Minneapolis Lyme Disease Doctor
Dr. Greg Fors of the Pain and Brain Healing Center is a Lyme disease doctor serving Minneapolis / St. Paul area residents. If you are suffering from this disease, contact us to schedule your free consultation.
Misconception #1: In Conventional Medicine, Chronic Lyme Disease Does Not Exist!
There is the recognition and diagnosis of acute Lyme disease caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterial spirochete, with its classic a bull’s-eye rash, and positive Elisa antibody test. This is usually followed by the application of an antibiotic such as doxycycline for 4 to 6 weeks. However, there is no diagnostic recognition of what some call Chronic Lyme Disease.
Could You Be One Of These Individuals?
This makes it very difficult for chronically sick individuals who may have a chronic Lyme contribution to their illness. Do you feel chronically ill, suffering with pain and fatigue or even neurological symptoms? Are doctors baffled by your strange symptoms of cyclic fevers, muscle aches and weakness, headaches, tingling and numbness? Lyme disease and its co-infections are extremely difficult to diagnosis, especially in the chronic case.
The Question Remains, Is There Such A Thing As Chronic Lyme Disease?
John Hopkins University School Of Medicine may have finally answered that question. In a study of 61 people treated for Lyme disease, Johns Hopkins researchers concluded that: "fatigue, pain, insomnia and depression do persist over long periods of time for some individuals, even though they had normal physical exams and normal laboratory findings."
At the end of the study, John N. Aucott, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center concluded, "Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) is a real disorder that causes severe symptoms in the absence of clinically detectable infection". Therefore, Chronic Lyme Disease is still not recognized, but Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) is!
The problem with this is more than just semantics. It turns out that 2/3 of the individuals who contract Lyme disease through a tick bite do not develop the classical bull’s-eye rash. Therefore, they and their Doctor remain ignorant of the underlying infection. These individuals usually do not undergo treatment for Lyme disease, so if they do develop chronic symptoms related to the infection, they cannot be called Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. Sort of a "Catch-22".
The Symptoms’ Progression Of Lyme Disease
The symptoms of Lyme disease can show up with a bang or progress very slowly and cause a great deal of confusion. The usual initial symptoms are fever, headache, nausea, muscle ache and a stiff neck, which are usually written off as a bad case of flu. That is, unless you get the very classic bull's-eye a rash. But the bull’s-eye rash is found in only about one third of the diagnosed cases. Furthermore, many do not get any early symptoms and months later their first signs may be muscle weakness, tingling/numbness, tremors/tics, optic disturbances, memory deficiency, psychiatric presentations, or other neurologic disorders.
The Complication of Co-Infections in Lyme Disease
The underdiagnosed co-infections of Lyme disease include the microscopic protozoan parasite Babesia transmitted by biting insects, commonly ticks. Bartonella bacterial co-infections are also transmitted by biting insects such as mites, fleas, mosquitoes, flies, and can be transmitted by ticks as well. A form of Bartonella, known as 'Cat Scratch disease', is spread by cats.
Other co-infected agents are Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis, tick-borne bacterial diseases that infect animals and humans. In chronic complex disorders involving joint pain, fatigue and neurological symptoms Borrelia burgdorferi and these other infective agents should be considered and tested for by utilizing laboratories that specialize in the diagnosis of these infections.
Misconception #2: Lyme Diagnosis Is Accurate and Simple
Commonly used ELISA antibody test for Lyme disease can miss more than 50% of positively infected individuals. It is also useless in the first month after a tick bite and may not detect past infections. The Western Blot test is generally considered the most reliable test currently available, although it is estimated to be only 80% accurate even at the best labs.
Therefore, it is extremely important for individuals with complex chronic disorders to see a doctor who has an in-depth understanding of Lyme disease testing and its co-infections, such as Bartonella and Babesia. These doctors work with labs that are proven leaders in the field, such as Igenex.
Misconception #3: The Problem Is the Bacteria
I believe this whole debate misses the primary underlying issue, that of the underlying health of the individual who was bitten by deer tick. You may not realize this, but many individuals with a robust immune system bitten by deer ticks never develop Lyme disease, let alone Chronic Lyme Disease.
Furthermore, humans have been dealing with and fighting off Lyme disease for thousands of years, before there were antibiotics. The 5,300-year-old ice mummy dubbed Ötzi, discovered in the Eastern Alps about 30 years ago was found to have genetic evidence of Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria in his tissues. In other words, this ancient man infected with Lyme bacteria was healthy enough to climb over the Alps. Eventually he died, not from Lyme but from an arrow in his back.
How Chronic Lyme Develops In The First Place:
In individuals with symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease there are always more than just the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria involved. In nearly every patient I’ve seen with the symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease, e.g. fatigue, muscle joint pain, and neurological involvement, there are always multiple health issues. For example, I usually find specific undetected nutritional deficiencies and decreased mitochondrial (the energy power plants each cell) function. This, along with a chronic inflammatory response, hormonal imbalances, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and G.I. dysfunction with leaky gut and food allergies, all lead to poor immune function.
Which is why the individual was susceptible to the development of Chronic Lyme Disease in the first place! Therefore, if one is ever to conquer their Chronic Lyme Disease, they must address all these various health issues to improve their immune function.
Misconception #4: Chronic Lyme Can Be Fixed With Multiple Antibiotics
Yes, acute Lyme disease can be helped by proper use of antibiotic therapy. However, Chronic Lyme disease cannot be properly fixed by just adding one antibiotic on top of another. I’ve seen far too many individuals on a cocktail of antibiotic therapy for their Chronic Lyme just getting sicker and sicker. Then their Lyme doctor tells them that it’s a Herxhiemer reaction from the kill off, and they need more antibiotics or different antibiotics or IV antibiotics. Really, after six months of antibiotic therapy, maybe something is being missed. Individuals can develop side effects from just one of these antibiotics let alone a cocktail mixture of them.
One Can Only Truly Heal By Finding The Underlying Causes
When I’m presented with a patient with the complex symptoms of possible Chronic Lyme Disease I utilize, as with all my patients, a Personalized Lifestyle Medicine approach. The first thing, I do is do a comprehensive timeline health history to determine the primary causative factors throughout their life.
Following this I perform a comprehensive 45 minute neurological, orthopedic and nutritional examination. The primary problem with conventional medicine is that time is not taken to thoroughly examine the patient. Based on this information I ordered the appropriate laboratory tests for that particular patient.
These tests look for nutritional deficiencies, metabolic issues, hormonal imbalances, gut health and possible food allergies. Along with this I will run specialized tests to look for chronic infectious agents, e.g. Borrelia burgdorferi, Babesia, Bartonella, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, chlamydia pneumonia, based on the patient’s history and exam findings.
Treating The Whole Person Naturally
Once the underlying causative factors identified they are addressed with a natural approach that strengthens the body’s healing capability. For example, nutritional deficiencies and insufficiencies are replenished, metabolic issues such as insulin resistance are addressed, both with diet and natural supplements. Gastrointestinal issues such as maldigestion, malabsorption, reflux, sibo, leaky gut and inflammatory bowel disease, are addressed with supportive dietary changes and nutrient support. Food allergies are identified and removed.
Specific botanicals and nutraceuticals are given to strengthen the immune system to help fight off chronic infections. Then any chronic infectious agent identified are addressed with specific natural antimicrobial botanicals. These herbs also help to break up the protective biofilms formed by these multiple infectious agents.
The Progression Of Chronic Lyme Disease
When Lyme disease and its co-infections are not identified or properly treated in the early stage’s symptoms may creep into one’s life over months or even years. They may wax and wane even going remission only to come out years later when the individual is under a great deal of metabolic stress. With symptom presentation, as we have seen, a negative lab results can mean very little for lab tests are extremely unreliable for the diagnosis of Lyme disease and its many co-infections. Many Lyme patients are finally diagnosed because of their chronic symptoms, such as various forms of arthritis, autoimmune disorders, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome; the list of associated disorders is nearly endless.
Want to know more about this baffling disorder and how it may be playing a role in your chronic illness, pain and fatigue: Call 763-862-7100 for your FREE Consultation with me, Dr. Greg Fors, Board-Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Minneapolis Lyme disease doctor.
About Dr. Greg Fors
Dr. Greg Fors, D.C. is a Board-certified Neurologist (IBCN), certified in Applied Herbal Sciences (NWHSU) and acupuncture. As the clinic director of the Pain and Brain Healing Center in Blaine Minnesota he specializes in a functional medicine approach to fibromyalgia, fatigue, brain fog, digestive disorders, depression and anxiety. He is a sought after international lecturer for various post-graduate departments and state associations. Dr. Fors is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “Why We Hurt” available through booksellers everywhere.