Lyme Disease and How Chiropractic Can Help
We already know that chiropractic care is among the safest of any approach to naturally and holistically treat certain patients suffering from a huge variety of symptoms and conditions which include: neck or back pain, scoliosis, sciatica, frozen shoulders, headaches, high blood pressure, acid reflux or other digestive issues, certain injuries and even some neuromusculoskeletal complaints that may have required surgery. Chiropractic adjustments allow the body to heal itself by simply maintaining proper positioning and alignment.
So, how can chiropractic care help with Lyme Disease? To answer that, we have to understand just what this disease is exactly, and what symptoms it comes with. This article will outline the most important information you need to know regarding Lyme disease, how you can protect yourself and what treatment options are available for those who have been infected.
What Exactly is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is transmitted from certain types of ticks to humans through bite. This specific kind of infection that results in Lyme disease is spirochete or corkscrew-shaped bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. It is spread via ticks that have fed on deer in specific parts of the U.S. It can have an effect on any organ inside the body, including the heart, the brain and nervous system, and the muscles and joints. It is important to check yourself for ticks frequently if you are in a tick-infested area. The longer a tick is attached, the higher your chances of contracting Lyme.
Lyme is often referred to as “The Great Imitator,” because its symptoms copy those of many other diseases. Because of this mimicking aspect of Lyme, many people that contract the disease are misdiagnosed. Some common misdiagnoses include: chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, depression, and others.
Which Areas Contain the Highest Risk of Lyme Disease Infection?
If you are traveling or enjoying outdoor activities, it is extremely critical that you are educated as to which areas in the United States have the highest exposure to the certain kind of tick that transmits Lyme disease. Although cases of Lyme disease have been reported in just about all 50 of the states, there are specific areas that are more likely to house these ticks. The most common areas are those states along the coast of the northeast and Mid-Atlantic. This area includes the states New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
Like most illnesses, it is much better to catch Lyme disease in its early stages. If you have been bitten by a tick or notice a rash that resembles a bull’s eye, you may need to be on the lookout. The early stage symptoms of Lyme can include seemingly flu like symptoms such as chills, fever, the sweats, any muscles aches or joint pains, nausea, fatigue, stiff neck, headaches, and swollen lymph nodes. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is critical to visit your doctor right away as you may have been exposed to Lyme disease. Getting treatment as early as possible may reduce the risk of further damaging your heart and nervous system.
Late or Chronic Symptoms
Because it is so difficult to diagnose, it is possible for Lyme disease to go untreated for quite a while. In other cases, the chosen course of treatment may not have been effective. If not treated successfully in the early stages, the symptoms of Lyme disease can evolve into fatigue, joint and muscle pain, cognitive impairment, poor sleep, mood problems, and even certain neurological impairments.
If you are pregnant, the infection present even further complications. In some cases, Lyme disease can be passed to the fetus and possibly cause a stillbirth.
Testing for Lyme Disease
A doctor can diagnose Lyme disease using a variety of tests.
These tests would include a spinal tap, especially if you are experiencing issues with your nervous system, ELISA, which is a blood test that can measure the amount of antibodies present that will fight against the Lyme disease bacteria, or a Western Blot, which is a blood test that compares antibodies against the proteins that are found in Lyme disease. Many of these tests may not be available until the Lyme disease has already progressed to later stages. To catch it in the earlier stages, keep an eye out for symptoms and let your doctor know what areas you have been visiting.
Treatment for Lyme Disease
Antibiotics are the go-to type of treatment for Lyme disease. As always, the earlier the disease is diagnosed, the more successful the treatment options can be for the infected person.
How can Chiropractic Treatment Help?
Even after treatment, the patient may experience a few symptoms that may linger. This has been very typical for most Lyme disease patients to experience after completing their course of treatment. This after-effect of treatment symptoms is commonly known as Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). The symptoms are similar to those of the disease and may include: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and achiness. While these symptoms will vary based on each individual person, they might continue to linger or they may gradually fade away.
Your chiropractor may suggest a spinal adjustment which will improve the functioning of the central nervous system and provide comfort from certain symptoms like joint pain and achiness. Your chiropractor might also recommend stretches and exercise to reduce muscle stiffness, control inflammation, and improve mobility.
Chiropractic care has been shown to help with symptoms like achiness, stiff neck and headaches. It has also demonstrated effectiveness in supporting the immune system. There are certain chiropractic manipulations that could help by triggering a positive response in your immune system, and also assist with any pains that have resulted from either the Lyme disease or PTLDS. It is a great idea to have a discussion with your chiropractor about the symptoms you are currently experiencing to see if chiropractic care could be a good treatment choice for you.
Our recommendation would be to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors. Have fun, and be safe. If you enjoy hiking, camping, or other outdoor activities that might put you in an area that is high risk for Lyme disease, always be sure to check yourself thoroughly for ticks. Eat healthy foods to manage your symptoms and to maintain the energy to continue engaging in healthy behaviors like exercising. By keeping your body healthy and your immune system strong, you have a good chance of treatment being successful if you do contract Lyme disease.