Lyme Disease Treatment

Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics, though controversy exists over the strength and length of time these antibiotics should be prescribed. Many doctors suggest that antibiotics administered in the first few weeks after infection seem to be effective for most patients. However, patients given antibiotics during later stages of the disease often must stay on antibiotics for extended courses. Extended courses of antibiotics leads to fungal overgrowth in the gut, a condition that is often as much a problem as the Lyme bacteria itself.

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Many Lyme-literate medical doctors are treating patients successfully with herbal antimicrobials, which do not create the problems associated with antibiotics. Patients report that after herbal antimicrobial treatment is complete, they do not experience a relapse of Lyme disease symptoms although the protocol is discontinued at some point.

Physical Activity
Lyme patients are encouraged to exercise moderately, though not to overexert. Exercise is important not only to stimulate muscles and nerves, but also to help move the bacteria out of its hiding places in the heart and brain, and into the bloodstream where it may be detected and destroyed by the body's natural immune system.

Physical Therapies
Chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy and acupuncture or acupressure are recommended for pain relief. Stretching and strengthening exercises such as Yoga or Tai Chi can soothe achey muscles and relax Lyme sufferers who feel well enough for these pursuits. Gentle exercise during the day can help people who may have trouble sleeping through the night.

The necessity for cautious, yet thorough detoxification is gaining increasing attention from Lyme experts. Lyme studies have shown that the presence of heavy metals such as mercury and aluminum in the body create conditions for the growth and regrowth of microbes such as Lyme bacteria. As long as the metals and other toxins remain in the body, Lyme-literate doctors say it is difficult to totally destroy the microbes because they are in a system that is predisposed to replicating them.

Homeopathic and or herbal remedies are often used to help reduce inflammation and pain. Steroidal drugs, which replicate the spirochetes, are contra-indicated where Lyme bacteria is underlying.     

Lyme Treatment Controversy
The medical community is fiercely divided on how to treat Lyme sufferers. Generally speaking, people afflicted with the disease have three choices for treatment. The American Medical Association (AMA) and the CDC recommend a standard protocol of thirty days of antibiotic treatment. This protocol is observed by members of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

Some Lyme expert physicians follow a protocol of antibiotics geared toward each individual patient. Long-term use of antibiotics is necessary, in their view. Health insurance companies tend to align with the short-term AMA protocol, frequently denying continued coverage for Lyme patients even when the primary physician recommends a longer course of antibiotics.

Some patients opt for no antibiotics, seeking alternative treatments instead, with an emphasis on homeopathics, dietary and vitamin supplements and/or herbal antimicrobials. Others may decide to use a hybrid protocol of alternative therapies and pharmaceutical drugs.

Lyme disease treatment is an area about which medical professionals are in much disagreement. According to the CDC, protocol for the treatment of Lyme disease is a thirty day course of antibiotics. Lyme specialists associated with the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, ILADS, may also agree that when Lyme, a multi-stage illness, is diagnosed in the first stage, treatment with antibiotics is often successful. There is evidence to suggest that Lyme disease responds positively to antibiotic treatment at any stage. In addition, current guidelines for the treatment of Lyme as stated by ILADS say that it is reasonable to continue antibiotic treatment beyond what they note as the arbitrary thirty day protocol.

Lyme Disease Treatment Factors
Many factors complicate LD treatment decisions. For example, the diversity of symptoms present, the notorious unreliability of Lyme tests, and the frequent occurrence of misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosed LD patients may undergo treatment for symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, or a hundred other diseases that Lyme can mimic. As a result, they may experience temporary relief but never detect the Lyme bacteria and fail to reach the root of the problem. With Lyme bacteria present, symptoms may come and go with varying intensity, returning with the onslaught of any degree of stress and seriously adding to the patient’s discomfort.

Patient Awareness and Lyme Disease
Patients who remain unaware of the underlying Lyme bacteria causing or aggravating their condition have a diminished chance at successful treatment. Antibiotics are effective in Lyme disease treatment, although with varying success. Antibiotics delivered intravenously are more effective and direct than those taken orally. Even LLMDs are not in complete agreement about the delivery and the type of antibiotics best used in LD treatment.

As Susan Sontag noted, “Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance.” Lyme disease treatment is an area that medical professionals and the growing Lyme Disease community would benefit from deeper research and more serious study.


Lee Cowden, MD, oral communication

Jean Reist, RN, oral communication

Ginger Savely, FNP, RN, oral communication

American Academy of Physicians

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Academy for Bio-Energetic and Integrative Medicine:

All copyrights Apply/Lyme Disease Research Database/2005 to present