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Lyme disease and neuropathy: Understanding the connection

Did you know there's a link between Lyme disease and neuropathy?

Lyme disease, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted by ticks, is a multifaceted illness affecting various body systems. One of the lesser-known but significant impacts of Lyme disease is its potential to cause neuropathy, a type of nerve damage that can lead to a range of symptoms. This post will explore how Lyme disease can lead to neuropathy, the symptoms to look out for, and the treatment options available.

Understanding Lyme disease

First, let's briefly overview Lyme disease. It's most commonly transmitted through the bite of an infected black-legged tick. Early symptoms often include fever, headache, fatigue, and may or may not have a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans (which often looks like a bull’s eye pattern). If untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system, leading to more severe complications.

Lyme disease and neuropathy

Neuropathy in Lyme disease is often a result of the bacteria affecting the nervous system in the later stages of Lyme. Symptoms can show up many times even years after the initial exposure. This condition can manifest in various ways, depending on which part of the nervous system is affected.

Patients with Lyme-related neuropathy may experience a range of symptoms, including:

  • Numbness and tingling: Often in the hands, feet, or limbs, this can be one of the first signs of nerve damage.
  • Pain: This can be sharp, shooting, or burning in nature and sometimes severe.
  • Muscle weakness: In some cases, the affected nerves may lead to muscle weakness or paralysis.
  • Problems with memory and concentration: Lyme disease can affect cognitive function, leading to memory issues and difficulty concentrating.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosing Lyme-related neuropathy involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, blood tests, and sometimes nerve conduction studies. The primary medical approach in treatment for Lyme disease is generally effective antibiotics, especially when caught early. In cases of neuropathy, additional treatments may include pain management, physical therapy, and medications to alleviate specific symptoms like muscle weakness or cognitive difficulties. There are also holistic approaches to take in addition to medications to aid the body in healing the damage done by the infection such as using food as medicine, micro-nutrient supplementation, and other therapies as well that may be of benefit such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Prevention and awareness

Prevention of Lyme disease includes using insect repellent, checking for ticks, and being aware of the symptoms. Early detection and treatment are vital in preventing complications like neuropathy.


Lyme disease is a complex condition that can have a significant impact on the nervous system, leading to neuropathy. Awareness of the symptoms and early intervention are crucial to managing this disease and preventing long-term complications. If you suspect a tick has bitten you or are experiencing symptoms consistent with Lyme disease, consult a healthcare professional for prompt evaluation and treatment.

Get relief now

If you are experiencing neuropathy symptoms, take back control today so that you can start feeling like the best version of yourself again. Our center has several resources that can help; check out our neuropathy relief program to see if we’re a good fit for you.