Lyme Disease – are you suffering from Lyme disease?
It’s summer. Here are the long days of enjoying the outdoors. But summertime fun can also come with some summertime woes. The Center for Disease Control has found that roughly 300,000 people a year are diagnosed with Lyme disease. Many doctors say that Chronic Lyme disease creates a worse quality of life than most other chronic illnesses.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a multi-systemic disease which is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) bacteria and is usually transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. The bacterium can be found in many different organs, but is often difficult to test for, which is why there are so many cases of misdiagnosis.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
In 70-80% of cases, one of the earliest noticeable symptoms of Lyme disease is a circular rash at the site of the tick bite. The rash is called erythema migrans and expands over time. Flu-like symptoms have also been reported at this stage, which includes but isn’t limited to: fever, chills, headaches, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, joint pain, and muscle aches.
If not caught right away, after a few weeks, the disease will spread to more areas of the body including the joints, heart, and nervous system. Even more rashes may flare up and there may be periods of pain and fatigue in the limbs and rapid heartbeat. As it spreads to the brain, Bell’s palsy (facial muscle paralysis), headaches, and poor memory may ensue.
Unfortunately, if left untreated or treatment thus far is unsuccessful, the disease gets much worse. This is when sufferers feel arthritic – especially in the knees – which may become chronic. On top of that, since the nervous system is affected, those infected can develop abnormal sensations and confusion. Lastly, while not evident in most patients, heart muscle inflammation and irregular heartbeat may occur on top of the rapid beating.
Click here for a symptom slideshow and more information.
Prevention of Lyme Disease
The main goal of the Lyme Disease Association is to stop the spread of Lyme and “other tick-borne diseases”. The main form of prevention is to stay away from grassy and wooded areas, especially in the months of May through July. When you do have to enter those kinds of areas, however, cover your entire body from head to toe and apply an insect repellent with DEET directly onto your skin. Please note that you can use repellents with permethrin, however only apply this to your clothing and never to the skin.
When coming back inside, thoroughly check yourself (and any kids or pets) for any signs of ticks, bites, or rashes. If there is a tick, wash your skin and scalp to knock off any loose ones. For those that are holding on stronger, follow this guide.
Misdiagnosis of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is considered to be the best example of how the medical industry misdiagnoses disease still to this day. One of the most referred medical books is Mendel’s Infections disease textbook, which tells doctors that if the blood tests (usually the western blot test) come back negative for Lyme disease, they should look for another diagnosis. These immune system tests are very sensitive and in fact, the tests miss over 50% of cases because of false negatives.
On the flip side, there are times when patients test positive for Lyme disease when they actually have a different bacterial illness. Or they test positive because they were once infected with the tick-borne disease at another time during their lives, but the infection is no longer active or causes disturbances in the body.
On top of false negatives and positives, many patients are told that their medical conditions are solely in their heads. Their symptoms are all in line with hypochondriac symptoms and therefore not taken as seriously. Or the symptoms align with another disease and misdiagnosed that way. For example, Chronic Lyme disease has symptoms very similar to other chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis. This is another reason that so many suffering from Lyme disease aren’t given the correct diagnosis and more importantly, left untreated.
Click here for a larger sample list of Lyme disease misdiagnosis.
Lyme Disease Treatment
There are a few different ways that doctors and patients have gone about treating Lyme disease. The most common way is through antibiotics – especially when the case is diagnosed early. Those diagnosed with later stages require longer-term treatment, usually through an intravenous (IV) antibiotic therapy.
Unfortunately, there are those who don’t respond well to the antibiotics and must find alternative solutions. Dr. Bill Rawls was one of these patients and actually found that the antibiotics were making him feel even worse than the disease itself. He tried nearly everything (read his full story here) but ultimately found that herbal therapy was the turning point he needed to fight this infectious disease. Once the herbal remedies started to take, he found that creating the perfect environment for healing was the last piece of the puzzle.
Creating the perfect healing environment is less difficult than people think.
- It’s about getting adequate sleep
- Eating Micronutrient and Macronutrient balanced foods
- Lowering stress levels.
In the last blog, we discussed how massage therapy helps boost the immune system and activate Natural Killer cells to fight off infection. In the blog before that, we talked about using essential oils and massage therapy to help fight off inflammation throughout the body. Holistic methods of healing have risen in popularity as of late, and the results are hard to argue with.
Treatment at Zock
In keeping with holistic healing, here at Zock Family Chiropractic, we believe in treating a person as a whole and not just by their symptoms. Paired with proper nutrition, moderate exercise, and adequate sleep, massage therapy can help ease the painful symptoms of Lyme disease.
Chiropractic musculoskeletal treatment can help patients by decreasing symptoms associated with Lyme by:
- Stimulating the immune response
- Increasing blood flow to areas with high inflammation
By naturally healing from the inside out, we want to help you lessen your need for modern medication and IV antibiotics to help reverse the signs of Lyme disease. Contact us today to schedule an introductory chiropractic session and see if other techniques such as essential oils, massage or supplements can help with your inflammatory-related pain today. We will discuss this as part of my initial chiropractic workup for you as a new patient to our practice.
* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.
Image Credit – Frederick Geiger – onCORE.ventures