Chronic Lyme Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Chronic lyme disease is an illness that’s transmitted to humans through the bite of a black-legged tick infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi). While not a life-threatening illness, Lyme disease can cause an array of symptoms and, if not properly treated, can lead to ongoing illness and complications involving the heart, joints, and nervous system.
Prompt diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics cures the infection in most people, however, the recovery process isn’t always so cut-and-dry. Up to 20 percent of people infected with Lyme disease will continue to have chronic symptoms despite a prompt diagnosis and appropriate use of antibiotics. These people may go on to suffer from Lyme disease symptoms for months, or even years—a condition that’s referred to as chronic Lyme disease.
What causes some people to easily recover from Lyme disease while others continue to struggle for years? For many chronic Lyme sufferers, ongoing symptoms may be due to trauma to a part of the brain called the limbic system. This is actually good news, as it means that neuroplasticity can be harnessed to promote repair of the limbic system and aid in the recovery from Lyme disease.
In this article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about chronic Lyme disease, including how re-origin, a neuroplasticity-based treatment program, can help you rid yourself of your symptoms and reclaim your life.
Chronic Lyme disease is also known as:
- Persistent Lyme disease
- Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome
Symptoms of limbic cross-wiring
- Muscle and joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Erythema migrans (EM) rash—a bullseye-looking rash that occurs in roughly 70-80 percent of infected people.
- Severe headaches
- Neck stiffness
- Facial palsy (droop on one or both sides of the face)
- Joint pain and swelling
- Pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Heart palpitations
- Disrupted sleep
- Shortness of breath
- Brain fog
- Nerve pain
- Tingling in the hands and feet
Causes and Risk Factors of Chronic Lyme Disease
- Having a high chronic stress load prior to contracting the infection.
- Having experienced trauma prior to contracting the infection.
- Not getting prompt treatment for the initial infection, or not taking antibiotics for the appropriate length of time
How Chronic Lyme is Diagnosed
How Chronic Lyme is Treated
Because chronic Lyme disease is still poorly understood in the medical community, there is currently no definitive treatment protocol offered through mainstream medicine. Thankfully, however, many people with chronic Lyme are reporting success in resolving their ongoing symptoms by retraining their brains.
Before we delve into how to support chronic Lyme recovery from a neurological perspective, let’s discuss common traditional and alternative treatment options and the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
Diet & detoxification
Some medical practitioners, especially naturopaths, functional medicine doctors, and integrative medicine doctors, will suggest a certain diet or detoxification protocol aimed at killing the B. burgdorferi bacteria and eliminating it from the body. Individuals may see some improvement in their symptoms through detoxification, likely due to a reduction in inflammation, however, most people aren’t able to fully resolve their symptoms via this route.
This is because this approach doesn’t address the hyperactivity of the limbic system, and it’s this hyperactivity that causes important systems like the immune system and detoxification mechanisms to not function properly. The dysfunction of the limbic system must first be addressed for other interventions to work effectively.
How We Approach Chronic Lyme
How to Live and Cope with Chronic Lyme
Frequently Asked Questions
You might be wondering why one person may quickly recover from an acute Lyme disease infection with antibiotics while another person can’t seem to fully recover despite following doctor’s orders. The difference comes down to the state of a person’s limbic system. If a person is experiencing chronic stress in their daily life, say from work or a relationship, getting infected with Lyme disease can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
The combination of stressors essentially overwhelms the brain and changes the circuitry in a part of the brain called the limbic system. When in this maladaptive state, the immune system and nervous system can get stuck in “high gear,” which quickly uses up the body’s resources and prevents it from being able to properly fight the infection, leading to ongoing symptoms.
A Final Word from re-origin
Chronic Lyme disease can flip a person’s world upside down. The symptoms are often so debilitating that even doing simple tasks can seem nearly impossible. We want you to know that you don’t have to live with these symptoms—there’s a way out.
Many of the symptoms you’re experiencing and your inability to fully recover are being caused by a feedback loop in the brain. re-origin’s team of neuroscientists and psychologists have extensively studied this loop and how to break it, and have packaged that information into an easy-to-apply program that can help you reclaim your life.
Chronic Lyme sufferers around the globe are finding recovery thanks to brain retraining programs like re-origin. Our neuroplasticity-based program offers a way to calm an overactive limbic system and restore healthy, normal function to the brain and body. When the brain calms down, the body can do what it does best—heal.
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