Have you heard? People are experiencing symptoms of fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, pain, sleep disturbances, and more after COVID-19 … long after. They’re in it for the long-term. Their lingering symptoms go on, so they’re referred to as Long-Haulers.
Sound familiar? Same song, different verse?
Who are COVID Long-Haulers?
There’s a growing number of people who experience debilitating symptoms after “healing” from COVID-19. (Some tested positive and some have not.) What perplexes them – along with their doctors – is that while they may have recovered from some of the COVID symptoms, other symptoms are prolonged and continue to persist.
The self-labeled name that has stuck is Long-Haulers.#Fibromyalgia, #COVID-19 and #Long-Haulers #LongCovid Click To Tweet
Symptoms of Long-Haulers
Some of these lingering symptoms may include —
- Fatigue – chronic and relentless or intermittent
- Cognitive dysfunction – memory issues, confusion, slowed recall, etc.
- Balance and coordination challenges – clumsiness, falling, dizziness, etc.
- Body aches – joint pain, muscle pain, bone pain, etc.
- Headaches – migraines, cluster headaches, etc.
- Fevers and chills
- Digestive dysfunction – symptoms of IBS, constipation/diarrhea, leaky gut, etc.
- Mood disorders
- Skin issues – rashes, dry patches, stinging, tingling, etc.
And, much more.
In fact, a recent survey (from Lambert, J.J. & Survivor Corps – “Long Hauler” Symptoms Survey Report. Indiana University School of Medicine; 2020) cites 93 symptoms.
Many of those who are still dealing with frustrating and confounding symptoms long after their initial COVID symptoms have banded together. There are Facebook groups, support groups, and other online resources to support this expanding population. They’ve reported symptoms at 30 days after their initial infection, 90 days after, and longer.
The key point here is that they experienced a flu-type infection and then their symptoms continued to persist. Some have never fully recovered.
Infection and the Brain
The fact that brain inflammation plays a role in some COVID cases has perplexed doctors for months. Some patients seem to have more cognitive and brain-related challenges post-infection than others. Brain inflammation due to COVID and high fevers are not uncommon., 
But there are other challenges with brain activity as well.
Challenges that stem from an overactive autonomic nervous system are similar to the symptoms of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and various autoimmune challenges.
Fibromyalgia Causes and Contributors
Have you ever run too fast and tripped over your own feet, eventually falling forward?
This is a great image of how fibromyalgia begins.
It’s a process and may happen overnight or build up slowly. Either way, once you’ve “tripped” it’s a long haul to recovery.
Any number of these contributing co-factors may be present:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Infections (can be latent and linger from the past or be in the present)
- Injuries (including accidents and surgeries)
- Traumas (physical, emotional, and/or prolonged childhood and life experiences)
- Allergies/Sensitivities (to food/environmental, etc. – these may show up mainly after the “tripping” event but the tendency to be sensitive was possibly present beforehand)
- Toxic exposures (environmental, and internal exposures such as dental amalgams and vaccines)
At some point, the body simply can’t keep up. Then, after a “tripping event” the following symptoms typically worsen or appear if not evident beforehand.
- Digestive dysfunction
- Body Pain – including headaches
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Fatigue (chronic)
- Inability to relax, feel calm, or rested
- Sleep disturbances
- Balance issues
- Mood disorders
For many of us, fibromyalgia arrived after a tripping event such as an illness, injury, trauma, stressful circumstance, or infection. These lists present a core set of symptoms and, of course, there are many, many others.
Because fibromyalgia is a systemic disorder, it can impact every system of the body. Each person is unique and may display one type of systemic problem more prominently than another. It can show up as thyroid/hormonal dysfunction, blood sugar dysregulation, respiratory challenges, immune system impairments, cognitive challenges, digestive disorders, and more.
The “new” news is that some post-COVID symptoms linger. No matter what name it’s given, Chronic Post-COVID-19 Syndrome (CPCS), Post-COVID Syndrome, Long-Haulers, Chronic COVID, etc., the hallmarks are the same. Chronic illness is chronic no matter what served as the tripping hazard.
Look Who’s Talking Now?
I’ve heard just a few people, at this point, discussing the topic of this post-COVID condition and fibromyalgia. Dr. Teitelbaum has brought up the connections between Fibromyalgia and post-COVID symptoms. He lays out treatment suggestions for dealing with these symptoms. And, Ashok Gupta has called out to the chronic illness community to help support these newly “chronic” individuals.
I have my own recovery path and methods that I share here and with private clients. And, I’ve been talking about the after-effects of COVID with colleagues for months. It should all prove very interesting.
When it comes to all this talk about chronic symptoms, what do you say? Chime in below and let us know what you think!