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.