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Do You Have Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome? How Acupuncture Can Help

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If you've just finished the recommended course of antibiotics for Lyme disease, but are still experiencing symptoms, you may have post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. This syndrome usually occurs in people who received treatment much later than they should've since they didn't realize they were bitten by a tick. Read on to see why this syndrome can be so hard to treat and how acupuncture treatment could help your case:

Why Is Lyme Bacteria So Hard to Kill?

It's an understatement to say that Lyme disease is a horrible illness. It's known as the "Great Imitator" because it can cause symptoms that may be misdiagnosed as other diseases, such as Bipolar disorder, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer's disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and so on. Because it imitates so many other conditions, patients may have Lyme in their system for years before getting the help they need.

While a patient scrambles to find proper treatment, the Lyme bacteria (known as "spirochetes") can better hide throughout the body. Spirochetes are drill-shaped bacteria, and they can use this shape to literally "drill" themselves deeper into different tissues to hide. Once a patient finally narrows down that they have Lyme, the usage of oral antibiotics, like amoxicillin and doxycycline, may not be as effective on the spirochetes.

Some people are lucky, and a course of antibiotics may do the trick. But if you still have symptoms, you will be diagnosed with the post-treatment syndrome. Patients who fall into this category should seek out a Lyme-literate doctor (LLMD) to help. Unfortunately, there is no one treatment for people with this post-treatment syndrome, so patients and their LLMDs must proceed with trial-and-error treatments.

Why Are Long-Term Antibiotics Such a Problem?

You may be wondering why you couldn't just bombard the bacteria with an extended course of antibiotics. While this may work for some people, it's usually not the best for post-treatment patients since long-term use of antibiotics can decimate your gut's good bacteria. Unhealthy gut flora can greatly affect your immune system and make it that much harder to heal. 

How Can Acupuncture Help?

Many Lyme disease patients turn to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) when Western medicine options have failed. In conjunction with herbal protocols and other recommendations by your LLMD, acupuncture is a great TCM therapy to try.

Acupuncture can help dilate blood vessels, thus improving circulation. Since many post-treatment patients are sedentary, this improved circulation can help the body heal and flush the spirochetes out of hiding. Some acupuncture services may also offer acupressure therapies, where lymph nodes can be palpated to encourage the lymphatic system to circulate immunity-boosting cells.

People that suffer from anxiety and depression have been shown to benefit from acupuncture. Since Lyme disease often causes similar symptoms of mental distress, acupuncture can help you lower your stress levels and better manage your emotions.

Some patients can use acupuncture treatments to relieve theirmyalgia (muscle pain). In fact, one study on the Harvard Healthy blog showed that acupuncture has been a great help in relieving chronic pain.

As you can see, while acupuncture isn't a silver bullet to the post-treatment Lyme syndrome, it can help you start to heal. Some people take years to heal from this syndrome, so finding treatments like acupuncture that can relieve symptoms and help you maintain functionality at work and at home are vital.