“Lyme Disease is not uncommon in Canada. The only thing uncommon in Canada about Lyme Disease is a positive diagnosis.”
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Lyme disease is the fastest spreading diseases in the United States, and over the past decade, the tick that carries Lyme has been spreading across Canada with alarming speed. More than 30,000 cases are reported in the USA every year, but the real number could be as high as 300,000. And despite hard evidence that the Lyme-carrying deer tick has already established populations across Canada, patients here are still being told that they cannot contract Lyme in this country. Although recent Canadian statistics are not available, these stats have recently been released from local health departments highlighting the increasing prevalence of tick borne diseases: Hamilton-Wentworth, 41% of black legged ticks recently studied were infected with Borrelia burgdorferi; and in Hastings-Prince Edward County, 30% of ticks were found to carry the Lyme Disease bacteria.
Doctors agree that if it’s caught early Lyme disease can in a number of cases, be cured with two to four weeks of antibiotics. However, if it’s not caught early, the infection can develop into a debilitating condition called Chronic Lyme. Yet unlike West Nile, Encephalitis or SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome), where the medical profession and scientists joined forces to find better treatments or a cure, many patients, who have chronic Lyme, are being denied treatment in Canada and left to suffer. Many patients are being misdiagnosed with conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and many other conditions instead of Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi . The most well-known method of transmission is via a tick bite, but there are lesser known and researched methods such as: sexual transmission, mother to her unborn child, breastfeeding, blood and blood products, and via bites from fleas, mosquitoes and spiders. Patients with Lyme Disease report a wide array of symptoms such as: joint aches and pains, headaches, chronic fatigue, memory issues, ringing in the ears, anxiety, depression, sleep issues, hormonal imbalances, loss of mobility, vertigo, and numerous other symptoms.
At Back to Health Wellness Centre, we recognize that Lyme Disease is a rapidly growing and potentially debilitating chronic health condition. Our staff are well versed in the many components of Lyme Disease and we offer several services to aid in treatment.
Lyme disease is preventable. By taking the right precautions and spreading the word, you can effectively protect your family from Lyme. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid tick-infested areas whenever possible, particularly in spring and early summer when nymph (baby) ticks feed. Adult ticks are a bigger threat in fall. Ticks favor moist, shaded environments; especially leafy wooded areas, overgrown grassy habitats and backyards that are overgrown!
Top 5 tick habitat precautions
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from getting inside your pants.
- Check your clothes for ticks often. Ticks will climb upwards until they find an area of exposed skin.
- Wear light colored clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.
- Walk on pathways or trails when possible staying in the middle. Avoid low-lying brush or long grass.
- Apply insect repellent or a natural repellant to your skin and clothing, especially at the openings such as ankle, wrist and neck.
Although commonly found in wooded areas, ticks can be found pretty well anywhere because they are carried by the birds, mice, deer and other animals they feed on.
If you find an attached tick, remove the tick as completely and as quickly as possible. One good thing is that, unlike mosquitoes (which can attach and begin feeding within seconds of landing on you) ticks take much more time to crawl to a suitable spot on your body, bite into your skin, secrete a ‘cement’ that secures them in place, and begin feeding/salivation.
The safest rule as regards to how long it takes a tick to transmit a borreliosis to you is, ‘the sooner you remove the tick the greater the chance of preventing infection’. This is one reason why checking over your body carefully at the end of a long walk in the woods, then showering using a facecloth and back scrubber to scrub the body is usually sufficient to avoid infection even if the tick has already attached because ticks can be brushed off easily if not yet fully attached.
The following tick removal methods are NOT recommended:
- Burning the tick off with a match or cigarette lighter
- “Suffocating” the tick with petroleum jelly or hot oil
- Gripping the tick with thumb and forefinger and tugging at it
Safe Tick Removal Methods
If you already have a pair of fine pointed tweezers, and a steady hand, you can grasp the mouth-parts of the tick, NOT the body of the tick, and slowly pull the tick straight out.
Please watch the tick removal video found below.
Remember that the skin may be swollen around the site of the tick attachment so if you’re not sure what you’re doing, you may prefer to use a specially designed tool.
Method 2: Straw and Knot
The ‘straw and knot’ method is an elegant, easy, effective, low technology tick removal method.
Camping and hiking are high-risk activities for encountering ticks, so remember to pack a straw and thread (or thin dental floss) next time you head into the woods.
1. Place an ordinary drinking straw at a 45-degree angle over the tick. (The straw is simply being used as a guide to direct the knot).
2. Take a length of thread (or dental floss) and tie a loose knot at the top or midsection of the straw.
3. Slide your knot down the straw to where the tick is attached.
4. Position the knot underneath the tick’s belly, so that the knot will encircle the embedded mouthparts only.
5. Slowly tighten the knot to close snugly around the mouthparts of the tick.
6. Remove the straw and pull the thread in a steady upward motion.
7. This will cause the tick to detach, but should inhibit regurgitation of bacteria that may be in the midgut.
Method 3: Intradermal Blister
If you’re close to a doctor’s office:
1. A doctor can inject Xylocaine into the skin below where the tick has attached.
2. A large Xylocaine-filled blister will form.
3. After tasting the Xylocaine, the tick should release its grip and back out on its own in order to search for a ‘better-tasting’ host.
After a tick has been removed, it’s important to wash the bite site using soap and water, followed with an antiseptic. Over-the-counter antiseptic medications are available at any pharmacy. If the tick that bit you is a Lyme-carrying species, don’t wait to develop symptoms. Go to your doctor and request antibiotics as a precaution.
Treatments Available at Back to Health for Lyme Disease
Lymphatic drainage massage – Benefits for Lyme disease
By Ashley Rocheleau RMT
We have all heard in one form or another about the term Lyme disease and the fact that there seem to be more cases of the disease popping up on the news or in the paper. The symptoms can be severe depending on the stage of the disease but there are treatments that that can help to reduce symptoms regardless of the stage.
One such treatment that can help with Lyme disease is lymphatic drainage massage. Lymphatic drainage is not like a regular deep tissue massage, which may actually make symptoms worse and can cause more inflammation for a person with Lyme disease. Rather, lymphatic drainage massage does many tasks at once: reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, and removing toxins that may have built up in the body. It does this by moving fluid manually to take extra strain off of areas that excess inflammation may be causing.
In cases such as Lyme’s disease, often treatments of lymphatic drainage massage can help to decrease pain, decrease overall inflammation, allow more joint mobility, and give a needed helping hand to an immune system that is already working overtime. Over the long term it can especially help when flare-ups occur.
Much like rheumatoid arthritis, people who suffer from Lyme disease have flare-up periods when symptoms reach a breaking point. This may include extreme joint swelling and pain causing reduced mobility, mucus membranes like those of the eyes and ears becoming inflamed, energy levels even more decreased than before, and an overall feeling of fatigue and malaise. Lymphatic drainage massage can be a great natural booster in these flare-up periods and can help the body’s immune system to move these symptoms along more quickly. It can also help to flush out the dead bacteria that the body has tried to eliminate.
Another thing to keep in mind as well is that usual treatments of antibiotics may cause even further inflammation and can lower the immune system even more. Creating a long term treatment plan with your massage therapist is a great idea when going through different medical treatments. Discuss with your health care provider or massage therapist what treatment options would be specific and best for you when incorporating lymphatic drainage massage into your treatment plan.
It’s important to be aware that, as mentioned before, a lymphatic drainage massage is a very different and a much lighter treatment than a usual deep tissue massage. Its main focus is to move fluid, boost the immune system, and to create a feeling of overall relief and relaxation. Massage therapists are trained to notice changes in swelling, lymphatic pressure, and how your body is responding overall. By checking lymph nodes from head to toe we help to assist lymphatic flow back to the heart. Especially with Lyme disease we may also check the diaphragm, digestive system and liver to ensure that no extra swelling or blockages have remained stagnant.
Common side effects that can happen after a lymphatic massage are: feeling lighter, temperature changes, feeling thirsty, having to use the restroom, pressure or tension decreasing, decrease of pain, and an overall feeling of relaxation. Another thing to be aware of with lymphatic massage is that it boosts the immune system, so if a person is starting a cold or a flare up, this will speed up the process. Some have mentioned symptoms temporarily getting worse after the treatment, but with a quick recovery to follow.
Lyme disease affects hundreds, if not thousands, each year. Cases can be hard to diagnose due to the many various symptoms the bacterium can inflict. Knowing what steps to take and how you can help either yourself or someone with Lyme disease is important because this disease should not be what defines a person’s life – who we are as individuals should.
For more information about Lyme disease and lymphatic drainage massage you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the following page: http://canlyme.com/
A common symptom among people living with Lyme Disease is joint pain and swelling. Joint swelling can cause or may be the result of restrictions in the joints. Chiropractic is an amazing treatment to help alleviate these symptoms through treating these joint restrictions, aligning joints and allowing the inflammation and swelling to decrease.
For more information on how chiropractic may help you, visit our chiropractic page or contact Dr. Barbara Rodwin at: Dr.Rodwin@back2health4you.com.
Cranial Adjusting Turner Style (CATS)
Another common symptom for people living with Lyme Disease is headaches. The CATS treatment is another very beneficial treatment to alleviate headaches. By placing the cranial bones back in alignment, swelling and pressure to the head is decreased, relieving headaches, jaw problems, foggy brain, fatigue and numerous other symptoms.
For more information on Cranial Adjusting visit our Cranial Therapy page, or contact Dr. Barbara Rodwin at: Dr.Rodwin@back2health4you.com.
Acupuncture is another very effective treatment for people living with Lyme Disease. Whether it’s an immune system booster treatment, or a treatment focused on a specific joint or area of the body, acupuncture works well to reduce pain and inflammation.
For more information on acupuncture, please visit our Acupuncture page, or contact Dr. Barbara Rodwin at: Dr.Rodwin@back2health4you.com or Dr. Kath VanZeyl, ND at: Dr.Vanzeyl@back2health4you.com
Consult with Dr. Kathy Van Zeyl, ND
The typical Lyme Disease testing available in Canada is flawed and picks up less than 50% of positive cases of Lyme Disease. At Back to Health, Dr. Kathy Van Zeyl can refer you to a much more accurate testing service, and then subsequent referrals to Lyme Literate medical practitioners and information, should your Lyme Disease test come back positive.
For more information visit our Naturopathic Care page or contact Dr. Kath VanZeyl, ND at: Dr.Vanzeyl@back2health4you.com
Links to Lyme Disease Documentaries:
Link to Under Our Skin Documentary:
Ticked Off, The Mystery of Lyme Disease in Canada:
Links to Lyme Disease Information Websites:
Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation:
International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society:
Lyme Disease Society of Canada:
Team Ottawa Lyme Fighters:
Ottawa Lyme Disease Support Group:
Voices of Canadians About Lyme Disease (VOCAL):