Long COVID is defined by experiencing lingering symptoms for longer than two months post a COVID infection, which are unexplained by an alternative diagnosis. It is worth noting COVID isn’t the only viral infection that causes “Long” symptoms
Long COVID symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, exercise intolerance, chest pain, depression, insomnia, headache, light headedness, blurred vision, palpitations, tremor and nausea. Long COVID is now known to affect any age group and may be unrelated to initial infection severity.
This is not a new phenomenon, various post-infection illnesses, caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites, have been documented in medical literature for decades. The symptoms are very similar to Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), a chronic disorder of the autonomic nervous system and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). Both seem to affect more women than men and additional immune problems are often present.
Any acute infectious disease, like COVID-19, that damages multiple organ systems, such as heart, lungs, kidneys can cause chronic symptoms in some people. The acute symptoms of these illnesses, and the organ damage they cause, can be very different. However, the lingering chronic fatiguing illness following each illness appears to be quite similar.
Sometimes these symptoms exist without organ damage. There are a number of theories to explain this, but more investigation is needed. One theory is the virus can infect the brain possibly by passing through a dysfunctional blood-brain barrier causing chronic neuroinflammation (inflammation of the nerves). The model proposes healing does not occur because a signal continuously cycles from the brain to the body, causing the patient to relapse.
Another theory suggests illnesses result from a hyper-vigilant immune system. This creates an immune response that inadvertently causes damage to the fragile autonomic nervous system (which regulates the body’s normal functions like heart rate and blood pressure) while attempting to rid the body of the invading pathogen.
Experiencing a life-threatening illness, particularly when extreme measures, such as artificial ventilation are required, can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and if a patient has not been able to return to pre-illness function due to chronic symptoms, the persistent symptoms may also trigger major depression. These psychiatric disorders also may lead to chronic fatigue and related symptoms.
“These diseases are very closely related, and it is clear the biological basis of Long COVID is unequivocally connected to the original COVID infection – so there should no longer be any debate and doubt about the fact that post viral fatigue syndromes like ME/CFS are biologically based and involve much disturbed physiology,” Emeritus Professor Tate says.
Bowen Therapy for “Long” Symptoms
Bowen Therapy has been shown to help shift the autonomic nervous system into Rest and Repair mode; assisting the body to return to a healthier state. Regular sessions will complement other treatments and lifestyle changes to enhance the repair process. We are happy to discuss how we can help you, please call, email or come in for a chat.