What Is COVID Joint Pain?
The global COVID-19 pandemic has been at the forefront of the news and everyone’s minds for well over a year. While it is widely known that COVID is a respiratory illness, many people are unaware of the effects on the joints. For some coronavirus patients, muscle and joint pain are serious issues. Patients with arthritis are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing more severe effects.
Here, we will explore what exactly COVID joint pain is, the long-term implications, and how you can treat your joint pain.
What Is COVID-19?
Coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, is an illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The respiratory illness spreads easily and causes viral infections.
Common Symptoms of COVID-19
COVID symptoms may vary from patient to patient depending on the patient’s age and disease variant. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common symptoms of a SARS-CoV-2 infection include:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- New loss of taste or smell
COVID-19 and Joint Pain
With an increase in the cases of COVID-19, there have been some variations in symptoms. The list of possible side effects keeps growing.
Does COVID Cause Joint Pain or Swelling?
While the above issues are the most common, muscle and joint pain have been reported as well. Patients who already suffer from joint pain or arthritis may experience an increase in their pain symptoms. For some, the joint pain during a COVID-19 infection can be severe.
In addition, COVID is causing inflammatory arthritis in some patients. Inflammatory arthritis and inflammatory joint disease are sometimes initially caused by viral infections. The effects can be felt in the knees, shoulders, wrists, ankles, and hips.
Is Joint Pain a Long-Term Effect of COVID?
How long COVID effects will last is still unknown. The virus has been found to leave permanent damage to organs such as the lungs and kidneys. However, the long-term effects on the joints and bones is still unknown.
Recent imaging and studies have shown that the coronavirus may cause the body to attack itself. This may cause long-term, severe flare-ups of issues such as rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune myositis. While many patients with COVID-related musculoskeletal issues recover, others experience serious, lasting problems.
Long COVID has been found to last 60-90 days causing serious joint pain and discomfort for those affected.
COVID-19 and Muscle Pain
Like the flu which causes body and muscle aches, COVID-19 may cause muscle pain. According to the WHO, muscle pain was reported by 14.8 percent of patients. Muscle aches may be caused by the effects of inflammatory molecules as part of the immune response to the virus.
Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccinations
Mild side effects including joint pain are also possible following vaccinations. One of the most common is arm pain or tenderness at the injection site. That is true of all three FDA-approved COVID vaccines. These side effects are not usually cause for alarm but are signs that your body is developing protection against the disease.
Additional side effects of the COVID-19 vaccinations may include:
- Tenderness, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- Muscle pain
To avoid or relieve any joint pain from the injections be sure to drink plenty of water. Exercise your arm to keep it from becoming stiff. You may also ask your physician about taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
What To Do If You Experience Joint Pain
Patients with joint pain, whether it is related or unrelated to a COVID-19 infection, can try at-home therapies to ease their pain.
- Rest the joint that hurts.
- Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.
- Apply ice to reduce swelling and discomfort.
If you continue to have increased joint pain post COVID-19, talk to your doctor about solutions to ease your pain. Gentle stretches or exercises may be recommended to relieve your discomfort and improve range of motion. Patients with arthritis may need to seek additional pain management including medications, injections, therapies, or lifestyle modifications.
Find Joint Pain Treatment in Charlotte
Advanced Sports & Spine offers joint pain treatment in Charlotte. Whether you suffer from COVID-related joint pain, long COVID symptoms, or general arthritis symptoms, you are in the best hands for pain management.
Dr. Ahmad utilizes a holistic, integrative approach to pain management, including regenerative medicine and non-opioid, non-surgical treatment methods.
Ask us how we can improve your quality of life and relieve your COVID joint pain today!