Update on Long covid
Date: 06th January 2022 | By: Dr Lourdes Gaspar
Long COVID and Chronic Pain Syndromes (practicalpainmanagement.com)
This a is really good and comprehensive article looking at where we are with the condition which we often refer to as long covid.
The article states that up to 50% of people are experiencing this condition irrespective of whether they experienced severe symptoms or not during the acute phase.
Several names have been coined to describe this syndrome, including post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), long COVID, long-haul COVID, post-acute-COVID-19, long-term effects of COVID, or chronic COVID
Long covid seems to be the one most frequently used.
Long often mimic conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/ Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
It can also mimic a condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). POTS is a condition which leads to an abnormal increase in heart rate that occurs after sitting up or standing. It typically causes dizziness, fainting and other symptoms.
It seems that there are two main patterns of long COVID emerging. One seems to occur about 4-12 weeks after the acute infection settles and another which comes on when the infection has subsided, the individual feels they have recovered and then about three months later they start experiencing symptoms of tiredness, fatigue, pain, low mood/ depression plus whole variety other problems.
In the United states, long COVID is now being recognised under the disability act. President Biden has commented that he is bringing different agents together to access the rights and resources under the law.
There are studies underway to collect data with regard to the effect of long covid looking at longevity and severity of these conditions. This includes a “symptom tracker” which can be loud downloaded to a smartphone. Over 2.5 million people have already downloaded it and are reporting symptoms, hospitalisation, PCR test outcomes
There are several theories about what is causing long COVID. There are three main ideas. Firstly, it may be that the virus is directly affecting different tissues including nerves, the spinal cord and the brain. Secondly, it could be inflammation which is not settling in a variety of body tissues and organs. Lastly, it could be due to blood clots developing.
At present we are still very much in the dark about how to manage this condition. Generally speaking experts are following strategies,
- Recognition is important.
- Treatment is needed to control pain and reduce its chronic impact on patients.
- A multi or interdisciplinary, multimodal, and biopsychosocial-oriented strategies needs to be followed.
Due to its similarity with fibromyalgia, we believe our programme, ACTforPAIN, may offer an approach which is helpful to people who experiencing long COVID.
Long covid is emerging as a devastating illness that can befall any individual and the psychological impact should not be underestimated. There are unlikely to be easy or simple tablets or injections in the near future which can represent a cure for this condition. It is important that the psychological and mental well-being is addressed.
ACTforPAIN.com represents an evidence based self-management chronic pain programme at an affordable cost (£65 or $88) which empowers the individuals to cope better with their chronic pain and the associated mental health problems. All individuals are supported by team of medical and psychological experts in chronic pain. We believe it offers long covid sufferers an approach they are likely to find very helpful whilst this condition is being researched further.