Recently I’ve taken on a patient in the Midwest dealing with Lyme disease. The difficulty for them is that the medical help they’ve sought doesn’t believe it’s a real condition. There are greater than 300,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States, and many go untreated.
If treated quickly with a single dose of an antibiotic, the potential of a chronically debilitating disease can be avoided. If not addressed, the outcome can become very real and manifest as many chronic diseases, which are then treated with symptom suppressing drugs, leading to potentially life long pain, loss of energy, chronic fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, headache, heart troubles, sleep issues and depression.
When patients present with any of these symptoms, or a complex of them, it’s not uncommon for doctors to treat the symptoms instead of looking for what should be recognized as a stealth pathogen at the heart of it all.
The pathogenic bacteria behind Lyme disease is Borrelia Burgdorferi. Why we call this a stealth pathogen is because it can go unrecognized for years and years.
As a stealth pathogen, Lyme is often misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, and even chalked up to just being something in the mind of the patient. Early symptoms include fatigue, headaches, rash, fever, sweats, chills, muscle and joint pains and sleep problems. As the condition becomes chronic, we can see cognitive decline, neuropathy, depression, and some heart issues.
When treating patients with chronic Lyme disease, it’s important to keep in mind the person’s degree of vitality and the strength of their immune system. Destroying the bacteria is important, but if we fail to address the patient’s vital energy first, we may continue to see repeated co-infections.
Often times, patients suffering chronic Lyme have multiple other infections making it more difficult to identify just what the underlying problem is. Babesia is another tic transmitted pathogen which has been seen to co-infect along with Borrelia, magnifying the impact of Lyme. All too often the patient suffering chronic depression ends up being treated with anti-depressants without identifying a much deeper and sinister cause.
There are some excellent ways to restore depleted energy and fatigue with various herbs. Besides that, we can also help deal with much of the pain related to Lyme. It shocked me when my new patient from the Midwest stated the facilities she contacted said treatment would be in the multiples of thousands of dollars and that in many cases they wanted you to sign over your home to be treated. This is what I call medical tyranny.
I fully understand that a person suffering Lyme can find life to be overwhelming, but for someone sworn to “Do No Harm”, and demand this kind of compensation, I’m appalled. When we entered into the healing profession, we should have done it because of a passion for people and their wellbeing, not as a means of becoming wealthy.
When dealing with the fatigue component, things like Korean Ginseng, Rhodiola, and Schisandra may make a marked difference. If much of the fatigue is coupled with sleep problems, we can add in the herb Withania. In addition to that the herb Skullcap can be soothing and aid in sleep.
When we see muscle and joint pain associated with Lyme, Boswellia, Celery seed, Ginger, and Turmeric can be of great help. Nerve pain is often addressed with herbs like St John’s Wort, Corydalis, California Poppy, and Jamaican Dogwood.
It’s important to keep in mind that herbs can be powerful medicine and can interact with pharmaceutical drugs and aren’t always indicated for pregnant or nursing mothers. For this reason, it’s important to work with a health care provider who’s schooled in the use of these powerful herbs.
Once the patient is strong enough to go after the pathogen, it’s important to begin those treatments which clear it from the body, and to be aware of die-off reactions which can occur. The doctor needs to assist in clearing these wastes from the body. There is no set protocol other than to monitor progress and address whatever obstacles present themselves, fully restoring the system.
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Dr Briggs is a 1980 graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and has been practicing naturopathic medicine in the northwest corner of Oregon since his graduation. His practice involves diagnostic and therapeutic modalities which have stood the test of time and the challenges of diverse disease. We believe that each person exists dynamically as a spirit being, possessing a soul made up of their mind, will, and emotions, living in a body which requires specific care and nutrition. To address only the physical needs is to ignore the real person, and frequently, the real issues. We strive to address all your issues (spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical) with compassion and wisdom.
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