Lyme Disease Treatment

What Do Lyme Disease Headaches Feel Like?

Woman grasping head with a lyme disease headaches showing what it feel like

Article Summary

  • Headaches are one of the first and most common symptoms of Lyme disease infection
  • If the infection is left untreated, Lyme Disease headaches will usually become more severe over time
  • Lyme disease bacteria called spirochetes are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and infect the central nervous system, causing Lyme meningitis
  • Lyme disease headaches can feel similar to migraine headaches

Can Lyme Disease Give You Headaches?

Yes, Lyme disease can give you headaches and this is one of the most commonly reported symptoms. The bacteria that cause Lyme disease in the U.S. are Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii. These bacteria can infiltrate the central nervous system by crossing the blood-brain barrier, causing infection in the brain and headaches for those who have the disease. Inflammation of the membranes around the brain and the spinal cord is called meningitis.  Because Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease it can also affect the joints, muscles, nerves, and other tissues of the body and the bacteria are particularly fond of scar tissue.¹

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What Do Lyme Disease Headaches Feel Like?

Lyme disease headaches can be very painful and many patients report symptoms that are similar to severe migraine headaches such as:

  • Intense headache pain or pressure around the head
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Light sensitivity.²
  • Seeing visual auras or blind spots
  • Weakness or numbness on one side of the face
  • Seeing spots or flashing lights that may include vision loss
  • Tingling in the hands, lips, and tongue, especially on one side of the body
  • Uncontrolled movements.³

Lyme disease can cause headaches several times a week or even every day.  Lyme headaches are caused by inflammation of the membranes and tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord which is referred to as meningitis. Lyme meningitis not only causes severe headaches but also neck stiffness. If a person has any scar tissue in these areas, spirochetes often move into these areas and become very active.¹ After a Lyme disease headache, you may feel drained and confused and need to rest for one to three days just to recover, just like you would with a regular migraine.

How Common Are Lyme Headaches?

Lyme disease headaches and neck stiffness are common symptoms of Lyme disease.  In Stage 1 Lyme disease, when the bacteria first infects the body, the headaches aren’t as severe as they are in the later stages of a Lyme infection. More severe Lyme migraines due to meningitis often develop when Lyme disease has had a chance to spread throughout the body and cross the blood-brain barrier. This is during Stage 2 Lyme disease.4

What Triggers Lyme Headaches?

Lyme disease headaches are triggered by the Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii spirochetes being active, causing inflammation throughout the body and in the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.  The bacteria causing Lyme disease can pass through phases of dormancy and activation. While dormant, a person may exhibit few or no symptoms. When active, the person’s symptoms can return in full force, causing migraines, fatigue, and a host of other Lyme Disease symptoms.

What Causes a Dormant Lyme Infection to Reactivate?

The most common reasons Lyme bacteria become active after being dormant are:

  • Mental or physical stress
  • Suppression of the immune system
  • Lack of proper sleep & recovery
  • Environmental toxins
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Poor diet
  • Other infections
  • Other non-optimum health conditions (acute or chronic)
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Other Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Beyond headaches, these are the most common symptoms of Lyme disease:

  • A bullseye rash may be present
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Joint pain
  • General aches and pains
  • Shooting pains
  • Neurological problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Bell’s palsy (weakness or paralysis on one side of the face)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • General malaise
  • Brain fog
  • Difficulty sleeping

Get Tested for Lyme Disease

Even if you’ve tested negative for Lyme disease in the past, if you are still exhibiting any of these symptoms, you should consider getting tested at our clinic.

We frequently find that Lyme disease is missed because the most common tests used are not sensitive enough to detect late-stage Lyme disease.

We use an extremely sensitive lab test that succeeds in detecting Lyme when all other tests fail.

We see hundreds of patients who have been told they don’t have Lyme disease who have been misdiagnosed with some other disease.

This can be devastating because there are no real answers for their health maladies and they receive treatment for the wrong condition, which often makes things much worse.

Contact Us About Natural Lyme Disease Treatment

We have been treating patients with Lyme disease for over 23 years with our all-natural Lyme disease treatment program.

Dr. Minkoff is a world-renowned Lyme disease expert and has helped hundreds of patients successfully recover from the disease.

To discuss your symptoms or to schedule an appointment, call us at our Clearwater clinic at 727-466-6789 or submit an online patient inquiry.


If you’d like to learn more about Lyme disease, visit our Lyme Disease Section.


  1. Global Lyme Alliance, My #1 Headache Trigger? Lyme Disease, January 2018.
  2. Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center, Signs and Symptoms.
  3. Mayo Clinic, Migraine, 2020.
  4. Medscape, What is the presentation of Lyme meningitis?, Rodrigo Jasbun, MD, July 2019.