Can Covid-19 cause back pain? Well, according to Hackensack Meridian Health they say that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, rehabilitation specialists say they have seen an increase in patients with back pain.
They wrote that they are seeing patients with old back pain which has now reared its head and become worse from sitting more, due to the pandemic and new back pain related to Covid-19 itself. Of course, physicians are still learning about the effects of Covid-19 and back pain is not usually a symptom of it. However, if you have the general muscle aches, headache, fever, chills, cough or short of breath along with your back pain, it is possible that you could be dealing with a Covid-19 infection. Recognize your symptoms and do not hesitate to get yourself checked if you think it could be Covid-19.
Sundial Clinics wrote that back pain due to Covid seems to occur later in the disease. It is unlikely to be an early symptom. It can even come on as you seem to be improving from the main symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell and fatigue. Of course, if you had back pain before getting Covid, you can get it again and then the virus can make this worse. They go onto explain that back pain with Covid will feel different. It is likely to feel like a deep, intense pain rather than sharp, stabbing pain that often comes on with a joint or muscle spasm of ordinary back pain. Importantly, Covid back pain is less likely to ease with changes in posture. For instance, ordinary back pain often feels better when you’re lying down, standing or, less commonly, sitting. Covid back pain is likely to persist in all positions but may be worse in some positions.
The muscle pains connected to Covid-19 can be felt in the upper and lower back so it’s just being aware of your change in pain that you need to think about. Disc herniations, spinal arthritis and lumbar muscle strain — haven’t changed due to the pandemic. However, what has changed are people’s lifestyles and daily habits. We are sitting down more now than we have ever done. Our eating habits have changed and a lot of people have gained weight which will contribute to your back pain. The Covid virus creates havoc by increasing inflammation. If this inflammation settles in a back or pelvic joint then pain will be the result. It is a bit of a viscous circle.
Patients develop muscular strain or disc herniations from using a laptop and sitting on a poorly supported couch, bed or dining chair for long hours — something that would not have happened before the pandemic. Working from home has meant a complete change in our routines which could then contribute to lower levels of activity and further pain.
An article in The Express points out that joint and muscle problems are common and include shoulder, neck, back and knee problems. Many people will have had these at some point in their life. Most of these problems are not serious and improve or get better quickly, however if accompanied with any other symptoms, they should be carefully monitored.
A GP on the Hackensack Meridian Health website has come up with a brilliant acronym, “B-A-C-K” to help her patients remember what they need to do to prevent and treat back pain:
- B – Bust-a-Move.
Make movement a part of your day, whether you walk, bike, hike, stretch or dance.
- A – Alarm.
Set an alarm and make movement a routine. Dr. Parikh suggests doing some type of activity every half-hour, such as stretching or walking around, even while working.
- C – Calm.
Research shows that anxiety and lack of sleep — which some people are experiencing during COVID-19 — can contribute to clenched muscles and pain in the body. Take steps to reduce stress through meditation or other calming activities.
- K – Keep.
Keep the environment ergonomically friendly by using a supportive chair with a lumbar pillow, avoiding hunching, elevating your computer screen and making other adjustments to reduce stress on the body.
Source: Hackensack Meridian Health, Sundial Clinics, The Express