It is the million dollar Herx question: Will you trade worse now for better later?
The Herxheimer Reaction was discovered by none other than Bacterial researchers Jarisch and Herxheimer. While treating syphilis patients with antibiotic therapies the two discovered that the patients kept getting noticeably worse, then better and then worse again and then better again. This cycle continued at the beginning stages, middle stages and even in the late stages of treatment.
What the two men discovered is that when the body’s foreign intruder is found by the antibiotic it isn’t a pretty greeting. I like to think of this way: Bacteria is the enemy. The antibiotics (pharmaceutical/botanical/homeopathic – take your pick) are the good guys determined to eradicate the enemy and all its evil from the face of the earth (or your body). When the good guys discover the hiding place of the enemy and unleash their antibiotic assault war breaks out. The enemy won’t die off without a fight and the Battle of the Herx is their last defiant stand.
In the throws of a Herx Reaction every nasty, debilitating, troubling symptom returns with vengeance and they bring new friends along, too. Pains will travel to new territory. Fatigue will hit an all time low before it goes even lower. Vision might go spotty or it may even take an entire leave of absence. Muscles may spasm with increased intensity and don’t even think about playing loud music. During a Herx Reaction your ears will ring off the hook.
On the surface the Herx Reaction appears troubling. Common sense tells us that treatment should lead to improved health, not drastically diminished condition but common sense can be misleading. The Herx Reaction is a necessary component of the healing process because it is the eradicating of the enemy. If the enemy is not killed and removed from the body the war can never be won. With each battle more of the bacteria is killed, the forces of the enemy are depleted and their capacity to fight diminished.
With the understanding that worse leads to better, the Lyme fighter can courageously answer, “yes” to the million dollar Herx question. Then, armed with antibiotics and the promise of recovery, march into battle with courage and determination that bacteria’s dictatorship of disease will ultimately be defeated and recovery will reign victorious.