Written by: Sue Fuller-Good (MSc Physio WITS) Physiotherapist with a special interest in the mind-body connection
What is long COVID?
Mild or even not so mild COVID lasts about two weeks in most cases, but in some people it causes lingering symptoms and health problems that persist for months.
How long does long COVID last?
The symptoms can come and go and last for many months. In some cases they may still not have resolved.
What are the symptoms of long COVID or post-COVID syndrome?
Fatigue, Shortness of breath, and cognitive problems (thinking and memory) are the most common ongoing symptoms.
We are seeing more and more patients at Body Brilliance, who are complaining of long-COVID. The symptoms we have heard our patients complaining of vary from:
Ongoing brain fog
Cardiac symptoms, like a raised heart rate or a volatile heart-beat. This may be associated with an inability to exercise without extreme muscular discomfort or an extremely high heart rate.
Ongoing pain or muscle aching
Difficulties with sleeping
Allergic reactions and sensitivities arising that had never been present before
Other symptoms that range from chronic ongoing anxiety and or depression to disconnection and a desire to isolate from friends and loved ones.
Desperate people, who have been suffering from these conditions for many months without significant relief are begging for help. I thought I would share what we do know about this condition and what we have found makes a significant difference. You can try some of these things on your own at home and maybe they will help you to cope better.
But please come for help, if you don’t see a significant change quite fast with these remedies.
1. Breathing exercises for 15 minutes twice a day, where you focus on breathing into your belly and extending your exhale as much as you can.
2. A cold shower or swim or any exposure to cold that makes you gasp. This can be washing your face and neck with cold water a few times a day in addition to swimming and cold showering (one minute after your hot shower is fine). This remedy has been shown to help in countless health conditions. ( Wim Hof Method)
3. Gently paced exercise. This means doing only enough to get the increased energy that exercise offers, but not enough to get the dump or post exercise pain or fatigue that comes when you have long-COVID (or any other chronic fatigue syndrome). So, if walking for 15 minutes makes you feel tired, walk for 10 minutes and if that is too much do 50 steps. Start where you can and slowly progress from there, without bringing any further distress to your body. “Consistency is king” with this, doing it daily and even twice daily will give you the benefit you seek.
4. Drink plenty of water, daily. 8 glasses is plenty, so don’t drink more than that, but eliminate all other drinks unless they are herbal teas or rooibos teas and just keep your body well hydrated.
5. Pace yourself in your day. That means, take regular rests, so you don’t get exhausted. Be active and then rest and then be active again and cycle like this through your day. Staying calm and not fatigued is the way to go, if you can!
6. Notice what in your day is depleting, what is nourishing and what is neutral. Do this by writing down everything you do in a day and then be mindful not to have too many depleting activities next to one another. Also try not to do too many depleting activities in a day. This takes mindful planning. If you know you have to visit the dentist, do a report or tidy a cupboard or whatever else is depleting for you, pace yourself, by keeping the allostatic load (wear and tear on the body and mind) as low as possible in a day. This might mean putting off for tomorrow some of the things you might otherwise have done today.
7. Know that emotional experiences add to the allostatic load your body experiences, so when you are emotional or distressed, you need to take more rest and do less depleting activities.
8. This won’t go on forever, but the sooner you stop straining your body, the better.
We at The Energy Incubator and at Body Brilliance wish all long-COVID sufferers healing from their suffering and a return to wellbeing and energy.
We are here to help you restore your pre-COVID health!