Long-haul covid is a new term that is being used to described persistent, lingering symptoms experienced after one or multiple diagnoses of covid virus. Symptoms are ongoing past six weeks from initial diagnosis and can last for months even when the virus is no longer detected in the body.
Individual symptoms will undoubtedly vary and can be intermittent in nature. This is especially true when a person has contracted different variants of the virus. The theme of covid symptom awareness is so diverse and top of mind, that almost any symptom we experience we are wondering if it is covid.
Common long-term symptoms may include:
- Extreme fatigue, both physically and mentally that does not improve with rest
- Shortness of breath
- Change in voice, smell and taste
- Impairment of mental cognition, focus and sleep
- Weak immunity
- Menstrual cycle irregularity
- Muscle, joint and nerve pain/inflammation
- Heart conditions and fluctuations
- Emotional PTSD
- Spine/back pain and sub-occipital/cranial pressure
A closer look at the above indicators reveals a multitude of bodily systems that may be singularity affected or a cumulative load applied upon multiple organ structures. The symptoms can alter our respiratory system, immune system, reproduction system, and cardiovascular system to name a few. As well, physical ability along with mental and emotional confidence can impede our activities of daily living. The organs are taxed, and the vitality in the body is reduced.
Long-haul covid can be all consuming, and life altering. So where do we start with treatment? I believe a diversity of treatment options is the best, with each treatment addressing a specific system.
- See your Doctor. Medication, blood work, imaging and further referrals may be necessary.
- Are you working full-time? Reduced work hours or being off work may ease the stress burden on your body and allow time for healing.
- Physical treatments:
- Osteopathy shines in the role of restoring vitality at a local organ level and systemically throughout the whole human structure. Cranial treatments to relieve pressure on the cranium and vagus nerve are key.
- Massage Therapy is advantageous to reduce muscle and nervous system tension.
- Physiotherapy clinics are offering 6-12 week clinical programs specifically designed for long haul covid patients. These programs can be partnered with Occupational Therapy.
- Chiropractic is wonderful for improving spinal movement.
- Acupuncture speaks for itself, to improve nerve conduction and energetic flow through the body.
- Exercise as indicated. If you aren’t familiar with what to do and how often, there are professionals who can give insight into an exercise program.
- Naturopathic Doctors have a plethora of insights and offerings to assist the human body in its natural trajectory toward healing.
- Counselling and mental therapy are vital in addressing depression, anxiety, and trauma.
- Yoga, meditation and sleep therapy. Avoid sensory over-stimulation.
- Nutrition, and drinking more water to nourish the cells.
- Diaphragmatic breathing exercises
I am seeing patients in my practice that have long-haul symptoms. Each case is individually assessed, with common areas for assessment and treatment being:
- A detailed case history intake and conversation
- Rib articulations, due to excessive coughing
- Spleen and liver, organ inflammation with the immune response
- Diaphragm, weakened breathing patterns
- Cranial, sub-occipital, and vagus nerve pathways
- Throat and cervical spine, coughing and voice changes
- Back/spine pain, compromised posture with recovery
A diversified team approach to long-haul covid symptoms is a strategic approach that will ideally show incremental improvements for the patient. Each professional will offer treatment in what they do best. Ask for a referral or recommendation to continue your varied healing journey.