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What to Do About Upper Back Pain Due to COVID-19

Castle Connolly Top Doctors

In a world ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has left many reeling from its effects. COVID-19 isn’t merely a respiratory lung disease; it takes a toll on your musculoskeletal system and overall wellbeing as well. While respiratory symptoms such as cough, fever, runny nose, and fatigue prevail in most patients, upper back pain due to COVID-19 is also common.

So what should be done about upper back pain due to COVID-19? Some solutions include temperature therapy, physiotherapy, exercise, and painkillers. In terms of lifestyle, some contributors to upper back pain include being sedentary, working from home, and the stress stemming from the pandemic. For best results, consult with your medical provider.

Upper Back Pain: Symptom of COVID and Post-COVID Syndrome

Studies have shown that upper back pain is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 and post-COVID syndrome. If the culprit is the COVID-19 virus, this upper back pain is often accompanied by body chills, fever, headaches, body aches, and fatigue. Patients suffering from COVID or post-COVID syndrome may also experience muscle strain or muscle weakness in the neck, upper back, lower back, and limbs.

These aches are medically known as myalgia, and nearly one-third of the patients suffering or recovering from long COVID experience this symptom. A study conducted in 2020 found that nearly 70% of patients experience some form of body pain, out of which 43% reported that they were ailing from back pain.

Nearly one-tenth of all COVID-19 cases who have long COVID have reported back pain as a primary symptom. There is a general consensus amongst the medical community that upper back pain is merely a symptom that is part of the overall systemic effects left in the wake of a COVID-19 infection.

Reasons Why COVID Causes Upper Back Pain

It’s important to understand exactly why COVID-19 results in patients developing acute or chronic upper back pain. General body aches, joint pain, neck pain, or muscle pain have been accepted as common symptoms of the virus in our system. Scientists tend to believe that the upper back pain and discomfort in the musculoskeletal system is part of our immune system’s response to the virus.

Your immune system may release pro-inflammatory chemicals known as cytokines in response to a COVID-19 infection. According to an analysis of a 2020 research study, these chemicals tend to encourage the production of prostaglandin E2, a substance that affects nerves and communicates pain to the brain.

Researchers have also been able to establish a tangible connection between the viral infection’s ability to generate muscle pain and an increase in the cytokine interleukin-6. Additionally, it has been suggested that the COVID-19 virus may harm tissue, which contributes to the onset of body aches (particularly in the form of chronic pain in the back).

The COVID-19 virus can enter your cells by imitating the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). This enzyme’s receptors can be located throughout your body, including in your skeletal muscles.

Researchers believe that this could be the primary reason for developing body pain due to the viral infection. However, studies performed through autopsies of patients who died from SARS (a similar respiratory viral infection) haven’t been able to give conclusive evidence for this hypothesis.

Symptoms Associated With Upper Back Pain Due to COVID

Upper back pain is a relatively common symptom. As such, it becomes almost impossible to understand if your back pain is either due to COVID-19 or different reasons. There are a few indicators that you can look out for if you have tested positive for COVID-19. One indicator is the fact that, unlike the pain that would accompany a sudden muscular injury, back pain brought on by COVID-19 is often described as deep pain.

Contrary to pain caused due to musculoskeletal issues, you may also find that the pain brought on by a viral infection is less likely to be relieved by altering your posture. Back pain is also a common effect of the long haul post-COVID syndrome. This long-haul back pain can persist for weeks to months-long after you get infected. Common COVID-19 symptoms include:

Symptoms Associated With Upper Back Pain Due to COVID

Treatment Solutions for COVID-Related Upper Back Pain

Unless you’re experiencing the effects of long-haul COVID or post-COVID syndrome, the pain in your upper back should subside in a few days after the infection. If you find yourself suffering from chronic back pain that persists beyond 2 months, then it’s highly recommended to consult with a doctor to get an expert opinion on how to treat the pain. The following are the common treatment solutions recommended for upper back pain caused by COVID:

Lifestyle Changes to Manage COVID-Related Back Pain

There are several non-medical causes that have a role to play in you developing upper back pain during the pandemic. These are generally lifestyle practices that have put an undue amount of strain on your back which is manifesting itself in the form of pain. These include:

There are several lifestyle changes that can help improve your upper back pain. For instance, you can consciously avoid sitting for long periods and work on improving your posture. Daily physical activity is the most recommended aspect of recovering from post-COVID back pain as it helps revitalize your dormant muscles.

Revamping your workstation at your home so that it’s less stressful on your back is also a good option. Managing stress and maintaining a proper sleep cycle is also an important part of recovering from upper back pain caused by COVID. You might want to consider calling a doctor if your condition continues to deteriorate with no signs of improvement for more than a few weeks.

Get Back to a Pain-Free Life with New York Pain Care

Upper back pain is almost always a cause for concern that needs to be taken seriously. If you’re recovering from COVID-19 and feel like the at-home remedies aren’t effective in treating your back pain, you may need an expert to take a look. At New York Pain Care, we prioritize the patient’s swift recovery to a pain-free life by formulating novel treatment solutions that address the root cause of your pain.

Our competent team of pain-care medical specialists will find a treatment plan that suits your condition. Get in touch with us today to book a consultation or visit our website to know more about us and our treatments and services.

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Page Updated on Aug 11, 2022 by Dr. Hosny (Interventional Spine Specialist) of New York Pain Care
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