What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a complex and potentially debilitating tick-borne illness caused by the spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and, in some cases, other related Borrelia species. It is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus) commonly found in wooded and grassy areas – but Lyme can be found anywhere now! It’s been found in all 50 states!
Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent the progression of the disease, as untreated cases can lead to severe complications affecting multiple organ systems, including the nervous system!
How Does Lyme Disease Impact the Nervous System?
Lyme disease’s impact extends beyond its initial localized manifestations, as the bacterium can spread throughout the body, including the central nervous system (CNS). The interactions between Borrelia burgdorferi and the nervous system can result in a variety of neurological symptoms. The bacterium’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier can trigger neuroinflammation, leading to an array of neurological manifestations such as meningitis, encephalitis, and even peripheral neuropathy. Plus, Lyme disease can induce disturbances in neurotransmitter function, influencing pain perception, mood regulation, and cognitive processes!
5 Ways Lyme Disease Causes Nervous System Dysregulation
Neuroinflammation: Tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, can trigger neuroinflammatory responses in the nervous system. When infected ticks transmit pathogens, such as Borrelia burgdorferi, into the bloodstream, these pathogens can cross the blood-brain barrier and cause inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. This neuroinflammation can lead to symptoms like headaches, cognitive impairment, and nerve pain. In my clinic, this is PANS/PANDAS and Lyme disease is often seen together.
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) Dysfunction: Tick-borne diseases can affect the autonomic nervous system, leading to ANS dysfunction. Dysregulation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the ANS can result in various symptoms, such as heart rate irregularities, blood pressure fluctuations, gastrointestinal disturbances, and sweating abnormalities. Lyme disease is often an overlooked cause for ANS dysfunction – especially in places where Lyme disease isn’t well-recognized.
Stress Response and Immune Function: The nervous system, specifically the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, is central to the body’s stress response. In tick-borne diseases, chronic stress due to the infection can lead to dysregulation of the HPA-axis and result in altered immune function. Stress hormones, particularly cortisol, can influence the immune response, leading to immunosuppression and reduced ability to combat the infection.
Sleep and Circadian Rhythms: The nervous system regulates the sleep-wake cycle through the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the brain. Proper sleep and adherence to circadian rhythms are essential for healing and immune function. Sleep disturbances and circadian disruptions during tick-borne diseases can negatively impact the body’s healing process.
So, How Do You Regulate Your Nervous System with Lyme Disease?
In order to be free of Lyme disease, addressing chronic stress is essential since Lyme disease throws off your nervous system’s natural balance. To regulate your nervous system with Lyme disease (or any stealth infection), I recommend:
- Primal Trust Academy (an online program)
- 4-7-8 Breathing (for when you get stressed)
- Vagus Nerve Exercises Such As Gargling, Humming, and Singing (to stimulate the autonomic nervous system)
- Grounding (to reconnect with nature)
- Nourishing Your Body With Natural Foods (meats, veggies, fruits, eggs, butter, etc.) (eating nutrient-dense foods helps to calm your nervous system)
- Try EMDR or Neurofeedback (if trauma work is needed)
When addressing Lyme disease, it is important to continue regulating the nervous system from the start to the end of treatment. Not only will this help you for the short term, but regulating your nervous system is a priceless life skill.
The Bottom Line
Lyme disease can affect many parts of your body, including the nervous system. Supporting the nervous system can boost the immune system and help maintain balance, making it especially helpful for those with Lyme disease.
About the Author
Dr. Jaban Moore is a Doctor of Chiropractic located in Kansas City, MO who works virtually with clients through functional medicine protocols to assist them in overcoming chronic health conditions and symptoms. At age 25, he went from being an award-winning college athlete to not being able to get out of bed. He sought out countless doctors and appointments looking for answers to his debilitating symptoms, but doctors only gave him “band-aid” solutions that did not resolve his problems. He was later diagnosed with Lyme disease. Once he overcame this complex infection, he dedicated his practice,
The Redefining Wellness Center, to help clients discover the root causes of their chronic symptoms. Dr. Moore specializes in Lyme disease, Lyme co-infections, PANS/PANDAS, autism, parasitic infections, environmental toxicities, and mitochondrial support. Dr. Moore and his team at The Redefining Wellness Center see clients virtually.
Visit his website, where you can gain access to education, live videos, and free programs. Additionally, you may book a free discovery call if you are interested in working with Dr. Moore.