Lyme / Tick-Borne Illnesses (TBI)
Tick bites can transmit a variety of diseases to humans, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and alpha-gal syndrome. Additionally, tick bites can cause local skin irritation, redness, and itching at the site of the bite.
Alpha-gal syndrome (see Allergies) is a type of food allergy to red meat that is triggered by a sugar molecule called alpha-gal. It is typically caused by tick bites and can cause delayed allergic reactions several hours after eating red meat.
In addition, tick bites can sometimes lead to the development of a bacterial infection known as tick-borne relapsing fever. This condition is characterized by recurring episodes of fever, headache, and muscle aches that can last for several days. Tick bites can also cause a rare condition known as tick paralysis, which can cause muscle weakness, numbness, and difficulty breathing. It is important to seek medical attention promptly if symptoms of any tick-borne illness or complication arise.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. The disease is prevalent in the United States, Europe, and Asia, with an estimated 300,000 cases reported in the United States alone each year. Lyme disease can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, nervous system, and heart, and its symptoms can range from mild to severe.
In the early stages of Lyme disease, patients may experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, fatigue, and joint pain. As the disease progresses, a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans may develop, which is often described as a bull's-eye pattern. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body, leading to more serious symptoms, such as facial paralysis, meningitis, and heart palpitations.
Diagnosis of Lyme disease is based on clinical symptoms, blood tests, and, in some cases, specialized imaging studies. Conventional treatment typically involves a course of antibiotics, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, and can be highly effective if initiated early. However, in some cases, patients may experience persistent symptoms despite treatment, a condition known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS), which can last for months or even years. The exact cause of PTLDS is not well understood, and ongoing research is needed to develop more effective treatments for this debilitating condition.
Tick-borne illnesses are diseases caused by pathogens that are transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks. Ticks are small arachnids that feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and reptiles, and they can carry a variety of disease-causing microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. When a tick bites a human, it can transmit the pathogen into the bloodstream, leading to the development of a tick-borne illness. The most common tick-borne illnesses in the United States include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Babesiosis.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii and is transmitted by several species of ticks, including the American dog tick and the Rocky Mountain wood tick. Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever include fever, headache, rash, and muscle aches. If left untreated, the infection can lead to complications such as kidney failure, respiratory failure, and neurological damage.
How Acupuncture Helps with Lyme & TBI
Acupuncture may help with Lyme disease by stimulating the body's natural healing mechanisms and reducing inflammation. The needles used in acupuncture are placed at specific points on the body that correspond to different organ systems or energy pathways, called meridians. By stimulating these points, acupuncture may help to improve circulation, boost the immune system, and reduce pain and swelling.
In the case of Lyme disease and TBI, acupuncture may be used to help manage symptoms such as pain, inflammation, fatigue, headaches and neurological symptoms like brain fog and tingling. Acupuncture has been shown to help reduce inflammation and pain by increasing the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. It may also help to boost the immune system as it fights off the bacterial infection that causes Lyme disease and improve overall well-being. Additionally, acupuncture may help to reduce the side effects of antibiotics or other medications used to treat the disease.