Lyme disease is a tick-born bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans when they are bitten by an infected tick. Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick. The chances of getting Lyme disease are higher for those who live or spend a lot of time in grassy and heavily wooded areas as this is where ticks carry Lyme disease and the conditions are ideal for the disease to thrive. Having a stiffness in the neck could be a major symptom of Lyme disease.
It is estimated that 30 per cent of cases of neck stiffness turned out to be Lyme disease and is typically one of the earlier symptoms.
Many aspects of Lyme disease are still not fully understood and how it causes pain and stiffness in the neck is unclear.
However, it is thought that the primary bacteria of Lyme disease can get into tendons, ligaments, muscles, intervertebral discs, blood vessels and the linings of nerves – including the neck – causing inflammation, pain, and muscle spasms.
Apart from a rash that develops on the skin, stiffness in the neck is also a major symptom of Lyme disease.
Other symptoms to look out for include:
This can ranger from a dull pain to a sharp, almost shock-like pain and can be in the arm, buttock or leg.
Paralysis of the facial muscles which causes drooping of either the eyelid or check making it difficult for the person to smile.
Tingling or numbness
A feeling of tingling can be felt in various parts of the body but mostly in the hands or feet causing coordination problems.
Mental health challenges
Short-Term memory, confusion and being easily agitated are also symptoms of Lyme disease.
The NHS says: “Lyme disease can often be treated effectively if its detected early on.
“But if its not treated or treatment is delayed, there’s a risk you could develop sever long-lasting symptoms.
“A few people with Lyme disease go on to develop long-term symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.
“This is known as post-infectious Lyme disease and its unclear why this happens, but its likely to be related to overactivity of your immune system rather than persistent infection.”
It’s important to speak with your GP if you have experienced any of the symptoms similar to the condition of Lyme disease.
Diagnosing Lyme disease is often difficult as many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions. A spreading rash some days after a known tick bite should be treated with antibiotics while waiting for the results of a blood test.