Neurological Lyme Disease Treatment – What You Need To Know

According to the research: [1]

around 15% of people with untreated Lyme Disease will need Neurological Lyme Disease treatment.

neurological lyme disease

Neurological Lyme Disease (also called Lyme Neuroborreliosis) is one of the most debilitating forms of the disease, with patients experiencing a marked decrease in their quality of life.

It can also be extremely frightening for patients, who often have the misconception that the Neurological Lyme Disease symptoms they are experiencing will damage their nervous system permanently.

Actually, it’s possible to have neurobiological symptoms without the nervous system being damaged. [2]

The aim of this article is to provide you with all the information you need to identify potential Neurological Lyme Disease symptoms and know what to expect from a Neurological Lyme Disease treatment plan.

You can jump straight through to specific sections of this article from here:

How Does Lyme Disease Get Into The Central Nervous System?

Lyme Disease comes from the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi which is most commonly transmitted to humans if they get bitten by an infected tick.

Scientists believe the bacteria travels through the host’s body through the bloodstream but they are unsure how they get from the bloodstream into the brain to cause Neuro Lyme Disease. The most likely theory is the bacteria travel through the blood-brain barrier via the endothelial cells that line the surface of blood vessels. [3]

The various Glial cells that insulate, protect and provide structure to neurons, are activated in response to Borrelia which has penetrated into the brain, causing an inflammatory response and neuronal damage.[4]

The host’s immune system is triggered when the bacteria gets into the Central Nervous System.


When Does Lyme Disease Affect The Brain?

The symptoms of Lyme Disease typically present in three stages:

  1. Early Localized;
  2. Early Disseminated; and
  3. Late Disseminated (also called Late Infection).

Neurological Lyme Disease symptoms tend to start during the second stage (early disseminated) which can occur weeks or months after the initial infection.

If left untreated the patient can enter the late disseminated stage months or even years after infection, and Acute Neurological Lyme Disease can turn into to Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease.


What Are The Symptoms Of Neurological Lyme Disease?

neurological lyme disease symptoms

The symptoms can be divided into three categories: cognitive, neurological and psychiatric.

Cognitive symptoms

  • Loss of memory
  • Visual/spatial processing impairment such as losing things or getting lost
  • Finding it hard to remember words, lack of verbal fluency
  • Decreased ability to concentrate, easily distracted
  • Impaired abstract reasoning
  • Dyslexia, problems dealing with numbers and sequences
  • Difficulty in following what is going on around you, finding it harder to process information

Neurological symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Cranial nerve disorders such as facial palsy, double vision, drooping eyelid, numbness, pain or tingling in the face, hearing loss, tinnitus, deafness
  • Polyneuropathies – spinal pain, paresthesia (pricking sensation, “pins and needles”), sensory loss, weakness
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Problems regulating blood pressure and pulse (autonomic dysfunction)
  • Learning difficulties and behavioural change in children

Psychiatric Symptoms

  • Depression, suicidal thoughts, mood-swings (can look like bi-polar symptoms)
  • OCD, anxiety, panic attacks
  • Delirium, hallucinations, delusions
  • ADD/ADHD, Autism-like symptoms
  • Sleep disorders
  • Progressive dementia [5]


In the early disseminated stage, patients often experience musculoskeletal pain in joints, bursar, tendons, muscle or bone.

In the late disseminated stage symptoms include Lyme arthritis which typically involves large joints such as the hips and knees. [6]


How Is Neurological Lyme Disease Diagnosed?

There are currently no accurate diagnostic tests for Neurological Lyme Disease.

Blood tests and Western Blot Testing are commonly used, but they are not sensitive enough to be considered reliable. Blood tests can give a false negative result in 60% of cases in the first 2-4 weeks after diagnosis [7]

Patients who display chronic Neuro Lyme Disease symptoms may be offered an MRI scan and late-stage Lyme Disease testing which includes cerebrospinal fluid testing. Lesions on the brain can show up during an MRI and can be confused with multiple sclerosis.

The best way of diagnosing Neurological Lyme Disease is to use a combination of tests, as the symptoms are so varied.

In order to make a diagnosis, Doctors need to have evidence of possible exposure, symptoms affecting the Central Nervous System and the results of laboratory tests.


What Options Are There For Neurological Lyme Disease Treatment?

The most common treatment for Neurological Lyme Disease is oral or intravenous antibiotics. Other treatments include anti-virals, immune modulators and hormone therapies.

In order to effectively treat Neurological Lyme Disease, it is important that a natural approach is also incorporated into any treatment protocol, especially for late stage neurological Lyme disease treatment. Natural treatment therapies can include:neurological lyme disease treatment

  • Naturally boosting your immune system by eating a lyme disease diet which includes probiotic foods and anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy green vegetables, coconut oil, avocado, nuts and fruits.
  • Take nutritional supplements to help repair the health of your cells such as vitamin D, CoQ10, medicinal mushrooms, including chaga mushroom, B-complex vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, turmeric, and probiotics.
  • The medicinal herb Polygonum cuspidatum strengthens and protects the endothelial structures in the brain from inflammatory damage [4].
  • Diffuse 2 drops of pure essential oil, such as rosemary, lemon, orange and/or lavender oil, for nerve and brain support.
  • Getting plenty of rest and manage stress levels with the use of activities such as meditation and exercise.
  • Reducing your exposure to mould and parasites. [8]

Additional Lyme Disease Natural Treatment Strategies are discussed in our detailed article HERE


What Is The Prognosis For People Suffering From Neurological Lyme Disease?

Neurological Lyme Disease treatment can be difficult to manage because of the different body systems affected, but it is not impossible. People do recover without lasting effects.

Treatment needs to address the weakened immune system as well as the effect on cellular function. Environmental factors also play a part.

It is essential to have a personal Neurological Lyme Disease treatment plan as the manifestation of the disease varies so much across patients, the symptoms have different stages and different body systems are affected.


Why Is There A Controversy About Nervous System Lyme Disease?

There is a controversy about Nervous System Lyme Disease, because people suffer from a misconception that neurobiological effects of the illnesses mean they have nervous system infections which will lead to progressive loss of brain function, whereas this isn’t always the case. [9]

It’s possible to have neurobiological symptoms which do not damage the nervous system.

Understanding about this disease is further complicated by the fact that the term ‘Nervous System Lyme Disease’ is used to describe four different disorders.

True Nervous System Infection or Encephalitis is extremely rare and can be treated with antimicrobial therapy.

Lyme Encephalopathy which leads to impairments of cognitive function and memory can also be effectively treated with antimicrobial therapy.

Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome and Chronic Lyme Disease, cannot be treated with antimicrobial therapy but like Lyme Encephalopathy they are “neurobiological but not neurologic” i.e. it won’t damage the nervous system. [10]


Final words about Neurological Lyme Disease treatment…

Neurological Lyme Disease can be extremely debilitating, and frightening for patients.

It is important to recognise the symptoms so treatment can be sought as early as possible.

The treatment of Neurological Lyme Disease commonly begins with antibiotics, but there are also effective natural treatments.

A nutritional program that aims to boost the patient’s immune system is essential, as well as herbs, supplements, and lifestyle changes.

It is important that each patient receives a personalized Neurological Lyme Disease Treatment Plan as the stages of the disease vary across patients with different body systems being affected.


Do you have any experience with diagnosing and treating neurological lyme disease?

Leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you….



  1. Hildenbrand, P., et al. “Lyme Neuroborreliosis: Manifestations of a Rapidly Emerging Zoonosis.” American Journal of Neuroradiology, American Journal of Neuroradiology, 1 June 2009,
  2. Halperin, and John J. “Lyme Disease: Neurology, Neurobiology, and Behavior | Clinical Infectious Diseases | Oxford Academic.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 25 Feb. 2014,
  3. Grab, D J, et al. “Borrelia Burgdorferi, Host-Derived Proteases, and the Blood-Brain Barrier.” Infection and Immunity., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2005,
  4. Buhner, Stephen, J., 2015. “Healing Lyme”. Published by Raven Press in the United States 2015, 520pp.
  5. Zerbe, Leah. “What Lyme Disease Does to Your Brain (It’s Not Pretty).” Dr. Axe, 13 Apr. 2018, com/how-lyme-disease-affects-the-brain/?rs_oid_rd.
  6. Hildenbrand, P., et al. “Lyme Neuroborreliosis: Manifestations of a Rapidly Emerging Zoonosis.” American Journal of Neuroradiology, American Journal of Neuroradiology, 1 June 2009,
  7. Kantamaneni, Vamsi, et al. “A Case of Early Disseminated Neurological Lyme Disease Followed by Atypical Cutaneous Manifestations.” Case Reports in Infectious Diseases, Hindawi, 2017,
  8. Axe, Josh. “Lyme Disease Prevention Tips + Ways to Naturally Treat.” Dr. Axe, 10 Nov. 2017,
  9. Halperin, and John J. “Lyme Disease: Neurology, Neurobiology, and Behavior | Clinical Infectious Diseases | Oxford Academic.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 25 Feb. 2014,
  10. Halperin, and John J. “Lyme Disease: Neurology, Neurobiology, and Behavior | Clinical Infectious Diseases | Oxford Academic.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 25 Feb. 2014,

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Lyme Disease Advice or its staff.

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