Lyme diseaseLyme Disease is a bacterial infection caused by a spirochete form of bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is very similar to the bacterium which causes the dread disease syphlis. Nobody talks about this, but the disease resembles syphilis both in its etiology and its pathology. The bacteria is termed "spirochete" due to it's spiral or spring-like shape. It is a highly motile bacteria which travels through the tissues and organs by contracting lengthwise and then springing forward.
The bacteria causes physical damage by this burrowing motion, as well as biochemical changes to the tissues, before lodging in various organs and joints where it can cause a number of symptoms. The most common are Arthritis-like symptoms and Nerve degeneration symptoms when the bacteria lodges in the spine or brain (CNS). It is these nervous system complications which are the most serious and the most difficult to treat. Migrains, dizziness, uncoordination and blindness are some of the results of CNS involvement with Lyme disease. (and of course death - another of the symptoms not too many doctors like to mention) The body has a protective blood-brain barrier, which few antibiotics can cross, and the body must rely on its own immune system to address these CNS sites of infection. Otherwise, the brain and spinal column become reservoirs of the bacteria, from where they re-infect the body after each round of antibiotic treatment. It is VERY IMPORTANT to get early antibiotic treatment with this disease. Once the disease is well established, it is impossible to ever become the same person you were.
SERIOUS COMPLICATION CAN ARISE IF LEFT UNTREATED
The treatment of Lyme's is with antibiotics, such as Keflex, doxycycline or amoxicillin. As far as Lyme's Arthritis, People who have a particular HLA molecule which matches the OspA outer surface protein are prone to an autoimmune arthritis (molecular mimicry) which does not remit after antibiotic treatment (Science 281: 703, 1998). This is a serious complication with Lyme, as even though the disease is cured, and no more bacteria are present in the body, you are still left with a serious arthritis. That is one of the reasons that early treatment is so important to deal with the disease before the damage occurs.
SYPTOMS OF LYME DISEASE:
In 60%-80% of the cases, a large, reddish rash about 2 inches in diameter appears and expands around or near the site of the bite. Sometimes, multiple rash sites appear. The early stage of Lyme disease is usually marked by one or more of the following symptoms and signs: chills and fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, muscle and/or joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, complications from late Lyme disease, such as arthritis, meningitis, facial palsy or heart abnormalities, may occur within a few weeks to months. These later symptoms may develop in people who did not have early symptoms or did not recognize them. Swelling and pain in the large joints may recur over many years.
"The longer the tick stays attached, the more likely you are to get sick. If I found an engorged tick on me, I'd simply treat myself for Lyme disease" (this quote is taken directly from the medical journal - Journal of Infectious Diseases 175: 996, 1997)
WHERE DOES LYME OCCUR?
The infection is most common in the Northeastern United States, with about 40% of the cases in New York state. It is also fairly common in Minnesota and Wisconson. The rest of the country sees only scattered cases, other than a few "hot spots" like Humboldt county in Northern California. There are many good sites on Lyme disease, which we have linked to down at the bottom of this page.
As with any systemic condition it is important to keep joints functioning optimally and to keep patients feeling optimal with low force energy techniques and conditioning exercises this is where Chiropractic and physical therapy come in keeping the joints as pain free as possible.