| One-Minute Clinician

Identifying Lyme Disease: Symptoms

Identifying Lyme

  • If systemic Lyme, a blood test
  • To identify a neuro Lyme, you need to show specific intraspinal intrathecal production of antibody to Lyme, as done through a spinal tap
  • Spinal taps can be done under fluoroscopic guidance with sedation; a Gertie needle with a blunt tip doesn’t shear the meninges; postlumbar puncture symptoms are fewer
  • We offer people a spinal tap if needed in a nonurgent setting under X-ray or fluoroscopic guidance
  • The patient will be numbed with local anesthetic
  • Spinal taps can be done in an outpatient ambulatory; we watch people afterward for several hours, to make sure they’re hydrated and comfortable before they go home

Lyme disease symptoms may be quite painful and range from acute to chronic:

  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Localized arthritis
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sleep problems
  • Radicular pain
  • Neuropathies
  • Facial pain

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