Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria (borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii in the United States) that is spread via a bite from an infected tick.  The signs, symptoms, and progression of Lyme disease can vary from person to person, but usually appear in stages.

Early Stages (3 to 30 days after a tick bite)
  • A rash called erythema migrans (EM) occurs in 70 to 80% of infected people. The rash begins at the site of the tick bite and gradually expands
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache and body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Neck stiffness
  • Swollen lymph nodes
Later Stages
  • Appearance of EM rash on other parts of the body
  • Arthritis with joint pain and swelling
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints and bones
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints and bones
  • Shooting pain, numbness or tingling in hands or feet
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Nerve pain
Other Symptoms

Serious but less common side effects include heart problems, eye inflammation, liver inflammation (hepatitis) and severe fatigue.


Lyme disease can mimic other conditions and ticks can transmit disease other than Lyme disease, so diagnosis can be difficult.  Typically, your doctor will look at:

  • Symptoms
  • The likelihood of exposure to a tick
  • The likelihood of other potential illnesses
  • Laboratory tests that look for antibodies to the bacteria

Treatment is a course of antibiotics.  Antibiotics work best when treatment is begun in the early stages of Lyme disease.

For some, even after treatment, symptoms (including muscle ache and fatigue) may persist.  This condition is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome and the cause is unknown.  Unfortunately, treating with additional antibiotics doesn’t help.

Many symptoms of Lyme disease can impede the ability to safely practice and, especially if treatment fails to work, can potentially lead to the need to file a long term disability claim. If you have been diagnosed with Lyme disease and feel you may no longer be able to practice, feel free to reach out to one of our attorneys directly.

These posts are for informative purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with and diagnosis by a medical professional. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above and have yet to consult with a doctor, do not use this resource to self-diagnose. Please contact your doctor immediately and schedule an appointment to be evaluated for your symptoms


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