If you live with Lyme disease, chances are you’ve come across a few products or hacks that help you manage your symptoms or get by on a bad day.
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Lyme disease can be treated effectively with antibiotics when caught early. When diagnosed or treated later, the disease can cause a wide variety of chronic symptoms that vary from person to person.
“I believe the most frustrating symptom of Lyme disease is by far neurological,” Elena Frid, M.D., a board-certified neurologist, clinical neurophysiologist and Lyme specialist in New York City, told The Mighty. “A patient may have neurological complaints in regards to cognitive impairment, such as brain fog, memory loss, concentration issues, difficulty processing information, cognitive fatigue with difficulty maintaining work and school activities.”
If you have Lyme, you may also experience physical symptoms. “Pain could be also very debilitating,” Dr. Frid said. “Patients deal with headaches, joints, and nerve pain (limbs, spine).”
While doctors can provide you with treatment options for living with Lyme, sometimes it’s nice to hear from others who are going through the same struggles as you. Not to mention it can take some trial and error to find products worth the cost with real benefits. That’s why we asked our Mighty Lyme disease community which products they swear by.
Here are their recommendations:
1. Hand Warmers
Heat is a helpful form of relief for a lot of people who deal with pain. Since Lyme disease can cause pain in the nerves and joints, a hand warmer can be a great on-the-go tool to help with relieving that pain.
“Hot hands,” recommended Demi Demimal. “There is nothing like having the power of heat relief on the go.”
Buy the HotHands Hand Warmers (1-pack) above for $11.44 from Amazon.
2. CBD Products
CBD or cannabidiol is a cannabinoid found in cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and stimulates the body’s own endocannabinoid system. This can lead to physical benefits like reducing pain and lowering inflammation. The Mighty’s chronic illness community uses many different types of CBD products to help chronic pain.
“I started taking CBD oil 5 years ago,” said Elsie G. “My depression and anxiety were greatly reduced within 2 months. I also improved physically the first year. I was lucky to find a Lyme literate doctor who recommended a reliable dispensary with an excellent product that is used by many Lyme patients in Canada.”
Buy the Standard Potency CBD Tincture (225 mg) for $12.00 from Lazarus Naturals.
3. A Great Pillow
Headaches and migraines can be symptoms of Lyme disease. The way you sleep might help with that. Tension headaches can occur if your neck isn’t in a great position, so a good pillow can make a difference for some.
“I get horrible migraines from Lyme. Sleeping on a good pillow is key,” said Jennifer Schneider Bonutti. “I take my pillow everywhere. Even took it overseas! I don’t get a stiff neck with this pillow anymore. It really is the best!”
Buy the Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Contour Pillow for $26.57 from Amazon.
4. Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses
This suggestion comes from community member Ellen Donlin. Screens such as televisions, tablets, computers and phones emit a blue light that can mess with your sleep schedule. Some people with Lyme find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, and blue-light-blocking glasses may help, especially if you are someone who uses screens before bed.
Buy the Blue Light Blocking Glasses above for $19.97 from Amazon.
5. Headache Hats
Headaches are a common occurrence if you live with Lyme. There are plenty of ways to reduce the pain of a headache, including the use of a headache hat. Most headache hats treat pain via compression and ice packs.
“Ice Halo headbands,” suggested Kelsey Williams.
Buy the Headache Hat-Ice Halo for $19.99 from Amazon.
6. Peppermint Tea
Some people with Lyme disease say the condition impacts their gut. If you are feeling nauseous or have an unsettled stomach, Peppermint tea might ease some of your discomfort.
“Peppermint tea for the gut,” said Bonnie Franklin.
Buy the English Tea Shop Organic Fairtrade Peppermint Fairtrade (100g Loose-Leaf) for £6.35 from Amazon U.K.
7. Infrared Sauna
If you can’t get to the spa, bring the spa to you. Crawling into a giant personal sauna might give you the heat and relaxation your body craves.
“I find that I do really well when I keep up with a consistent routine of infrared saunas and Epsom salt baths,” said Milena Lena. “They help me to detox all of the toxins and dead pathogens my body is fighting as well as soothe my muscles, easing pain and inflammation.”
Buy the Radiant Saunas Rejuvinator Portable Personal Sauna for $159.99 from Amazon.
8. A Meditation App
Pain can be overwhelming at times. If you have a chronic illness, sometimes taking a step back to focus can benefit you. There are plenty of apps that can help you relax such as the Calm app suggested by Masha Polinski.
Purchase the Calm App for free with in-app purchase options from Apple.
9. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt baths are commonly used for relaxation and to relieve muscle pain. If your Lyme causes muscle pain or tension, try taking a nice hot soak in a bath with Epsom salt.
“I’m going to second magnesium – as Epsom Salts in a bath, as oil for restless legs or pain, as a supplement for regularity and overall wellness,” said Kimberly Quirk.
Buy the Epsoak Epsom Salt (2 lb bag) for $8.99 from Amazon.
10. A Heating Pad
This recommendation comes from Stephanie Meyer. Heat can help if you have Lyme disease. If your pain is widespread, lying down on an extra large heating pad can soothe multiple aches and pains. It’s a great tool to use is you’re already lying down in bed or on the couch.
Buy the Pure Enrichment Ultra-Wide Heating Pad pictured above for $44.99 from Amazon.
11. A Journal
Keeping track of how you feel and your symptoms can be an overwhelming task. That’s why a lot of people with Lyme find it beneficial to keep track of their symptoms using a notebook. Taking notes can help you come up with management plans for the future as well as monitor your symptoms.
“[I swear by] my bullet style journal,” said Kt Shepherd. “[It’s] really great for tracking symptoms, overall well-being, as well as being a perfect place to list and mind-map things that would usually be lost in brain fog and confusion. My journal never leaves my side.”
Buy the Dotted Bullet Grid Journal above for $8.36 from Amazon.
12. Tiger Balm
There are a lot of topical pain creams out there, but Tiger Balm is one the chronic pain community recommends time and time again. It helps with the aches and pains that can come with Lyme. Plus, it is long-lasting.
“Tiger balm ointment helps with the muscle tissue pain and stiffness,” said Jenny Williams Sarver. “Smells good too. It lasts much longer than muscle pain lotions. It heats up and cools. Sometimes it’s the only thing that works right before bedtime.”
Buy the Tiger Balm Red Extra Strength Pain Relief Ointment for $7.65 from Amazon.
Though not a product you can put in your toolkit, one of the best things you can do when it comes to Lyme disease is protect yourself from tick bites. “Preventative protection investment in yourself, your house, and your pets is essential all year round,” Frid said.
What products help you manage your Lyme disease? Let us know in the comments below.