The fact that the SARS-CoV 2 virus causes inflammation and destruction of muscles and joints is one of the reasons why people with Covid-19 have back pain.
Covid-19 is a respiratory infection with typical symptoms such as fever, cough, chills, and fatigue. However, many people also report that they have body aches, especially in the lumbar region, after being infected with SARS-CoV-2.
According to Dr. Charu Dutt Arora, Covid-19 expert, Asian Medical Institute, back pain is one of the most common symptoms of Covid-19.
Although people think this is mainly a respiratory virus and only causes lung infections, there are many studies in the West that show that 63% of patients with Delta strain and 42% with Omicron strain reported back pain as one of the main symptoms,” he said.
The three areas of the body where they feel the most pain when they have Covid-19 are the head, lower back and muscles. Muscle pain mainly occurs around the knee area.
Back pain due to inflammation
Arora said, Covid-19 stimulates the release of cytokines, a hormone that causes inflammation. Cytokines lead to the formation of a type of prostaglandin (a tissue unsaturated fatty acid that acts as a chemical mediator of inflammation) called E2, which activates all the pain receptors in the body. .
“This is like a signaling pathway from cytokines to prostaglandin E2, which further triggers pain. That’s why these three areas are painful during Covid-19,” explains Mr. Arora.
According to Thomas McNally, medical director of the Spine Center at the Chicago Center for Orthopedic and Robotic Assistive Surgery at Weiss Hospital, USA, although previous strains cause severe inflammation in the lungs, the inflammation can cause severe inflammation in the lungs. Can occur in any part of the body. When inflammation occurs in the muscles and joints of the back, it leads to back pain.
Back pain may seem like a minor symptom, but it can also be a warning sign of a larger problem if the pain persists for more than a few days, Covid-19 related or not.
“A persistent high fever could be due to an infection in the spine. Fever may be part of Covid-19, but close monitoring is still needed,” McNally said. In addition, other symptoms to watch out for are impaired bladder or bowel function, and numbness in the legs. If any of these symptoms are present, the person should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Back pain due to lifestyle changes
Besides inflammation, the pandemic is also increasing back pain caused by lifestyle changes.
“The main reason is that people study and work at home with the wrong posture, all day glued to TV and phone screens. In addition, we are no longer as active as before because we have to stay indoors all the time. for a long time,” explains Colin Haines, a spine surgeon at the Virginia Spine Institute, USA. “For the back to function properly, all core muscles must work together perfectly, otherwise pain can result. Any muscle pain or imbalance has the potential to lead to back pain.” and it looks like we’re seeing this with Omicron.”
Mr. McNally agrees with the above view.
“We were born to walk. When we don’t walk, spend more time in bed, we are more prone to back pain,” McNally said.
In fact, most of the back and neck pain during Omicron infection is related to the patient being tired leading to a lot of sleep, but sleeping in an uncomfortable position to accommodate the cough.
People with Covid-19 may experience back pain during the first 4-5 days of infection. However, according to Dr Arora, back pain is one of the most common symptoms of “post-Covid” and can last even 6-9 months after recovery. The main cause is the inflammatory response caused by the virus.
“The prolonged pain after recovering from Covid-19 is a side effect of the cytokines. You can kill the virus in your body, but the inflammatory response that occurs during infection can be prolonged depending on the immune response of the disease. If the patient has good immunity, they can get rid of the pain sooner and vice versa,” he said.
How to relieve back pain due to Covid-19
If you have back pain, gentle movement will be the key to keeping your body comfortable.
“You should take a walk around the house and should wait until the symptoms are gone before doing exercises, avoiding strong impact on the body,” McNally said.
Because inflammation can spread, McNally advises Covid-19 patients to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. In particular, Ibuprofen has been shown to help reduce pain and inflammation caused by Covid-19 infection without causing adverse effects.
Dr Arora recommends that patients consult their doctor if they experience persistent back pain during and after Covid-19. Patients should avoid strenuous physical exercise and move in a ‘ladder pattern’ after recovery.
“This model means increasing your physical activity by 30% every two weeks. If before Covid-19 you took 100 steps, now you should start with 30 steps. After two weeks, let’s go up to 60 and to 90 after two weeks,” he said.
In addition, blood tests should be done every two to four weeks to check for inflammation in the body. Should apply deep breathing exercises that are beneficial to the back and abdominal muscles.
Mr. Ngoc (According to Verywellhealth, Indian Express)