Chronic Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a multisystem infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.1,2  It is the most common vector-transmitted disease in the United States. Vectors are organisms that transmit pathogens between humans and/or animals.  The principal vector for transmission in the United States are ticks.3  Infected ticks need to be attached for at least 24-48 hours to be able to transmit the bacterium. Bites from ticks are usually painless and are often unrecognized. Infected persons do not transmit Lyme disease to others.  Approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year.4  The vast majority (95%) of reported cases occur in the northeastern and midwestern areas of the United States.

Lyme disease is classified into 3 stages; early localized Lyme disease, early disseminated Lyme disease, and late Lyme disease.  Early localized Lyme disease is characterized by a rash appearing at the site of the tick bite about 7-14 days following the bite.5  This prototypical rash is called erythema migrans.  Early disseminated Lyme disease may manifest as multiple similar rashes, usually appearing 3-5 weeks following the tick bite. Neurologic findings may be present and could include meningitis. Late Lyme disease occurs weeks to months after initial infection and is characterized by arthritis, usually affecting large joints. Neurologic complications at this stage may include encephalitis or encephalopathy.6  Chronic Lyme disease is a label used for a constellation of nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, night sweats, sore throat, joint pain, palpitations, abdominal pain, etc.7

The CDC criteria for diagnosis of Lyme disease are 1) erythema migrans alone or 2) at least one late manifestation PLUS lab confirmation of infection. Lab confirmation includes isolation of the bacterium or the presence of antibodies to the bacterium either in the blood or the cerebrospinal fluid.8

Lyme disease is best treated with antibiotics. Treatment within 4 weeks of symptom-onset is strongly associated with complete recovery.9  Doxycycline is the first line therapy in early Lyme disease. It is important to assess whether Lyme disease has been adequately treated and that the patient actually had objective evidence of Lyme disease.

Persons without an initial diagnosis of Lyme disease using objective criteria should be discouraged from pursuing a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease. Persistent symptoms may not be due to continued active infection; rather, such patients can be treated with symptomatic anti-inflammatory measures since lingering symptoms are likely to be autoimmune in origin.10,11  A cornerstone of the anti-inflammatory approach is an anti-inflammatory diet, aerobic and weight-bearing exercise, as well as intravenous ozone therapy.12,13  Other aspects of treatment include use of probiotics14, and intravenous micro-nutrient therapy such as Myers cocktail.15

Rocky Mountain Regenerative Medicine is unique in that we have wide-ranging anti-inflammatory options tailored to the specific needs of our clients.

  1. M.E. Aguero-Rosenfeld, G. Wang, I. Schwartz, G.P. Wormser: Diagnosis of lyme borreliosis. Clin Microbiol Rev. 18 (3):484-509 2005
  2. E.D. Shapiro: Clinical practice. Lyme disease. N Engl J Med. 370 (18):1724-1731 2014
  3. P.S. Mead: Epidemiology of lyme disease. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 29 (2):187-210 2015
  1.   A. Stonehouse, J.S. Studdiford, C.A. Henry: An update on the diagnosis and treatment of early lyme disease: “focusing on the bull’s eye, you may miss the mark. J Emerg Med. 39 (5):e147-e151 2010
  2.   T.S. Murray, E.D. Shapiro: Lyme disease. Clin Lab Med. 30 (1):311-328 2010
  3.   R.L. Bratton, J.W. Whiteside, M.J. Hovan, R.L. Engle, F.D. Edwards: Diagnosis and treatment of lyme disease. Mayo Clin Proc. 83 (5):566-571 2008
  4.   J.J. Halperin: Chronic Lyme disease: misconceptions and challenges for patient management. Infect Drug Resist. 8:119-128 2015
  5.   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Recommendations for test performance and interpretation from the Second National Conference on Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 44 (31):590-591 1995
  6.   E.S. Asch, D.I. Bujak, M. Weiss, M.G. Peterson, A. Weinstein: Lyme disease: an infectious and postinfectious syndrome. J Rheumatol. 21 (3):454-461 1994
  7. J.N. Aucott: Posttreatment lyme disease syndrome. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 29(2):309-323 2015
  8. A.C. Steere, S.M. Angelis: Therapy for lyme arthritis: strategies for the treatment of antibiotic-refractory arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 54 (10):3079-3086 2006
  9. L. Skoldstam, L. Hagfors, G. Johansson: An experimental study of a Mediterranean diet intervention for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 62 (3):208-214 2003
  10. G.A. Kelley, K.S. Kelley: Effects of exercise on depressive symptoms in adults with arthritis and other rheumatic disease: a systematic review of meta-analyses. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 15:121 2014
  11. A.R. Lomax, P.C. Calder: Probiotics, immune function, infection and inflammation: a review of the evidence from studies conducted in humans. Curr Pharm Des. 15(13):1428-1518 2009
  12. A. Ali, V.Y. Njike, V. Northrup, et al.: Intravenous micronutrient therapy (Myers’ Cocktail) for fibromyalgia: a placebo-controlled pilot study. J Altern Complement Med.15 (3):247-257 2009
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Oxidative Therapy

If you’re suffering from allergies, asthma, the common cold, gastrointestinal disorders, skin conditions, poor wound healing, chronic Lyme disease, or any number of other conditions, then oxidative therapy may provide the relief you’ve been looking for.