Your immune system and your nervous system work closely together. It’s thought that some people who have had Covid19, following the hard work their immune system has done in fighting the virus, have developed a disturbance in their autonomic nervous system (ANS) too. Both systems may now be working too hard, or working irregularly, causing symptoms that last long after recovery from the virus itself.
The symptoms of Long Covid can vary from person to person, so people may have one or some of the following:
An estimated 1.1 million people in the UK have reported Covid symptoms which have lasted more than 12 weeks from the start of being affected. Aches and pains were reported by 65% of people, 85% reported breathlessness and 95% felt significant fatigue. If you’ve had Covid19 and recognise any of these as symptoms since then, contact your GP. They need to know and they may be able to help.
There are many ways to help with managing Long Covid and helping recovery. Diet changes may be useful; a nutritionist can suggest a diet to support the immune system. Long Covid can also affect mental health. Try switching everything off and lying down in a dark room, listening to podcasts or using wellbeing apps such as Calm which can help with techniques to relax and enable you to not think of the stress of day-to-day life. A Sports Therapist or an Osteopath can help with rehabilitation exercises, massage, medical acupuncture and more to support your body’s process of recovery. Your support from us will greatly depend on your symptoms and your medical history so if you are interested in coming to us for treatment, please get in touch for a chat.
If you’re usually very active, listen to your body and learn what is and is not possible for now. You may need to significantly reduce and amend your training schedule to allow you to rest. Pacing is vital as peaks and troughs in your physical condition may increase recovery time.
The common timeframe for recovery is 5 months or more, some people have reported it can take 12 months or more.
Imperial College London have published evidence that the people who have suffered with long term cough and breathlessness were more likely to have suffered with severe Covid19 symptoms initially.
Research from the Covid Symptom Study app has discovered that older people, women, and people with asthma, are more likely to develop Long Covid. People who had five or more symptoms in the first week of being ill with Covid19 are also in that group. However, some people who were otherwise healthy before Covid19 are also experiencing Long Covid symptoms.
Whether you have had Covid19 or not, always ring 999 if:
If you usually use a GTN spray and one spray does not relieve symptoms, take a second spray after 5 minutes. If symptoms are still present after another 5 minutes call 999.
If chest pain, significant breathlessness, or a ‘flutter’ in your chest comes and goes, or you find yourself using your GTN spray more than before, even if you are well in between, arrange an appointment to speak to your GP as symptoms like this should never be ignored.
Written by Beth Aldus/Sandra McMaster