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Lyme Disease

by Dr. Brandie Nemchenko

Madison had been coming to my chiropractic office on and off for about 6 months for various accidents that occur in any normal 6 year old. On the phone, Mom reported that Madison had a witnessed fall on Wednesday and each day since had been complaining of pain in the left knee and hip.

When Madison came in to my office, she did not seem her bubbly self. She appeared tired and it appeared that she just didn’t feel good.

Putting her on my exam table, I took a look at her legs to see if one appeared shorter than the other (indicative of a pelvic misalignment). Her left leg was 1/2” shorter. I did some other benign orthopedic testing, and suddenly, she burst into tears, hysterically crying.

Something wasn’t right. Mom calmed her down, and I explained that I thought something else was wrong. I gave Mom a prescription for a hip and leg x-ray, but all the centers we called were closed. Madison’s mom and I discussed the possibility that she could have a small hairline break, but that I did not think what she had going on, was in the scope of what I do.

Later that afternoon, when I called to check on Madison, her mom stated that they did x-rays and that nothing was broken. I informed her that from my own experience with my older daughter, hairline bone fractures can show up 10 days after the fact on an x-ray where the bone is healing.

During the week, Madison’s mom told me that she was not herself. She was not running a fever, but she was sleeping a lot. This was not like Madison, as in the spring, she loved to play outdoors.

Mom reported that Madison was better but still was sleeping a lot. Madison’s mom also stated that she had complained of headaches and localized pain in the same hip and knee.

I asked Madison’s mom if she had noticed if she had been bit by a tick recently or if she had a rash. Madison’s mom said no. I explained that just this year in 2008, our office has seen 6 cases of Lyme Disease in adults and children that aren’t necessarily outdoor people but perhaps went on a picnic or a walk in the woods on a beautiful day. We made a call to Madison’s pediatrician for bloodwork that include a Lyme spot.

Three days later, Madison’s bloodwork came back with a positive Western Blot. She had Lyme.

Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms can occur with other diseases. From her initial history, Madison’s symptoms are typical of those I see in my practice, headaches, hip pain, and knee pain. However; when coupled together with overwhelming tiredness, one must start to consider the fact that Lyme Disease could be a possibility.

The first and most distinctive symptom of Lyme Disease is a growing rash which usually emanates from the site of the tick bite. However; as we saw in Madison’s case, the presence of a rash is not always apparent. The rash usually appears 1-2 weeks after the tick bite. This may occur with joint pains or general achiness, chills, fever and headache, much like the flu. Later there may be other rashes, headache, a stiff neck, facial paralysis, tingling or numbness in the extremities, sore throat and severe debilitating fatigue. If untreated left untreated, Lyme disease can progress to cause arthritis (pain/swelling) of one or two large joints, neurological disorders such as mental “fog”, disorientation, short term memory loss, and numbness in the hands or feet.

This summer, after your kids have been outside, be sure and check them for ticks and encourage them to check themselves. It just takes a few seconds. If you have been bitten by a tick, clean the area with alcohol after removing the tick. Not all ticks carry the virus that causes Lyme Disease. If you notice that your child has flu-like symptoms with joint pain, call your child’s pediatrician or family doctor to get them checked. If they are diagnosed with Lyme, they will be treated with an aggressive course of antibiotics, from which most children recover well and without any lingering problems. The sooner the child is diagnosed, the less chance the disease has to cause long-term problems.

A little prevention goes a long way!

Dr. Brandie Nemchenko is a chiropractor and the owner of the King of Prussia Family Wellness Center (www.kopwellness.com) located along Rt. 202 at the King of Prussia Mall Plaza in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Dr. Nemchenko is certified by the International Pediatric Chiropractic Association (www.icpa4kids.org). She’s a wife and mother to two beautiful girls.


King of Prussia Family Wellness Center provides chiropractic and wellness services for men, women, children, teens, and adults. Health services are performed to alleviate pain, enhance performance, and encourage better living.

We Offer:

  • Chiropractic Care
  • Pain Relief
  • Rehabilitation / Injury Care
  • Athlete Programs
  • Structural Management™ Program
  • Wellness Care
  • Massage Therapy
  • CDL Drivers License Physicals

We accept many Insurance Plans and Worker’s Compensation. Affordable and flexible Pain/Rehab and Wellness Suite Packages are available.

Conveniently located across the street from the King of Prussia Mall.

For more information, visit us at www.kopwellness.com

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