Lyme Disease and Post Lyme Disease Syndrome
Lyme disease is an infectious disease that is caused by bacteria. The most common sign of infection is an expanding rash that resembles a bulls eye and begins at the site of a tick bite about a week or so after it has occurred. The rash is typically neither itchy nor painful. Some of the infected people do not develop a rash. As the infection spreads, symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, stiff neck, fatigue and heart palpitations.
Antibiotics can cure most cases of Lyme disease. The sooner treatment begins, the quicker and more complete the recovery.
After treatment, some patients may still have muscle or joint aches and nervous system symptoms. This is called post-Lyme disease syndrome (PLDS). Most patients do get better with time.
1. Latest News
2. Symptoms and Treatments
In Post-Lyme disease the patient may experience the following chronic symptoms.
Note: Always seek advice from a doctor before beginning any listed treatments. Treatments can affect everyone differently.
B12 injections for Lyme Disease:
Some patients have had increases in energy by receiving B12 injections. These can only be administered by your doctor.
Pacing for Lyme Disease:
Patients are advised to set manageable daily activity/exercise goals and balance their activity and rest to avoid possible over-doing which may worsen their symptoms. People who can function within their individual limits may then try to gradually increase activity and exercise levels (GET - Graded Exercise Therapy) while maintaining pacing methods.
Working with a trained practitioner can assist you to develop skills to calm anxiety and can also equip you with knowledge to find your next steps towards wellness. Please ensure that you find a practitioner who understands how to navigate the territory of complex chronic health conditions.
D-Ribose for Lyme Disease:
Some patients have had increases in energy by taking D-Ribose. D-Ribose is a unique sugar that supports the body's mitochondrial cycle and helps the the body recycle ATP.
Magnesium for Lyme Disease:
Some patients benefit as supplementation may decrease fatigue, calm nerves, relieve muscle aches and spasms, relieve constipation and is also important for heart health.
CoQ10 for Lyme Disease:
CoQ10 is an additional supplent to support the mitochondrial cycle and ATP production. It can be very effective when used in conjunction with D-Ribose.
Acupuncture for Lyme Disease:
Some people find relief from acupuncture. Acupuncture clears any blockages in the body and assists the body to repair and heal itself.
Tai Chi for Lyme Disease:
An ancient martial art/exercise that has been used to help patients.
Mindfulness for Lyme Disease:
Many believe that Post Lyme Disease Syndrome causes changes to the immune system which leads to fatigue, an excellent "no drugs" way to calm the immune system is through mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness is a set of skills for healing, intuition, insight, calmness, focus, resilience and hope that you can develop to counter the stresses that chronic illness brings. You can literally "train your mind to promote healing. Mindfulness has a positive flow on affect into every aspect of a person’s life. More info
Trycylics for Lyme Disease:
Such as Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline and Doxepin are old style antidepressants which may be used to improve sleep and also give symptom relief for headaches.
Melatonin (1-6mg) for Lyme Disease:
Melatonin is excellent for helping people to fall asleep and is popular with shift workers for this reason. It may be used in conjunction with Trycylics. It can cause some to feel groggy the next morning.
Antihistamines for Lyme Disease:
like promethazine can have good sedating properties and are also beneficial for those with allergies and sinus issues. They are non addictive but can also leave you feeling groggy the next morning.
Orphenadrine for Lyme Disease:
is a muscle relaxant and helps with night cramps, spasms, muscle pain and twitching.
Ropinirole for Lyme Disease:
can help relieve restless legs syndrome.
Quetiapine for Lyme Disease:
is a mood disorder medication however at very low doses it has helped patients with sleep issues.
Environment improvements for Lyme Disease:
It is important to be comfortable, have the right temperature, be quiet and be really dark. Before looking at any sleep medication, ensure you have the basics right first.
Lifestyle for Lyme Disease:
Reducing stress levels is important and mindfulness can help with this. Avoiding alcohol, too much sugar and caffeine in the late evening is paramount to a good slumber. Exposure to sunlight during the day prepares the body for melatonin release at the right times which will help you fall asleep
Natural approaches for Lyme Disease:
Progressive relaxation techniques, soft music, massage and warm baths can all help. Chamomile tea has been proven to be effective with relaxation.
Magnesium for Lyme Disease:
and calcium supplements can relieve night cramps if these are a barrier to getting a good nights rest.
5-HTP for Lyme Disease:
Over the counter 5-HTP helps some as does hot milk which contains the same ingredient.
Protein before bed:
Eating a protein snack (eggs, milk or nuts) or having a protein shake before bed helps regulate blood sugar levels throughout the night and helps promote good quality sleep.
These pains include joint pain, muscular pain, headaches, gastrointestinal, bladder, menstrual and lymph gland pain too. Widespread muscle and connective tissue pain is known as Fibromyalgia - more information on Fibromyalgia here
Analgesics for Lyme Disease:
Such as paracetamol or aspirin work best for localised pain. For more serious pain there is codeine and tramadol. For very severe pain prescription drugs include morphine, oxycodone and pethidine.
NSAIDs for Lyme Disease:
work by reducing inflammation. Diclofenac, ibuprofen and naproxen are good for sprains, strains, infection related pain and joint pain associated with arthritis. These medications can be quite harsh on the stomach and some patients cope with a subsidary medication known as COX-2 inhibitors such as celecoxib.
Anticonvulsants for Lyme Disease:
such as carbamazepine and sodium valproate are drugs intended for chronic pain which decrease `electric impulses` and decrease our experience of pain. The dose need sto be built up gradually over time and initially you may experience side effects however most of these go away with time. As with any medication, discuss with your doctor.
Mindfulness for Lyme Disease:
Mindfulness is a proven strategy that has many health benefits including controlling pain. More info
Acupuncture and Hypnosis for Lyme Disease:
Are methods that have been proven to relieve pain in some individuals.
Willow Bark for Lyme Disease:
A natural painkiller that contains the same active ingredient as aspirin. Avoid if you have an aspirin sensitivity.
Omega 3 Fish Oils for Lyme Disease:
Help to block inflammatory cytokines, and may give pain relief to some.
Olive Oil for Lyme Disease:
Contains similar properties to ibuprofen.
Capsicum Cream for Lyme Disease:
Can be used for localised joint or muscle pain. Use carefully and avoid broken skin as it can burn.
3. Diagnosis and Tests
Visual diagnosis will normally reveal the typical "bullseye" Lyme disease rash, however this is not always the case and there are a couple of lab tests to assist with diagnosis. These tests can identify antibodies to the bacteria to help confirm the diagnosis. These tests are best performed a few weeks after infection when the body has had time to develop antibodies. They include:
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test. The test used most often to detect Lyme disease, ELISA detects antibodies to B. burgdorferi. It can sometimes provide false-positive results and is therefor not used as the solely for diagnosis. This test might not be positive during the early stage of Lyme disease, but the rash is distinctive enough to make the diagnosis without further testing in people who live in areas infested with ticks that transmit Lyme disease.
Western blot test. If the ELISA test is positive, this test is then usually done to confirm the diagnosis. In this two-step approach, the Western blot detects antibodies to several proteins of B. burgdorferi.