Is It Fibromyalgia or Lyme?

Lyme tick photo
My last blog announced the launch of FFPN, the Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Practitioners’ Network ( The new org will train health practitioners in the highly successful SHINE protocol developed by board certified internist Jacob Teitelbaum, MD. Dr. T’s work over the past 30+ years has focused on making effective treatment for #ChronicFatigueSyndrome (CFS) and #Fibromyalgia (FMS) available. SHINE treats Sleep, Hormones, Inflammation/Infections, Nutrition and Exercise.

The topic inspired one Facebook friend to make the following point: “Many doctors think that possibly up to 80 percent of fibromyalgia is actually a misdiagnosis of chronic Lyme disease syndrome. As a former Lyme patient, I tend to agree with that assessment.”

Interesting point…especially since #Lymedisease is growing nationwide—and at a rate much greater than previously reported. Preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is around 300,000. And the incidence of fibromyalgia has exploded by 400 percent worldwide over the last 10 years.

I asked @DrJTeitelbaum to weigh in on Lyme and fibro and here’s his response:

“Diagnosing Lyme disease is very tricky because there really is no reliable testing. Most labs either miss the majority of people who have Lyme disease or do tests that will diagnose almost everyone, sick or well, as having Lyme disease.

“On the other hand, having effectively treated over 3000 people with fibromyalgia and having had it myself, I find that there are dozens if not hundreds of things that can trigger or exacerbate the illness, including dozens of infections. Basically, post-infectious CFS and fibromyalgia are common, and research has shown that it can occur with viral, bacterial, and even parasite infections. Definitely, Lyme is one of the many infections that can trigger fibromyalgia.

“What is key is to recognize that there is a subset of people who do require antibiotics to recover from Lyme disease as well as fibromyalgia, but even in this population if one only gives antibiotics without giving the rest of what we call the ‘SHINE protocol,’ recovery will be transient or partial.

In summary: “Lyme is simply one of many causes of fibromyalgia, so if you have fibro symptoms you still have fibro and need the SHINE protocol, even if you also have Lyme. Symptoms suggestive of Lyme as a source rather than fibromyalgia include nerve symptoms such as vertigo (neuropathy is common in both conditions) and other evidence of inflammation.”

Join Dr. Teitelbaum at to ask any specific questions about fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or other health topics. For an archive of subjects he’s addressed on his website, visit: