Lyme Disease

Hyperbaric Centers of Chicago treats the inflammation that results from the Lyme Disease, not the bacterium itself. Hyperbaric oxygen treatments infuse the body with oxygen, increasing O2 levels by 15-20 times normobaric levels in body tissues through the increased pressure.  The bacterium that causes Lyme are considered microaerophilic, needing small amounts of oxygen to survive, but dies in the presence of abundant oxygen. Because the chambers pressurize the atmosphere, hyperbaric acts as a detoxifier as well. By forcing oxygen into the tissues through the pressure, toxins, chemicals and other impurities are forced out. Patients may experience a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction after initial hyperbaric oxygen treatment.

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.

Non-Covered Treatments

Covered Treatments

  • Air or Gas Embolism
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Compromised Skin Grafts or Flaps
  • Compartment Syndrome
  • Decompression Sickness (Bends)
  • Diabetic and Other Non-healing Wounds
  • Enhancement of Healing in Selected Problem Wounds
  • Exceptional Anemia: Resulting in Bleeding
  • Gas Gangrene
  • Intracranial Abscess
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Radiation Injury
  • Refractory Osteomyelitis
  • Thermal Burns
TreatmentsNon-Covered Treatments

Lyme Disease Inflammation Can Be Chronic

Much has been said of Lyme disease.  The more obvious manifestations of rash and flu-like symptoms are related to acute localized infection - they do not occur in all patients and might be absent in up to 30% of all who are infected.  As the Borrelia infection spreads, nervous system (central and radicular) or cardiac troubles might appear - these can be life-threatening.  Inadequately treated patients can develop severe and chronic troubles afflicting the nervous system, cardiovascular system, eyes, visual perception, or creating rheumatologic disease.  A chronic (sometimes progressive) inflammation of the brain and spinal cord can cause neuropsychiatric illness or other disability.

The inflammation can become chronic even if the infection is fully treated - these are called post-infectious inflammatory illnesses and can take many forms including treatment resistant disorders of mood and anxiety, schizophrenia-like illnesses, or a dementia-like condition.  It is often mis-diagnosed as multiple sclerosis, autoimmune illness, CRPS/RSD, Crohn’s disease or fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome.

It is important to remember that many other diseases can be transmitted along with those Borrelia that can cause Lyme Disease.  Lyme is apparently the most common of the tick-borne illnesses and is one of the fastest growing of all infectious diseases in this country.  Just as Syphilis (caused by another spirochete named Treponema palladium) was a great imitator in times past, Lyme Disease is also a confusing and potentially vicious adversary.  

Diagnosis can be very difficult.  There are a variety of blood tests available to measure immune system responses to Borrelia, and there are tests to measure the actual presence of Borrelia genetic material, and now we can actually culture body fluids for Borrelia.  In addition, brain scanning by SPECT can be helpful in evaluating the presence of a neuroborreliosis.

Antibiotics can treat early cases of Lyme Disease.  Once the condition is long-lasting it needs to be treated as an inflammatory illness - in ways that are most reminiscent of old-school remedies for Lupus.  In addition to those remedies we can offer very modern rehabilitative interventions including IVIG infusions, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, or even with extreme heat (for example with sauna).

Non-Covered or Off-Label Treatment

Treatment for lyme disease is not on the medically approved list of conditions. Insurance rarely pays for HBOT delivered in a freestanding center. While we hope that this situation changes in the future, we are able to accept the following forms of payment: Personal checks, Cash, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Care Credit.

We will assist in any way possible to provide the necessary paperwork for you to submit a claim to your insurance carrier. We are unable to file claims for insurance coverage and we are not able to deliver HBOT based on the possibility of insurance reimbursement.

Lyme Overview

hyperbaric oxygen therapy for lyme disease

While there are only an estimated 150,000 people afflicted with Lyme Disease in the United States, the incidence rate continues to soar at an alarming rate each year.

The CDC speculates that because the condition mimics so many other illnesses, the actual number of people with Lyme disease may be 5 to 10 times higher than the estimated 150,000 of reported cases coping with the disease.Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans by infected deer ticks. While short term sufferers of Lyme report symptoms including bull’s-eye rash, fever, flu-like symptoms, migraines, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, a large number of cases are misdiagnosed and quickly develop into a more serious condition known as late disseminated Lyme.

Late disseminated Lyme comprises many debilitating symptoms and has been considered difficult to treat in the medical community. Symptoms include fever, flu-like symptoms, migraines, fatigue, muscle and joint aches seen in early stage Lyme, but are also accompanied by immune system dysfunction, nervous system dysfunction, or cognitive disorders, sleep disturbance, personality changes, and cardiac problems.

Due to the vast range of symptomology present in Lyme, often times patients are misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, depression or even arthritis. In addition there is not one diagnosis and proper treatment.

Insurance does not yet cover HBOT for Lyme Disease. We are able to accept the following forms of payment: personal checks, cash, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

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The information provided on this web site should not be considered medical advice. The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. Seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding any mental or physical health.