Lyme and osteoarthritis?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2016
Total Posts : 70
   Posted 2/7/2018 10:07 AM (GMT -6)   
In the past couple of months, I've started having joint pain in my fingers (and, to a lesser degree, my toes). Last month, I noticed that my finger joints were suddenly noticeably larger, such that I could no longer wear rings that used to slide on easily. My rheumatologist noted that the swelling was hard, rather than the "boggy" swelling that she'd expect with, say, rheumatoid arthritis.

I had an ultrasound that showed both synovial inflammation (a sign of some kind of inflammatory/autoimmune arthritis process) and signs of osteoarthritis in my thumbs. Although the ultrasound report didn't specifically note osteoarthritis in the finger joints where I have the most pain and swelling, those joints seem consistent with osteoarthritis as well. (The top and middle finger joints are often affected by osteoarthritis.)

I'm 45, which seems young for osteoarthritis. I am fit and (until recently) healthy and don't seem to have risk factors for osteoarthritis. So I'm kind of freaked out by this. The fact that it came on so suddenly (with the swelling appearing almost overnight) seems strange to me -- and it makes me worry that it's going to get much worse very quickly.

Is it possible that Lyme could trigger something like this? I mean, I know Lyme can cause arthritis-lilke symptoms, but I was under the impression that it was more like inflammatory arthritis (with swelling and fluid in the joints) than osteoarthritis (where bone spurs, etc. develop). But the fact that the osteoarthritis came on so suddenly makes me wonder if it's Lyme-related.
Started herbal treatment for Lyme in early 2017. Did 1 month of doxy Aug. 2017; started doxy again Jan. 2018. Uncertain about diagnosis b/c tests have been iffy, and my symptoms (dry eyes/mouth, finger joint pain/swelling) look like classic autoimmune issues. Different tests at different times have shown Lyme, babesia, bartonella, ehrlichia -- most recent tests show only Lyme (IgM bands only).

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2016
Total Posts : 2291
   Posted 2/7/2018 12:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Bumping for more views

Forum Moderator

Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 33785
   Posted 2/7/2018 2:22 PM (GMT -6)   
I had/have 'symptoms' of arthritis in many joints - my finger symptoms came on part way through treatment - I think it was bartonella.
I would wake up in the night...and my hands would be clenched...and stiff. I would pry my fingers apart...and they were so sore.

That lasted several months...and then slowly got better with continued treatment.
I never had any imaging done...I just assumed it was lyme/bart...etc.

They only bother me occasionally first thing in the morning now.
Moderator, Lyme Forum
Symp started April/2013; Buhner's Lyme May 15-July24/14; Igenex pos. July 3/14
Doxy: July 4-Aug.24/14;Zithro July26-Aug24/14; Amox + Proben. Aug. 29/14;
added biaxin Sept. 26/14
Disc. amox,added Ceftin Nov. 20th.;
Disc. biaxin added Buhner bart herbs Dec/14;Jan/15 pulsing Tinda (w/ Ceftin);
Abx/herb break Apr-July/15; July-mino; Aug. added Rif;
Nov./15 mino - to biaxi

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2015
Total Posts : 4886
   Posted 2/7/2018 10:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Have you ever had cats ...? Bartonella loves bones ...
One guy saw a doc did low dose minocycline for a year to kill mycoplasma got use of his hands back ...bee venom cures arthritis by the same mechanism plus a most powerful anti-inflammatory

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 5080
   Posted 2/8/2018 4:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Like most autoimmune issues, RA has antibodies associated with it. This should be tested, if not already.
It would be good to know if this has not developed.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2016
Total Posts : 70
   Posted 2/8/2018 4:20 PM (GMT -6)   
One other random thing: As I was reading about osteoarthritis, I came across a study indicating that excessive vitamin C supplementation can worsen osteoarthritis or cause osteophytes (bone spurs) to develop.

At the suggestion of the functional medicine doctor who was then treating me for Lyme, I spent the last year taking very high doses of vitamin C. I wonder if that, in combination with whatever inflammation I had (caused by Lyme and/or autoimmune issues), is what triggered the osteoarthritis and osteophytes. I've stopped those supplements. But I assume that whatever damage was already done can't be undone.

Bluelyme -- I have a cat, and I did test positive last year for bartonella. More recent tests (after a month-long course of doxy last fall, and after loosely following the Buhner bartonella protocol for a few months) have been either completely negative or barely positive.

Interesting about the bee venom. After reading your reply, I spent a bunch of time reading about bee sting therapy. Honestly, I'd do this in a heartbeat if there was a practitioner nearby.

Astroman -- I've had autoimmune blood tests done several times in the past couple of years, and so far the only thing that comes up positive is ANA. It is a low but consistent positive -- usually 1:80, but it has gone to 1:160 a couple of times, including last month.

I've so far tested negative on all the specific markers that they've tested for -- the Sjogren's antibodies, the various RA antibodies, scleroderma, etc. But I know that negative results don't necessarily rule out an autoimmune issue.

Elite Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 36310
   Posted 2/8/2018 5:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I just got this article in my email and immediately thought of our conversation here. I thought it may be helpful for you to see: /

"Scientists at University of Utah Health believe they identified a mechanism that activates T cells, a key component of the immune system, which could explain the elusive link between a tick bite and persistent Lyme arthritis. The results are published online in the February 5th issue of The Journal of Immunology.

“We believe that in this model persistent Lyme arthritis is a result of [overactive] immune response,” said the study’s first author Sarah Whiteside, a graduate student in Janis Weis’s lab at U of U Health.

The researchers identified a receptor on T cells that interacts with molecules on the surface of B. burgdorferi. Like a key fitting into a lock, the receptors join in a process resulting in bystander activation. This activation mechanism triggers the T cell to produce inflammatory molecules that accumulate around the joints and contribute to inflammation and arthritis.

Some of the newly ‘turned-on’ T cells can interact with residual bacteria that persists long after the initial tick bite, producing a cascading cycle of inflammation that could lead to infection-induced autoimmunity.

“Through bystander activation, a whole repertoire of T cells may be activated, independent of their specificity for infecting pathogens,” said Weis, Ph.D., professor of Pathology at U of U Health.

Whiteside cautions the exact mechanism of T cell activation needs clarification, but the results from this study suggest new therapeutic approaches, such as focusing on anti-inflammatory mechanisms, might be more effective for patients with persistent Lyme arthritis.

“If you can suppress T cell activation for the short-term, we might help re-establish the control mechanism [for the immune response] in the body,” said Weis.

In addition to new therapies, future studies may focus on the broader implications of bystander activation for other pathogen-induced and autoimmune diseases."

While this is new research and we must wait for this to not only be verified and duplicated before we take this information and 'run with it' - it's another possible explanation for what's going on for both of us.
Herb only treatment for Lyme & Bart ended 12/11 - no active symptoms for 2 yrs -Herb only treatment for Babesia ended 12/12
Had Lyme, Bart, Babs, RMSF, Ehrlichia, Myco, Anaplasmosis, EBV
New set of infections 8/2014 - still treating.
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