Many people who were diagnosed with Covid-19 report negative symptoms that linger long after contracting the virus. Known as Covid “Long-Haulers,” these people have endured chronic, life-altering symptoms for months, despite the fact that some of them initially had mild cases or even no symptoms of Covid-19!
Over a year and a half into the pandemic, medical professionals have very few answers about how to treat Long Covid. At best, doctors can advise you on how to live with symptoms. For victims of Long Covid, there’s no magic pill, no treatment plan, and, worst of all, very little support.
Fortunately, new research has proven that acupuncture is highly effective at treating the underlying causes and symptoms of Long Covid. Keep reading to learn more about the causes of Long Covid, as well as how acupuncture can help you regain your health and improve your quality of life.
What are the symptoms of Long Covid?
While anyone can suffer from Long Covid, it is most often found in middle-aged and older women. Symptoms seem to vary greatly from person to person, but typically include combinations of:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities (also known as post-exertional malaise)
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
- Chest or stomach pain
- Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
- Joint or muscle pain
- Pins-and-needles feeling
- Sleep problems
- Dizziness on standing (lightheadedness)
- Mood changes
- Change in smell or taste
- Changes in menstrual period cycles
(via the CDC website)
What Causes Long Covid?
While little research has been conducted so far, scientists theorize that these symptoms are possibly a result of the body’s natural response to the virus.
When we contract any illness, our immune system leaps into overdrive, promoting heightened levels of cytokines. Cytokines are tiny proteins that signal the immune system to fight sickness by boosting inflammation. While we need inflammatory cytokines to fight pathogens like Covid, it becomes a problem if they don’t “go back down” after recovery. Many victims of Long Covid seem to have elevated levels of cytokines, months after recovering from Covid. Simply put, their bodies think that they’re still sick, and their immune systems become “out-of-control.” This results in symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, mood changes, and more.
How Can Acupuncture Help Long Covid and Chronic Inflammation?
A study conducted in August 2020 by a team of Harvard neuroscientists found that acupuncture reduced high levels of cytokines and tamed bacterially-induced chronic inflammation. This exciting research puts acupuncture at the forefront of treatment options for Long Covid.
Acupuncture can also be used to directly combat other symptoms of Long Covid, such as chronic pain, fatigue, insomnia, mood issues, and brain fog. For decades, acupuncture has been proven to trigger the body’s intrinsic healing capabilities, improve digestive function, strengthen immune function, and boost mental health. Plus, acupuncture is minimally-invasive, has no side effects, and works relatively quickly. If you’re curious about how acupuncture works, read more here.
If you or a loved one has struggled with symptoms of Long Covid or chronic inflammation, consider contacting an experienced, licensed acupuncturist. River City Wellness in Louisville, Kentucky offers acupuncture, herbal therapy, moxabustion, cupping, and much more. You can schedule an appointment online or call (502) 822-0626 for details.