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Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Arthritis and Rheumatism
Onset of joint pain
I have recently been having unusual pain in my elbows and knees. One year ago my lowest disc in my back became slightly herniated, and I assumed that the numbness and icy or boiling hot feelings in my feet were due to that. Over the past 2 years I have been battling extreme fatigue, not relieved by diet or excersize. 3 years ago I found a tick burrowed into my right hip, tried to get it out, and found that I had only the body. Lyme disease?
Lyme Disease can have an arthritis associated within the spectrum of clinical manifestations. However, typically, the arthritis presents within a matter of months (2 – 6 months) as opposed to years. Another common feature in Lyme Disease that you did not describe was a red skin rash around the tick bite in the shape of a bullseye. This is frequent symptom and typically occurs within days to weeks of the tick bite.
There are blood tests to screen for Lyme Disease; however, false positives in the lab assay can occur. Therefore, at least a moderate clinical suspicion for Lyme Disease should exist in conjunction with an abnormal Lyme Disease laboratory in order to consider a diagnosis. Speak to your primary care physician or an infectious disease specialist if for further information.
Raymond Hong, MD, MBA, FACR
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University