicon. Get a good brand! It has changed my energy levels, when done 4-6 days, 10-20 minute workouts. Check out Earth and Owl..she uses a quality rebounder & assists every one, even seniors!! For free on you-tube. When you force your lymph nodes to drain, it helps make the immune system be stronger against Lyme. It eliminates waste within our cells, for optimal health & I find it helps with pain with my joints, from Lyme disease. Also huge for Lyme disease: Invest in a Far-Infared Sauna. It helps joint pain management as well. Take Vitamins every day!! Twice a day. Take each one seperate: Such as D-3(5), B-complex, magnesium, zinc, ester-c, beta-glucans, nascent idodine, garden of life-organic plant calcium too. Get bloodwork done on your minerals and vitamins and you will know if your low. Lyme survivors need extra help! Drink plenty of water 10% of your weight, per day!! . A healthier diet rich in Turkey and fish and chicken. Lots of cruciferous veggies! I take Life extension x-tra strength cruciferous vegetable extract, every night. Most importantly, every morning, take time with Jesus Christ. Read the living word, or listen to a daily app for Holy Bible. Get prayer time, every morning! Just say the Father’s prayer before getting outta bed for a start. After a while He will lead you more and more. I challenge you to just 15-20 minutes a morning, with God Almighty. Before your day starts. Yes, get up 20 minutues earlier, have your tea or coffee with him. (Give up alchohol and caffeine slowly, it lowers the immune system and weakens, me to Lyme flare ups..) Then watch and see the changes. Phil 4:6 says: Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. So thank Him for being with you and for the health He will restore onto your body. By his stripes and wounds be healed. Thank h Him for the wisdom He will give you to eating healthy and the will-power to enjoy exercising..and thankful He will provide you with everything you need! Thankful He will lead you. Even if it’s just for today that He provides. And He will too! Wait and see. It’s tough to implement positive thinking while ignoring… Read more »

Jenn Jackson
Jenn Jackson
10 months ago

Wow! Thanks for bringing our Lord into this horrible disease. You’re an example of “letting our lights shine.” I appreciate your post more than you could ever know. God bless you.

Tina Mooney
Tina Mooney
8 months ago

Praise the Lord for your testimony! I know that without Jesus I would not be handling this very well. I have struggled all my life and am 52. I have been diagnosed with seronegative RA and Lymes without 3 positive biomarkers. I have 15 different doctors and finally one of them ordered testing that confirmed Mycoplasma Pneumonia. I ended up in the ER because of severe chest pain and back of head pain which felt like I was going to pass out.
My story is so long so, I better stop now. Thank you for your encouragement, sister in Christ! Hugs

Joan
10 months ago
Reply to  Linda Hartford

How do you deal with the Muscle Soreness? My arms and legs are killing me. I can hardly walk and I can’t reach for anything because my arms are so sore. Is there anything that can help me that you know of. Thank you Joan

Melony Vasho
Melony Vasho
1 year ago

I don’t think there is any single item to describe a Lyme flare up…no matter what I feel it’s due to Lyme and in my opinion Morgellons. Ie never seen so many things come out of my skin. It’s like I’ve become a three D printer of unusual and horrible things. Anyone with Lyme knows there is no ONE single flare up, it’s an explosion of every possible pain can imagine. Im having a Lyme flare up now, but this is some sort of parasite that has caused my stomach to expand and I’m in pain beyond belief, I feel these things jumping on my face, I caught of what looks like egg sacs of parasites. My skin is crawling with larvae and eggs. Not one Dr or hospital has looked to see what is really there. I can see it, describe it, my liver and stomach are being attacked but no one cares. Im at the lowest point of my entire life and can get no help, nothing…I simply cry all the time. I know that an antiparasitic can help me feel a little better, but ivermectin is impossible to get. It’s being listed as a Covid cure, henceforth it’s gone, disappeared.
I’m starting to see that many drs know what I have but not one will step up and say so. When you see them ignore huge sores, weird looking things coming from my body, yet not look, something is not right. As a result I lay suffering with no pain meds, no antianxiety meds and nothing to keep me from jumping out of my skin. Im going to die this way, I can feel it.😢

Angela Berry Koch
1 year ago
Reply to  Melony Vasho

I’ve had to study a lot about mast cell disorders ( tested positive for Alpha Tryptasemia), to keep flares minimal. In my clients I often see the same. It’s not the bugs so much as my immune system’s reaction to them and to die off that seems to be the culprit. Baby steps re antimicrobials and plenty of natural mast cell stabilizers and anti histamines, controlling oxalate and salicylate intake ( I have sensitivity), reducing ammonia, gentle biofilm work, and plenty of detox binders has helped.

Evelyn S
Evelyn S
11 months ago
Reply to  Melony Vasho

Funny, I am having the same issues of feeling like bugs are crawling all in my head. My stomach looks
like a watermelon. I’m 70. I am having a terrible flare-up as well. Had Omicron and was on steroids. Another thing that I have I call seizures but I am fully conscious although sometimes I can respond and sometimes I can’t. While having a seizure, I can do things although I am shaking or hollering( and yes I mean hollering), sometimes my face looks like I am stroking. . Other times my upper body shakes violently and my arms flail and my head shakes violently. This started in 2014 and it was 2 years before I was diagnosed with Lyme’s thanks to a wonderful PA. I have had 3 MRIS and 72 hour eeg with video. Nothing they can find wrong with me. Glad I found this page.

Melissa Bryant
Melissa Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Melony Vasho

Wow you totally just broke my heart!!! I’m a constant flare up and also have had 2 brain surgeries since being DX’d and also have cysts in the center of my spinal canal! My entire left side (arm up to the left half of my scalp) is constantly like I’m being shocked, I have to be very careful if I cough because it feels like I’m going to die! But wow…I still couldn’t imagine what you are dealing with,
I’m soooo soooo sorry! I’m curious beyond belief what is causing you to deal with this and why not a single doctor will help you!! Do NOT give up, you are the only one that can truly advocate for your health and treatment!!! Please demand help and answers!!

Laurie Hilton
Laurie Hilton
5 days ago
Reply to  Melony Vasho

Email me lauriehilton@att.net. I can help you as I just recovered from lyme and co-infections with no help from the doctors. Your post made me so sad and I would really like to help.

LARRY RICCI
1 year ago

I had knee replacement 28 months ago. My knee swelled and was drained 6 times. A blood test revealed Lyme and I took antibiotics for 8 weeks. The knee continues to swell. Blood tests and fluid analysis show no infection. A bone scan was hot in 3 areas. Any suggestions? Thank you.

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