Lyme Literate Physician

Dr. Mitchell Is Your Lyme Literate Doctor – Member of ILADS

Unexplainable aches and pains, daily hormonal issues, constant fatigue, and a general feeling of being “not quite right” can cause you to wonder what is going on. Is it Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Fibromyalgia? Lupus? Arthritis? Parkinson’s? Irritable Bowel? MS? (See list below for more)  Perhaps it’s really something that can look like anything, yet is a completely different diagnosis: Lyme Disease.

Defining Lyme Disease

Commonly associated with a bite from a deer tick, Lyme disease is a blood borne pathogen that can be passed directly between people or through other animals. Many who suffer from Lyme disease do not even remember being bitten by a tick, and less than one-quarter of those who are bitten have the telltale bull’s-eye rash around the area of the bite. Also, if the bite occurred on the back or an area not easily inspected, it may go undetected. It often isn’t even felt because the tick injects a numbing agent to lessen the feel of the bite.  Ticks of all types, Mosquitoes, fleas, and mites are known to transmit Lyme. 

Currently, Lyme disease is the number-one vector-borne infection worldwide, making it a global epidemic. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics are said to represent about 10% of the actual cases discovered. By International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) estimates only 1 in 40 has been properly diagnosed, and the ILADS training physicians estimate approximately 1.2 million new cases are occurring annually.  Lyme Disease is in all 50 states and in more than 60 countries worldwide.

Unfortunately, many are suffering and don’t know why.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Symptoms of Lyme disease may include ongoing fatigue, pain, increased sensitivity to light and sound, difficulty remembering things or concentrating, fevers or sweats that come and go, sensitivity to chemicals (of all sorts), and depression or anxiety. Lyme disease almost always occurs with a co-infection, and the symptoms that present themselves are often due to the other bacterial, parasitic, or viral co-infection(s) and less from the Lyme Disease. See the General Symptoms list below.

The real problem is that all of these symptoms can change on a weekly — or even daily — basis, making diagnosis challenging. Most physicians look only at what is presenting itself right now, and that can lead to a misdiagnosis. Some of the ailments Lyme disease can mirror include chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, fibromyalgia, arthritis, autoimmune disorders including lupus, irritable bowel syndrome or disease, depression, multiple sclerosis, chronic headaches, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and even hormonal issues. Worse are the people who don’t even go to the doctor because they think it’s all in their head — or fear the doctor will tell them as much. There is hope!

Diagnosing Lyme Disease

Since symptoms of Lyme disease can change daily, it’s vitally important to work with a Lyme Literate Doctor who knows exactly what to look for. Be forewarned that diagnosing Lyme disease can be a process and not immediate. Since the disease and its co-infections mirror so many other diagnoses, it can take time to understand your unique case and eliminate other issues before determining that you are, indeed, suffering with Lyme disease.

Conventional local blood tests are notoriously insensitive for finding Lyme disease as well as the common co-infections and fail to test many of the known markers, so outside specialty labs are frequently needed. Unfortunately, since the disease presents in three different ways, plus it morphs and changes to prevent immune detection meaning a test can be performed one week that comes back negative, then it may come back positive weeks or months later. Lyme Literate Doctor, such as Dr. Ken Mitchell, can stay on top of your case and know how to best test and interpret results for a true diagnosis.

How to Know if You May Have Lyme

Naturally, if you remember being exposed to a tick bite and have any of the mentioned symptoms, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor. Also, if you have experienced chronic conditions that seem to keep changing locations or categories, you may have Lyme disease. Too often, untrained physicians get frustrated by the changing nature of Lyme disease and think their patients are making it all up, which can lead to a prescription for psychotic drugs.

Remember, you are not crazy! Let Dr. Ken Mitchell, your Lyme Literate Doctor, determine if you have Lyme disease and get you on a treatment plan.

Treatments for Lyme Disease

Although a quick search online suggests that a two-week course of antibiotics is enough to be rid of Lyme disease, it’s unfortunately not so simple. Remember that the disease morphs and attacks the body in three ways, so all three must to be addressed simultaneously and with the right support in order to facilitate recovery. Biofilms that shield the Lyme, shifting co-infections, and built-in resistance to antimicrobials require a different strategy than used for common infections. Our doctor follows a combination approach that incorporates both allopathic and naturopathic treatment modalities, and is involved at every step along the way to help you receive the support needed in clearing the Lyme with its co-infections while helping restore your health.

Call Us for Your Consultation

Dr. Mitchell has completed training for diagnosing and treating Lyme Disease and the co-infections that accompany it through the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS). Dr. Mitchell is a member of both ILADS and ACAM. His Lyme Literate education extends through ILADS, ACAM, and his naturopathic and pharmacy training. Please contact our office at (602) 441-3455 to schedule your consultation and learn more about how our approach to Chronic Infectious Disease can help you return to life as normal.


Lyme Disease is caused by the bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), which normally is a bacterial spirochete (spiral) shape. This allows it to “corkscrew” itself into multiple areas of the body, producing a mixed and changing variety of symptoms in each person. Co-infections with additional pathogens (MSIDS aka multiple systemic infectious diseases) is common and typical.

General Early Signs and Symptoms:

Erythema Chronicum Migrans (EM), also called the Bull’s Eye Rash, may be seen at the bite site. However a rash (of any kind) is only found in ~25% of patients, making initial diagnosis challenging for conventional doctors. The bite may have come from a tick, mosquito, flea, or mite making identification even more challenging. Other Types of Rashes anywhere on the body may also occur (rash at other than bite site signals disseminated disease).

Fever and Flu like Symptoms/Illness.

General: unexplained fevers (off & on), chills, sweats, weight change (loss or gain), fatigue, tiredness, hair loss, swollen glands, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, swelling around the eyes.

Cardiac/Pulmonary: chest pain or rib soreness, air hunger like shortness of breath, heart palpitations, pulse skips and/or heart murmur.

Gastrointestinal: nausea or vomiting, difficulty eating, change in bowel function, constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, abdominal cramping, irritable bladder, bladder dysfunction, or cystitis (irritable bladder).

Musculoskeletal: joint/muscle pain in feet, swelling in toes or balls of feet, ankle pain, burning in feet, shin splints, joint pain and/or swelling, stiffness of the joints, neck or back, muscle pain or cramps that may migrate, neck creaks and cracks, neck stiffness, TMJ/Jaw Pain (Temporomandibular Joint). Classic diagnostic sign is muscle and/or joint aches that wander/travel around from site to site.

Neurological: twitching of the face, eyelids, or other muscles, headache, tingling, numbness, burning or stabbing sensations, facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy) dizziness, poor balance, increased motion sickness, light-headedness, wooziness, difficulty walking, tremor, confusion, difficulty in thinking or with concentration or reading, forgetfulness, poor short term memory, disorientation (getting lost, going to wrong place), difficulty with speech, double or blurry vision, eye pain, blindness, increased floaters, increased sensitivity to light or sound, buzzing or ringing in ears, ear pain, deafness, seizure activity, white matter lesions in brain, low blood pressure.

Neuropsychiatric: mood swings, violent outbursts, irritability, depression, disturbed sleep (too much or too little, early awakening), personality changes, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), paranoia, panic anxiety attack, hallucinations.

Reproductive: testicular pain or pelvic pain, menstrual irregularity, milk production (lactation), sexual dysfunction, loss of libido.

Adapted from © Lyme Disease Association, Inc. 2000, 2009, Revised: 2013

These medical conditions may in some cases be caused by or related to Lyme Disease and co-infections:

  • Abdominal pseudo-eventration
  • Acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans (ACA)
  • Acute Acral Ischemia
  • Acute conduction disorders
  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Acute exogenous psychosis
  • Acute meningitis
  • Acute myelo-meningo-radiculitis
  • Acute peripheral facial palsy
  • Acute perimyocarditis
  • Acute pyogenic arthritis
  • Acute reversible diffuse conduction system disease
  • Acute transitory auriculoventricular block
  • Acute transverse myelitis
  • Acute urinary retention
  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Algodystrophy
  • Allergic conditions
  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Alopecia
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS: Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Amyotrophy
  • Anamnesis
  • Anetoderma
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Antepartum fever
  • Anxiety
  • Arrhythmia
  • Arthralgia
  • Arthritis
  • Asymmetrical hearing loss
  • Atraumatic spontaneous hemarthrosis
  • Atrioventricular block
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Bannwarth’s Syndrome
  • Behcet’s disease
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Benign cutaneous lymphocytoma
  • Benign lymphocytic infiltration (Jessner-Kanof)
  • Bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Bilateral facial nerve palsy
  • Bilateral follicular conjunctivitis
  • Bilateral keratitis
  • Bilateral papilloedema
  • Biphasic meningoencephalitis
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Brain tumor
  • Brown recluse spider bite
  • Brown-Sequard syndrome
  • Cardiac Disease
  • Cardiomegaly
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Carditis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Catatonic syndrome
  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Central vestibular syndrome
  • Cerebellitis
  • Cerebral atrophy
  • Cerebro-vascular disease (CVD)
  • Cervical facet syndrome
  • Cheilitis granulomatosa
  • Chiasmal optic neuritis
  • Chorea
  • Choriocapillaritis
  • Chronic encephalomyelitis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
  • Chronic muscle weakness
  • Chronic urticaria
  • Cerebellar ataxia
  • Cogan’s syndrome
  • Collagenosis
  • Complete flaccid paraplegia
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Concomitant neuroretinitis
  • Conduction disorder
  • Conus medullaris syndrome
  • Coronary aneurysm
  • Cortical blindness
  • Coxitis
  • Cranial Neuritis
  • Cranial polyneuritis
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Cutaneous B-cell lymphoma
  • Dementia
  • Demyelinating disorders
  • Depression
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Diaphragmatic paralysis
  • Diffuse fasciitis
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Diplopia
  • Discopathy
  • Disseminated choroiditis
  • Dorsal epiduritis
  • Encephalitis
  • Encephalomyelitis
  • Encephalopathy
  • Endogenous paranoid-hallucinatory syndrome
  • Eosinophilia
  • Eosinophilic fasciitis (Shulman syndrome)
  • Epilepsy
  • Epileptic crises
  • Episcleritis
  • Epstein Barr
  • Erythema chronicum migrans
  • Exanthema (local and generalized)
  • Extrapyramidal disorders
  • Facial diplegia
  • Fascicular tachycardia
  • Fatal adult respiratory distress syndrome
  • Fetal death
  • Fever
  • Fibromyalgia (FMS)
  • Fibrositis
  • Focal nodular myositis
  • Frontotemporal atrophy
  • Generalized motor neuron disease
  • Geniculate neuralgia
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Gonarthritis
  • Granuloma annulare
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
  • HLA-B27 negative sacroiliitis
  • Headaches (severe)
  • Hearing loss
  • Heart block
  • Hemiparesis
  • Hemophagocytic syndrome
  • Hepatic disorders
  • Hepatitis
  • Herniated discs
  • Holmes-Adie syndrome
  • Horner’s syndrome
  • Human necrotizing splenitis
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hyperacusis
  • Hyperbilirubinemia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Idiopathic atrophoderma of Pasini and Pierini
  • (IAPP)
  • Idiopathic facial paralysis
  • Infarction pain
  • Impaired brainstem response
  • Infantile sclero-atrophic lichen
  • Infectious Mononucleosis
  • Infiltrating lymphadenosis benigna cutis
  • Inflammatory cerebrospinal fluid syndrome
  • Influenza
  • Internuclear ophthalmoplegia
  • Interstitial granulomatous dermatitis
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage
  • Intracranial aneurysm
  • Intracranial hypertension
  • Intracranial mass lesions
  • Intrauterine growth retardation
  • Iritis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Isolated acute myocarditis
  • Isolated lymphadenopathy
  • Isolated neuritis of the sciatic nerve
  • Isolated oculomotor nerve paralysis
  • Isolated posterior cord syndrome
  • Jaundice
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)
  • Keratitis
  • Keratoconus
  • Left sided sudden hemiparesis
  • Lichen sclerosus
  • Livedo racemosa
  • Lofgren’s syndrome
  • Lupus (SLE)
  • Lymphadenosis benigna cutis
  • Lymphocytoma cutis
  • Lymphoma
  • Lumboradicular syndrome
  • Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome
  • Memory impairment
  • Meningeal lymphoma
  • Meningitis
  • Meningoencephalomyelitis,
  • Meningoencephalomyeloradiculoneuritis
  • Meningoradiculitis
  • Migraines
  • Mono-arthritis
  • Monolateral chorioretinitis
  • Morgagni-Adams-Stokes syndrome (MAS)
  • Morning glory syndrome
  • Morphea
  • Motor neuron syndrome
  • Multiple mononeuropathy
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Myelopathy
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Myositis
  • Neonatal respiratory distress
  • Neuromyotonia
  • Nodular panniculitis
  • Normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH)
  • Oculomotor paralysis
  • Oligoarthritis
  • Opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome
  • Nodular fasciitis
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Optic atrophy
  • Optic disk edema
  • Organic mood syndrome
  • Optic nerve lesion
  • Otoneurological disorders
  • Panuveitis
  • Papillitis
  • Paralysis of abdominal muscles
  • Paraneoplastic polyneuropathy
  • Paranoia
  • Parkinsonism
  • Parotitis
  • Pars plana vitrectopy
  • Parsonage and Turner syndrome
  • Peripheral facial palsy
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Peripheral vascular disorder
  • Pericarditis
  • Perimyocarditis
  • Persistent atrioventricular block
  • Pigment epitheliitis
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Polyneuritis cranialis
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Polysymptomatic autoimmune disorder
  • Porphyrinuria
  • Posterior scleritis
  • Primary lymphoma of the nervous system
  • Presenile dementia
  • Progressive cerebral infarction
  • Progressive facial hemiatrophy (Parry-Romberg
  • syndrome)
  • Progressive stroke
  • Progressive supranuclear paralysis
  • Prolonged pyrexia
  • Propriospinal myoclonus
  • Pseudo tumor Cerebrae
  • Pseudolymphoma
  • Pseudoneoplastic weight loss
  • Psychosomatic disorders
  • Radiculoneuritis
  • Ramsay Hunt syndrome (pleocytosis)
  • Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Recurrent paralysis
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)
  • Reiter’s Syndrome
  • Respiratory failure
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
  • Retinal pigment epithelium detachment
  • Retinal vasculitis
  • Reversible dementia
  • Rheumatic Fever
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Rhombencephalitis
  • Sacro-iliitis infection
  • SAPHO syndrome
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schoenlein-Henoch purpura
  • Scleroderma
  • Secondary syphilis
  • Seizure disorders
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Septal panniculitis
  • Septic arthritis
  • Seventh nerve paralysis
  • Sick sinus syndrome
  • Spontaneous brain hemorrhage
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Stiff-man syndrome
  • Still’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis
  • Subacute multiple-site osteomyelitis
  • Subacute organic psychosyndrome
  • Subacute multiple-site osteomyelitis
  • Subacute presenile dementia
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Sudden deafness
  • Sudden hemiparesis
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Sudeck’s atrophy
  • Synovitis
  • Syphilis
  • Symmetric Polyarthritis
  • Temporal arteritis
  • Temporomandibular Joint syndrome (TMJ)
  • Thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Thyroiditis
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
  • Transient left ventricular dysfunction
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • Unilateral interstitial keratitis
  • Unilateral papillitis
  • Urticaria
  • Uveitis
  • Vasculitic neuropathy
  • Vasculitic mononeuritis multiplex
  • Vasculitis
  • Ventricular asystole
  • Vertigo
  • Vestibular neuronitis
  • Vitreous cloudin

Adapted from