Aside from the usual cases of back and neck pain, strains, sprains, tendinitis, & headaches, I've been seeing a different patient coming in for evaluation and treatment lately......the post Covid 'long hauler' or 'long Covid' case.
Covid-19, the result of a novel corona virus introduced to the world about a year ago, has changed our business and social interactions profoundly. Most often, a diagnosis of Covid positive results in a week or two of symptoms, presumed antibody response, and subsequent return to relatively normal health. In too many cases however, debilitating lung problems ensue resulting in hospitalization, intensive care, and sometimes death. The cases we will probably be hearing more about this year are of patients who survived, but retain serious longer term symptoms; hence the diagnosis, long Covid.
These patients are seeking treatment focused on the body as a whole; not parts or for one symptom. Symptoms in long Covid cases are often multi-systemic and require an approach that appreciates a whole body approach to treatment. Practiced properly, Manual Therapy does exactly this; evaluation and treatment aimed at the root of the problem. A few visits focused on the root of the problem allows the body to naturally respond and heal.
Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.org) describes symptoms including, but not limited to fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain, chest pain, muscle pain, smell / taste / vision abnormalities, and organ damage.
According to Harvard Health/Harvard Med School (health.harvard.edu), 50-80% of Covid patients continue to have bothersome symptoms 3 months post onset. The most common lingering symptoms include fatigue, body aches, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, inability to exercise, headaches, and difficulty sleeping.
In other words, multiple body systems are affected in long Covid patients resulting in a wide variety of symptoms. These patients represent a classic example of the 'inter-connectednes' of the body. In fact, problems in any area of the body can be manifested or referred to just about any other area because that's how we're 'wired'. So, 'what happens in Vagus' (10th cranial nerve), DOESN'T necessarily 'stay in Vagus'.
Our autonomic nervous systems include a vast network of interconnected nerves, ganglia, plexuses, and cranial nerve nuclei that account for the vast majority of bodily functions. The 'blessing' as well as the 'curse' is that everything is connected. In good health, the body reinforces good patterns and maintains homeostasis or balance. In disease or dysfunction, the body compensates and prioritizes, which results in the potential for multiple symptoms...........some of which make no sense unless we look at the body as interconnected in its systems and parts.
Manual Therapy evaluation and treatment for long Covid must consist of a comprehensive approach to the body including hands on techniques that 'reset' the autonomic system and allow the body to begin to return to normal. Usually 2-3 visits with ample time between each session is adequate to allow the body the opportunity to begin healing from the inside. Only then can a patient return to feeling normal. If you are 'post-Covid' and doing well without any lasting symptoms, that's wonderful! If you're experiencing longer term symptoms and searching for a 'whole body' approach to return to health, let's talk.
Happy summer, 2017! All’s well in the world of Manual Therapy in the downtown Appleton Zuelke Building (coming up on three years in my return to private practice @ Brennan Hussey, PT, LLC). I’ve enjoyed the stories of new and old patients as well as the appreciation felt when we arrive at an answer to the latest physical pain. And I continue to be amazed by how many of you (majority) yearn for alternative treatment and answers for physical pain. While mainstream medicine has sometimes helped, most people intuitively know that there must be more……yes, there usually is.
By considering the body as a collection of interdependent systems and parts, manual therapy offers an alternative view of treatment. For example, why do we assume the pain and the problem are in the same place?
Speaking of alternative and mainstream, Ellen (also Mayo Clinic PT Class of ’88) has started teaching tai chi. I do not recall ‘multifidi’ being a topic of discussion in our home since we studied together during our formal graduate school days in Rochester (this is a ‘mainstream’ adaptation of an ‘alternative’ practice in my opinion – see ‘back muscles’). Anyway, breathing, balance, mindfulness, and flexibility are ALL enhanced with tai chi. Did I mention fun?!
Enjoy the second half of your summer! Currently looking forward to a September return to Sacramento, CA & Kinections Educational Institute (formerly known as Ursa Foundation) for another great class in Manual Therapy.
Beyond “The Head Bone’s Connected to the Neck Bone….” Treating Headaches & Concussions to Plantar Fasciitis and Aliments In-Between; Why Manual (Hands-On) Therapy Works
It is a mouthful, but my recent trip West helped me determine the title for this Blog entry. What began as a solo trip to attend an Ursa Educational Institute for Manual Therapy class in California (formerly Ursa Foundation in Edmonds, WA) quickly grew to include my wife, Ellen with a side trip to Reno to visit her friend Susie May Hahl & family. The trip to Reno took us far from the casinos and deep into the beauty of the surrounding area. We spent the days boating on Pyramid Lake, hiking the Flume Trail and paddle boarding on the crystal clear water of Lake Tahoe. While there was no lack of conversation, Susie and I spent a lot of time discussing a subject I have long been interested in due to my research and subsequent presentation in graduate school on the Biomechanics of Running and Walking. Susie works at the Reno Running Company (RRC) (in addition to her fulltime job as a 1st grade teacher) and her love of running shows. On Sunday, I joined the RRC’s Social Running Club morning run, toured the store, reviewed their Running Lab techniques and conferred with Susie and RRC’s owner & the 2014 USA Off-Road Triathlete of the Year; Matt Balzer about a quick (and critical) non-weight bearing method of assessing forefoot and rearfoot mechanics. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to observe how the professional RRC staff recommends footwear, which will help me better serve my patients. Thanks to Susie, Matt, Aimee, Sam, and Ivy for the hospitality! See them and their wonderful store at renorunningcompany.com
To mark the 1st Year Anniversary of business, I'm starting a blog centered on manual therapy and healthcare...................certainly other topics will be included. For my first post, I've chosen a bit of information about my background.
After a few months as a new graduate (Mayo Clinic, 1988), I found myself working as a staff PT at Mayo. Quickly becoming frustrated with the lack of challenge in the conventional medical system, I sought change. A new job found my young family in southern Oregon (Klamath Falls). It was here that I was introduced to a teaching institution, the Ursa Foundation in Seattle, WA (now Ursa Educational Institute in Sacramento, CA).
Over the past 26 years of classes in manual therapy, and numerous patients arriving with different afflictions from sport injuries to headaches to back pain, the flaws in our medical system have become obvious to me.
A couple flaws / false assumptions to spark your thoughts:
1) The pain we feel is where the problem exists.
2) Conventional providers offer everything we need.
With that, I'm off.....to another class in Sacramento - "A Comparison of Several Manual Therapy Approaches to Treatment of the Face and Skull"
Your thoughts, comments, suggestions for future topics?????