Can lyme affect us more on one side of the body?

by | Mar 27, 2013 | chronic lyme, Columns, Healing Lyme, Lyme & Co-Infections | 19 comments

Dear Stephen,
Why does it seem that lyme affects one side of my body more than another?

Stephen’s response:
It is probably the weaker side, that is, it probably already had some inflammation in that side and the bacteria took advantage of it.

  • Stephen Harrod Buhner

    Stephen Harrod Buhner is an Earth poet and the award-winning author of twenty-three books on nature, indigenous cultures, the environment, and herbal medicine including the acclaimed book Healing Lyme: Natural Healing & Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis & Its Co-infections.

    Stephen comes from a long line of healers including Leroy Burney, Surgeon General of the United States under Eisenhower and Kennedy, and Elizabeth Lusterheide, a midwife and herbalist who worked in rural Indiana in the early nineteenth century. The greatest influence on his work, however, has been his great-grandfather C.G. Harrod who primarily used botanical medicines, also in rural Indiana, when he began his work as a physician in 1911.

    Stephen’s work has appeared or been profiled in publications throughout North America and Europe including Common Boundary, Apotheosis, Shaman’s Drum, The New York Times, CNN, and Good Morning America. Stephen lectures yearly throughout the United States on herbal medicine, the sacredness of plants, the intelligence of Nature, and the states of mind necessary for successful habitation of Earth.

    He is a tireless advocate for the reincorporation of the exploratory artist, independent scholar, amateur naturalist, and citizen scientist in American society – especially as a counterweight to the influence of corporate science and technology.

This protocol was incredible. After only a few weeks most of my symptoms were gone. After six months all my symptoms were gone… it has given me my life back.

– Amazon review by Joseph

Please note:

Stephen Buhner has retired from answering questions here, but this Q + A column on Planet Thrive is kept open so readers can access vital information in the archives, communicate with each other in the comments section, and find herbs, books + lyme adjuncts in our directory. If you want to reach Stephen, please try contacting him through his personal website at

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  1. tanner

    I think I have lyme as I was tested positively for it once and given 3 weeks of antibiotics but never tested again. this recent article in the new yorker magazine makes me think I may not have been cured. 3 questions:
    what type test should be used to test for lyme?
    how can I find a lyme specialist?
    what can I start doing now to help my immunity? i.e. gluten free diet, stop coffee, sugar, etc.

  2. Julie B


    You can locate a Lyme doc by contacting your nearest Lyme Association, and ask for a referral. The test that is typically requested by an LLMD is the Western Blot through Igenex Labs. It is not covered by insurance and costs around $270. Keep in mind, that a negative does NOT rule out Lyme, it is a clinical diagnosis based on your symptoms. A positive test just helps in the diagnosis.

    I would recommend getting started on Stephen’s protocol. Eliminating foods that are known to cause inflammation, is a good place to start. I myself, went Gluten Free 45 days ago, but I can’t say for sure that I’ve benefitted as of yet.

    Good Luck!


  3. Robin

    My guess, and it is a guess, for why one side has more Lyme symptoms is that it has places in it that get less oxygen flow and that’s where the bacteria prefer to be. My right side has more symptoms than my left and has tighter muscles – ie less bloodflow – since it is my dominant use side.

  4. Laura

    I was bit on the left side of body so that is where it is the worst so I am thinking that everyone I know with lyme got bit on that side of the body that has more pain/problems ,it is really bad if you have more pain on the left side of your body because because it affects your heart more.I have conjective heart failure,suffer alot of pain on & off in my heart

  5. Carol

    I was bit on the right shoulder blade – I have a replacemnet/implant of the left shoulder (10yrs ago) the Lyme has gone right into that shoulder and all corresponding muscles into the neck. Makes sense about the weakest area.

  6. Michelle Tsuchiya

    Hi, I have had Lyme disease for about 16 years. Like many of you Ive done just about everything under the son to get rid of it. I just wanted to let anyone who wants to get better know, natural is the only way to go. I also feel like Lyme stays dominant on one side of the body. Many years ago I read that it may be because of the way our blood circulates in the body. I have pain on my left side only. However, my right side tends to tighter but without pain. And my right big toe has been swollen sine I got sick. In Chinese medicine they say that the toe joint represents the neck. That’s where 90%of my pain is, in my neck. Anyway, I did the Garson protocol for about 8 months last year and it SEVERLY changed my life for the better. I used to suffer about a level 8 pain every day. Now I’m have days as good as level 3, and that’s even with drinking coffee! I never have went back to the level 8 pain again. Since I stopped the Garson , about 6 months ago. After that I began taking essential oils. This has been the icing on the cake. I can actually sleep now and sometimes I have moments where I feel normal, like I have no pain. I take the essential oils internally. I initially started using an expensive brand, then I just switched to an inexpensive good sourced one. I plan fully eradicating this disease out of my system so that’s why I’m here.

  7. Carol

    I have been taking the formulas since December, within a couple of weeks the shoulder pain subsided. After the 1st month my body sensations returned to every tick bite I ever got. This lasted from a few hours to a day at each site. It is now Feb. and I feel that I have finally licked the Lyme!

  8. Michael Weitz

    im being treated by lyme literate neurologist (dr. Katz) for lymes disease. On doxy for past 11 months and doing much better along with a really good nutritionist. I’m from nyc but living in south Florida. I have lots of muscle soreness on my right side and glutes etc. My nutritionist suggested I see herbalist. Can you possibly suggest someone I can see in person or consult with on phone?
    Michael Weitz

  9. jill

    i bought your book a year ago and want to tell you THANK YOU for writting it. it has helped me more than you will ever know. i was treated a year ago for a deer tick that i pulled off myself and it showed lymes in 3 days which led the doctor to assume i have a previous infection( which i now have come to realize is from several years ago) . i was given 60 days of doxycycline which cleared up the latest bite, but the old bite gives me trouble. your clear explainations of the disease and suggestions on how to alleviate my flare ups really helps!! i really am greatful for the emotional help too, because some of my symtoms explain my mental fog and brian issues.
    my husband and i use tradition medicine when needed but mostly prefer to use herb and natural supplements when ever possible.we live in the country on a 5 acre farmette so we garden and live as organic and natural as possible. thanks again for your wonderful book and if you write another one ,let me know thanks,jill sandoval

  10. judy

    Hi Carol and anyone else who wants to chime in,
    Did you start on the Basic Lyme Protocol, or did you also add in any of the others? Do you monitor your CD-57 levels? This is the first I’ve heard of the CD-57 levels and having dealt with chronic Lyme since 1999, I am very hesitantly enthusiastic to start the herbal protocols. My biggest issue is I qualify for every additional protocol he has listed but I am thinking I should start with the basic first?

  11. judy

    I also have most of my symptoms on the right side of my body!

  12. Flor

    Please let me know what oils did you use and from where.
    Thank you

  13. diana

    I am convinced that lyme hits the weakest parts of our bodies. For example my lyme symptoms seemed to be focused in areas where I had past injuries or malaise such as….left ear persistent drum pain (reminiscence of ear infection at age 8), right knee weird pain (knee cap running injury 15 years ago), lower back pain, (generally bad with my cycles ), localized, ocular migraines (I suffered from those all my life), rheumatism in hands knuckles (I used to suffer from rheumatism when a teenager), right wrist pain, (this is a stressed joint for me when I lift weights and use dumbbells).

    If you are left handed you might have right side pain because your left side is the weakest muscles and joints. You you have pains accentuated on the side you use the most, it is possibly also because you overuse that side and you have more stressed area (like in my case on my right wrist).

  14. Bette Shaw

    One sided is also reflective of male/female parental concerns and challenges. So say you had a lot of maternal issues, your pain will be left sides. Paternal would be right sided. This is one mind body/emotional connection to where pain resides.

    It often takes up in places where previous injury or cell damage has occurred, be it emotional or physical.

  15. sharon

    It takes 6 months being Gluten free before you notice a difference as it takes that long to cleanse itself out of your intestines. I would recommend an autoimmune Paleo diet, you can find recipe books on amazon for this, it helps me the most.

  16. Lisa

    I’m so excited to hear this! Which essential oils have you been taking? I have been trying Teasel Root myself….it seems to be the first thing I have ever tried that helps to subside my symptoms.

  17. Andrea

    This is so comforting. I primarily have pain on my right side and the muscles are stiffer and burn more. I feel I have atrophy although no one one sees it. ? Has anyone here had an EMG? I’d like it for piece of mind to rule out an MND.

  18. Dee

    I am wondering if I could have Lymes, your post hit home for me. I’m on the phone though and my neck is probably affected by that, it’s been worse in the last year or so though .. i so started taking medicine for my add so it’s hard to tell what is what …

  19. Suze Wilderstien

    Hi Michelle, I was very interested in what you said here. Did you mean Gerson or is it Garson ? I would be very interested in which essential oils you are taking. It’s now 4 years on – how are you doing ?

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