In 2020 our world was turned upside down by COVID-19 and, while some things have returned to a semblance of normalcy, there are other aspects of our lives that are forever altered. For many who are still working through lingering side effects of having COVID, like the persistent pain that some individuals feel, there can be a lot of questions of how long it will stay with you and is it going to get worse. While time will tell on how COVID continues to impact those recovering, our team at Republic Pain Specialists understands that having relief from your pain may be a top priority. We can help.
What is Long COVID?
One of the difficulties of COVID has been the wide range of experiences that individuals have had with the disease, both in their active symptoms during the time they were sick as well as what recovery looked like in the weeks and months after. Some medical organizations cite that long COVID is usually characterized by symptoms that linger for more than four weeks, but others wait for a few months, after the initial infection and are found in a wide range of patients, but, in addition to anyone becoming a “long-hauler”, is common for those who were hospitalized or have other underlying conditions. According to Johns Hopkins, “symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath, [and] cognitive problems (thinking and memory).”
What is Parosmia?
In some cases of Long COVID a lack of smell lingers long after other symptoms disappear. It can be common when we get sick to have an altered taste or difficulty smelling most odors and aromas, but with COVID, the symptoms continue much longer than the initial illness. Parosmia could be a lack of smell, but it could also be an altered sense of smell, with usually pleasant aromas smelling off or distasteful all together. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 40-75% of people with COVID-19 develop parosmia at some point. This lack of smell or altered smell can lead to severe problems and discomfort with issues eating food and overall dissatisfaction with eating and day-to-day activities.
What does persistent pain look like with COVID?
There are many reasons why pain is lingering far beyond the usual recovery period with COVID. The attack on your immune system can cause inflammation and can lead to pain throughout the body. Additionally, many patients feel joint and muscle pain, which is common for a viral infection, but far beyond when they initially had COVID. There are a number of other neurological symptoms that are being reported that can feel like persistent pain such as headaches or a pins and needles feeling.
How can Republic Pain Specialists help?
There are a number of solutions available to those with Long COVID symptoms and Republic will work with you to find a solution that makes sense, is effective, and works. In every case, a multimodal approach is usually best, finding a combination of treatments and lifestyle changes, to bring you back where you want to be. Republic Pain Specialists have found a treatment that is getting increasing attention in restoring your sense of smell. By administering the stellate ganglion block, the transmission and reception nerves in your system can be reset, allowing for your sense of smell to return to normal. This block is also used to treat some chronic pain. Our team has a number of treatments for the persistent pain, depending on how frequently you are having bouts of pain, where that pain is located, and how severe the pain is felt. Some patients may benefit from blocks, other patients may benefit from lifestyle changes like working out with a trainer or stretching differently than they are now.
Republic Pain Specialists is committed to helping our community get back to as close to pre-COVID as we possibly can. If you are experiencing Long COVID symptoms of pain, parosmia, or other issues you are concerned about, contact us to make an appointment. Our team will listen to your concerns and work with you to make a plan to treat these symptoms that makes the most sense for you.