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Comprehensive Guide to Improving Health and Wellness for Lyme Disease Recovery with Physical Therapy at OrMobility Physical Therapy & Performance

Lyme Disease Recovery with Physical Therapy at OrMobility Physical Therapy
Dr. Garrett Stroup. Physical Therapist in Roseburg Area.


Dr. Garrett C. Stroup

DPT, VRC - Owner and Founder

We help athletes and active adults regain control of their injury without expensive surgeries or medications, so they can keep going.


At OrMobility Physical Therapy & Performance in Roseburg, Oregon, we’ve observed a concerning increase in patients exhibiting symptoms of Lyme disease. Many of these individuals have endured symptoms for years, often without a definitive diagnosis, and experience severe tendon ruptures that initially appear unassociated. Upon further investigation, these ruptures are often linked to the side effects of medications used to treat Lyme disease. This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive guide to understanding Lyme disease, its symptoms, treatment options, and how our specialized physical therapy can significantly improve the health and wellness of those recovering from this debilitating condition.

Understanding Lyme Disease

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted through the bite of infected black-legged ticks (deer ticks). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States, with an estimated 300,000 cases annually, although the actual number may be higher due to misdiagnosis and underreporting.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease symptoms can vary widely and are typically categorized into early and late-stage manifestations.

Early-Stage Symptoms
  1. Erythema Migrans (EM) Rash: A distinctive “bull’s-eye” rash appearing at the tick bite site within 3-30 days. It is warm to the touch but usually not itchy or painful.
  2. Flu-like Symptoms: Fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, headache, neck stiffness, and swollen lymph nodes.
Late-Stage Symptoms
  1. Joint Pain and Swelling: Especially in the knees, but can migrate to other joints.
  2. Neurological Issues: Severe headaches, neck stiffness, facial palsy (Bell’s palsy), nerve pain, and tingling in hands or feet.
  3. Cognitive Impairments: Memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and changes in mood.
  4. Heart Problems: Lyme carditis, characterized by irregular heartbeats.

Treatment Options for Lyme Disease

Antibiotic Therapy

Antibiotics are the cornerstone of Lyme disease treatment, and the choice of antibiotic depends on the stage of the disease and the patient’s specific symptoms.

  1. Doxycycline: Commonly used for adults and children older than eight years. Effective in early-stage Lyme disease and preventing bacterial proliferation.
  2. Amoxicillin: Often prescribed for younger children, pregnant women, or those allergic to doxycycline.
  3. Cefuroxime: An alternative for patients who cannot tolerate doxycycline or amoxicillin.
  4. Intravenous Antibiotics: Used in severe cases with neurological symptoms. Ceftriaxone is commonly administered intravenously.

Medication Side Effects

While antibiotics are effective in treating Lyme disease, they can have side effects. A particularly severe complication observed is tendon rupture, notably with fluoroquinolone antibiotics like ciprofloxacin. This side effect underscores the importance of monitoring and addressing musculoskeletal health during and after Lyme disease treatment.

Role of Physical Therapy in Lyme Disease Recovery

Lyme Disease Recovery with Physical Therapy at OrMobility Physical Therapy 1

Physical therapy (PT) is pivotal in managing Lyme disease, especially in addressing musculoskeletal symptoms and improving overall function and quality of life. At OrMobility Physical Therapy & Performance, we offer specialized programs tailored to the unique needs of Lyme disease patients.

Benefits of Physical Therapy

  1. Pain Management: Through targeted exercises, manual therapy, and modalities such as heat and cold therapy, we help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation in affected joints and muscles.
  2. Improving Mobility: PT aids in restoring normal joint function, flexibility, and range of motion, often compromised in Lyme disease patients.
  3. Strengthening Muscles: Customized exercise programs designed to strengthen muscles weakened by prolonged illness and inactivity.
  4. Balance and Coordination: Neurological symptoms of Lyme disease can impair balance and coordination, which physical therapy can help improve through specific exercises.
  5. Education and Prevention: Our physical therapists educate patients on body mechanics, posture, and strategies to prevent further injury, particularly for those on medications with side effects that weaken tendons.

Comprehensive Physical Therapy Approach at OrMobility

Initial Assessment and Personalized Treatment Plan

Our approach begins with a thorough assessment to understand the patient’s history, symptoms, and specific needs. We then develop a personalized treatment plan focusing on:

  1. Pain Reduction: Utilizing modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and manual therapy techniques.
  2. Mobility Enhancement: Incorporating stretching, joint mobilization, and exercises to improve flexibility and range of motion.
  3. Strength Training: Progressive resistance exercises tailored to rebuild muscle strength and endurance.
  4. Neurological Rehabilitation: Balance and coordination exercises to address any neurological impairments caused by Lyme disease.
  5. Education and Self-Management: Teaching patients effective self-management techniques and preventive measures to enhance their recovery and prevent relapses.

Case Studies and Success Stories

Our clinic has seen numerous patients make remarkable recoveries through our comprehensive physical therapy programs. For instance:

  • Case Study 1: A 45-year-old woman with chronic Lyme disease and severe knee pain experienced significant pain reduction and improved mobility after a 12-week personalized PT program focusing on joint mobilization and strengthening exercises.
  • Case Study 2: A 32-year-old man with neurological symptoms such as balance issues and facial palsy saw dramatic improvements in balance and facial muscle function following targeted neurological rehabilitation exercises.

These success stories highlight the transformative impact of physical therapy on Lyme disease recovery.


Lyme disease is a complex and often misunderstood condition that requires a multifaceted approach for effective management. At OrMobility Physical Therapy & Performance, we are committed to providing specialized physical therapy services that address the unique challenges faced by Lyme disease patients. Our comprehensive approach aims to alleviate pain, restore function, and improve overall quality of life. If you or a loved one are struggling with symptoms of Lyme disease, contact us today to develop a personalized plan to support your recovery and wellness journey.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Lyme Disease. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html
  2. Wormser, G.P., et al. (2006). The Clinical Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention of Lyme Disease, Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis, and Babesiosis: Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 43(9), 1089-1134.
  3. Hu, L. (2016). Lyme Disease. Annals of Internal Medicine, 164(9), ITC65-ITC80.
  4. Marques, A. (2008). Chronic Lyme Disease: A Review. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America, 22(2), 341-360.
  5. Cameron, D.J., et al. (2004). Evidence-based guidelines for the management of Lyme disease. Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy, 2(1), S1-S13.

By providing this structured and evidence-based approach, we aim to enhance our community’s understanding of Lyme disease and promote effective management strategies through physical therapy.

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