Post-Covid Syndrome... A mystery in the making.
We have observed sufficient Covid positive patients to understand the toll the virus takes on the body. Many have survived the viruses' immediate effects but continue to suffer with significant impairments that have effected multiple body systems. For Example, one of my patients, Ed comes in with chief complaint of upper and lower back pain and strangely enough on examination presented with signs and symptoms consistent with Cervical and Lumbar Radiculopathy. MRI confirmed multiple herniations throughout the spinal cord two weeks later. It is possible that somehow the COVID virus incited an autoimmune response, which in Ed's case resulted in degradation of the intervertebral discs, ultimately causing spinal impingement and severe upper and lower body pain. Ed was successfully treated in PT by a combination of Mckenzie exercises, postural/ergonomic re training, along with a variety manual and soft tissue techniques. By 7 weeks, he was feeling up to 90 percent better.
Mary, who was not hospitalized however was confined to her bed for 2 months developed a significant case of dizziness and a condition called Orthostatic Hypotension. Somehow, the viruses affected the way her autonomic nervous system responds to changes in gravity. Mary also complained of shortness of breath, dizziness, and a feeling of "being drunk" when standing up for too long. Mary was treated by a combination of Cardiovascular rehabilitation, Diaphragmatic breathing, and meditation, which helped "reset" the systems which have gone awry. After six weeks of healing, Mary is 85% improved however, still has a slightly elevated resting heart rate.
The goal of our post covid syndrome patients' is to restore their function to pre morbid status. We do not exactly know what long lasting effects may come about in the future, but what we CAN do is address the person's current symptomatology in order to reduce the chances of future problems and prevent comorbidities from occurring.