Long- hauler covid
Most people recover from mild to moderate covid within 2 weeks, but for many, the battle continues for months. While doctors and scientists have some understanding of factors that cause more severe covid symptoms, we are still discovering what causes someone to become a long hauler after their initial acute phase of the disease. For now, our treatment options are to provide therapy to the symptoms and to get your body in the best position to heal itself. We are treating patient with symptoms of fatigue, muscle ache, tachycardia, dysautonomia, myocarditis, loss of taste and smell, headache, brain fog, anxiety, depression etc.
THINGS WE CAN DO TO HELP YOU
Acupuncture and cupping
Acupuncture is a technique in which providers insert thin needles through the skin to stimulate specific nerves, muscles, and tissues. Acupuncture may help boost your body’s natural painkillers and promote well-being.
Joint manipulation, joint mobilization, stretching, hypervolt massage gun, and other therapies offered can help relieve general bodyache.
Recommendations and Referrals
We like to co-treat for long covid. We recommend talking with your primary care provide and if you need further specialists, we can recommend practitioners to you.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOURSELF
Proper maintenance is required for most things that we care about and this is particularly true of our body. The natural aging tendency to become more sedentary leads to a loss of strength, flexibility, mobility and balance. This will occur as a certainty unless you make a conscious effort to stay in better shape. Relative to your condition, you can count on stronger muscles to provide more support and stave off fatigue better than weakened ones. You can count on flexible joints to resist strain and ache less if you keep them moving. Every day, you should make an effort to avoid deconditioning- not just for your current problem but for your overall well-being and health. Make time in your day to walk and stretch more. Even little efforts can be very beneficial, like choosing parking spots that require more walking and taking the stairs versus an elevator. Not everyone can expect to become an elite athlete but we can all strive to improve just a little bit every day.
Researchers recommend sleeping for 7-9 hours per night. Even small deficits can pose problems like decreased athleticism, diminished brain function, increased inflammation, and a greater likelihood to get sick- sleeping only 6 hours per night makes you four times more likely to catch a cold when compared to sleeping 7 or more hours. Follow these additional tips for better sleep:
- Limit screen time before retiring- the blue light emitted from computer monitors, phones, and TVs can limit melatonin production and adversely affect sleep. Try reading from a book or magazine instead.
- Ideally, eat your last meal 3-4 hours before bedtime and especially limit heavy, spicy or high-fat foods. Ration how much you drink before bedtime to minimize bathroom breaks. Particularly limit caffeine in the afternoon and evening- caffeine has a half-life of 6-9 hours and can keep you awake long after the last sip.
- Stick to a sleep schedule, trying to retire and arise at the same time each day, including weekends.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow. Choose 100% cotton sleep clothes and sheets over synthetic materials (i.e. polyester). Some research has suggested that your “deep” REM sleep improves when your mattress is oriented so that your body is aligned North and South as opposed to East and West.
- Most people sleep best in a cool room; ideally between 60-67 degrees F.
Yoga is a popular method to stretch and strengthen the body. Many people enjoy yoga and it can be performed in groups or individually. Studies suggest that yoga may help reduce chronic pain and improve your ability to walk and move. Regular yoga exercises might have other health benefits such as reducing heart rate and blood pressure and may even help relieve anxiety and depression. Follow these yoga tips to stay healthy:
- If you’re new to yoga, find a reputable, experienced instructor and start with a Level I or Beginners class.
- Start slowly and stay within your limits; don’t feel bad if you need to slow down or skip some poses. Listen to your body and avoid any position that causes pain. Remember this is all about relaxation, not competition.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone has varying levels of flexibility and experience. Be patient. Like any other athletic activity, practice makes perfect (or at least better).
Deep Breathing Relaxation
When you are stressed, you tend to take short, shallow breaths from your upper chest. This limits oxygen and increases stress. Deep breathing helps maximize the amount of available oxygen in your whole body, which sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. Deep breathing is one of the most useful relaxation techniques that are relatively easy to learn and can be practiced any time, anywhere. Here’s how to do it:
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes.
- Place one hand over your breastbone and the other over your belly. As you take a deep breath in through your nose, allow your belly to push out. The hand on your chest should not move.
- Exhale through your pursed lips and let your belly go in until all of the air has been blown out.
- Do not hold your breath at any point.
Practice this technique for 1-10 minutes at least twice per day. Then use it any time you begin to feel tense, like when you are sitting in traffic, feeling overwhelmed, or dealing with a challenging situation.
Chronic pain lasting more than three months has the potential to lower your pain threshold or even affect other parts of the body. This “hypersensitization” happens primarily in your brain, not at the site of symptoms, meaning you must reprogram how your mind thinks about everyday activities and movements.
Our physical treatment will be helping you overcome your physical problem, but the only person who can reprogram your brain is you. The following strategies may help you actively rethink discomfort, retrain your mind, and overcome chronic problems.
- Stay Active- There is a vast difference between hurt and harm. Movement can be uncomfortable, but it does not necessarily mean that you are harming yourself. Recognize that the amount of pain you are experiencing does not correlate with the amount of tissue damage. Slow down for acute or radiating pain, but unless directed otherwise, nudge into manageable discomfort.
- No pain, no gain is not a proper mindset either- Overdoing it will often set you back. The balanced sore but safe approach is usually best.
- Start Slowly- Pick one activity that you would like to perform, i.e., walking. Identify your baseline for what you can comfortably achieve, i.e., 5 minutes on a flat surface, then nudge it each day, i.e., add one minute or increase the pace slightly. Be patient.
- Refocus- It’s natural to focus on discomfort, but next time you sense irritation, refocus your attention to another healthy part of your body. i.e., when your back hurts, focus intently about how good one specific knuckle feels or sing a song in your head. Your brain can de-sensitize an area whenever you focus on something else. This can trigger lasting changes in your brain that will help you recover.
- Continually refuel your brain- Choose a healthy diet with plenty of water, and strive for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
Red light therapy
The research for red light therapy is ongoing, but it thought to work by exciting the mitochondria or the “powerhouse” of the cell to promote faster healing and improve overal energy. The best at-home laser for the price is EMR-TEK.com with discount code DRRACHEL20.
Alkaline Water Consumption
Just like plants, humans also require adequate hydration for good health and healing. If we do not consume enough water each day, our body can’t remove toxins, which means longer healing times and a compromised immune system. Not surprisingly, dehydration is linked to a multitude of conditions, from headaches to heart disease. Follow these recommendations for optimal hydration:
- Drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day (48-64 oz./ 1.5-2 liters total). While you are trying to heal from illness, drink up to half of that be alkaline water because studies have shown that drinking alkaline water helps blood flow more efficiently increasing oxygen delivery throughout out the body.
- Plan your water intake needs for the day or a workout, then carry a measured bottle to help ensure you’re staying on track.
- Alcohol and caffeine leach water from your body, so limit both, and be sure to increase your fluid intake when you do indulge.
- We lose water faster when we sweat, so strive to replace water with a small drink (4-8 oz) every 15 minutes or so during heavy exercise or hot physical work.
In most circumstances, your body will not absorbs supplements that your body does not need so you do not need to take all of these vitamins all the time. However, when you feel your immune system is overworking, these are some general supplements we might recommend based on your symptoms
- vitamin C
- vitamin D
- Omega 3, DHA and EPA
- vitamin B6
- vitamin B12
- NMN and resveratrol
I also recommend have IV nutrients when you when feel your body is overworking. I like Freshinfusioniv.com because a nurse comes to your house to administer the vitamins.
As per WebMD, saunas use heat or steam to create an atmosphere that will raise your core body temperature. You’ll sweat and your heart rate will increase to pump more blood to your skin. This is your body’s way of cooling you down. The idea is that this process mimics the effects of exercise and provides similar health benefits.
Where traditional saunas use heating elements to raise the temperature of the air inside, infrared saunas use infrared light to heat your body while the air around you stays unchanged. The result is your core temperature rising without having to sit in a room where the ambient temperature is close to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people find this more comfortable than traditional saunas.
Locally, I like Celsius on Ladue Rd. They often have bundle discounts available. Be sure you are schedule their infrared sauna appointment. celsiuscryotherapy.com
EXERCISES AT HOME
Begin lying flat on your back with your knees elevated and feet on the floor. Place one hand on your abdomen, and the other over your breastbone. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. If you are breathing properly from your diaphragm, only the hand over your abdomen should rise, and the hand over your chest should remain still. Once you are able to breathe by moving only your abdomen, you may use your lower hand to lightly compress your abdomen as you breathe in, then relax the pressure as you breathe out. Alternately, you may apply light pressure to the sides of your lower ribs as you inhale. The ideal breathing cycle (while resting) is three seconds of inhalation followed by six seconds of exhalation. If you find that you are breathing out too quickly, you may try exhaling through pursed lips in order to gradually increase the length of exhalation. You should practice proper breathing in multiple positions; first, lying flat on your back, then sitting, then standing, and finally, while performing more challenging movements, like squatting with your hands overhead. Perform as directed.
Knee to Chest
Lie flat on your back with both legs extended. With the assistance of your arms, bring your right knee to your chest and hold it there for 30 seconds. Slowly return to neutral and repeat on the left side for 30 seconds. Finish by bringing both knees to your chest for 60 seconds. Perform as directed.