Covid-19 has many people across the globe worried about the potential health risks associated with the virus.
While the long-term effects of Covid are still unknown, one thing is for sure: it can cause muscle and joint pain.
In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of muscle and joint pain after Covid and what you can do to ease the pain.
Does Covid-19 cause joint and muscle pain?
The answer to this question is still unknown. There is a difference between causation and correlation. The causes of joint pain after Covid are still being studied. What we do know is that there is a correlation between Covid-19 and joint and muscle pain.
A study published in January 2022 in the International Journal of Molecular Studies indicated showed:
- Muscle and joint pain that develops initially in the acute phase occurs in at least 1 in 4 people and up to 1 in 2 people.
- After six months, the study showed that 35% had joint and muscle pain.
- In 65% of patients, the joint and muscle pain was widespread and not localized in one joint, although some patients did have pain isolated in one joint.
- The study also indicated that up to 12% of people will still experience joint pain the year after infection.
Other studies also report similar findings. For example, a Lancet article published in October 2020 notes that previous knowledge that viral infections can cause joint pain seems relevant to Covid symptoms.
They report up to 15% of people with Covid report joint pain.
What causes joint and muscle pain after Covid-19?
The jury is still out what causes joint and muscle pain after Covid-19. Some scientists believe that the virus may cause joint and muscle inflammation. Others believe that the body’s immune response to the virus may be to blame.
Inactivity due to necessary rest during Covid can also cause muscles and joints to become stiff and sore.
Covid is still very new to the medical field, and many unanswered questions exist. However, if you have joint and muscle pain after Covid, your pain is valid, regardless of whether we have an answer for it yet.
Whatever the causes of joint pain, we know that joint and muscle pain is a symptom of Covid-19.
What can you do for a pain in the joint and muscle after Covid?
It is essential to report all Covid symptoms to your doctor. Doctors and researchers are still collecting information to answer these questions, and your experience is part of it.
It is also essential to consult your doctor if your symptoms persist or change. Call your doctor to seek medical treatment if:
- You experience joint and muscle pain after Covid for more than a few weeks after your initial infection.
- Your joint and muscle pain after Covid becomes worse.
- You have persistent pain.
- You have severe pain in your joints or muscles.
- You start experiencing new symptoms such as increased weakness, numbness, or burning.
- You notice a red or swollen joint
- Increased weakness, difficulty walking or going up and down stairs.
- You have sudden, unexplained joint pain.
- You have a history of chronic autoimmune disease or chronic pain.
- You have a history of inflammatory joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or other joint inflammation.
Your medical history is unique, and you must talk to your doctor about how Covid symptoms are significant to your health.
What can you do to relieve pain in joints and muscles after Covid?
This is the million-dollar question. It is challenging to recommend treatment when experts still learn about the specific causes and effects.
In this case, the approach is to support the musculoskeletal system, which makes up the bones and joints.
Be gentle with your body, as the pain is an indication that it is still trying to heal. This is not a “no pain, no gain” situation. Instead, go slow, start easy, and gently rebuild your strength.
If you are experiencing joint and muscle pain after a Covid-19 infection, there are some things you can do to ease the pain. Here are a few tips:
Rest and allow your muscles and joints to recover from Covid
If your joints and muscles are hurting, you must give them a break. Avoid activities that stress your joints and muscles, such as running or lifting heavy weights. Instead, focus on gentle exercises like walking or stretching.
Ice and heat may ease muscle and joint pain.
Cold therapy by applying ice to the affected area can help reduce swelling and pain. Do this for 20-30 minutes, several times a day. If ice doesn’t seem to support it, you can try heat instead. Applying heat to the affected area can help relax the muscles and ease the pain. Again, do this for 20-30 minutes, several times daily.
Gentle exercise can help with muscle and joint pain.
Exercise is essential for overall health but can be difficult when you’re in pain. Start with gentle movements and gradually increase the intensity as your pain improves.
Low-impact activities like swimming, cycling, or walking are good options.
Over-the-counter medication is an option for joint and muscle pain.
Many over-the-counter medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help ease joint and muscle pain. Be sure to follow the directions on the package.
Talk to your doctor if the over-the-counter medication isn’t helping. They may be able to prescribe more potent medication or recommend other treatments.
Massage therapy can help ease joint and bone pain.
If you’re experiencing muscle pain, massage therapy can be a great way to ease the pain. A massage therapist can target the specific muscles causing you pain and help loosen them up.
Acupuncture supports the healing process after an illness.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. This can help relieve pain by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
The fundamental philosophy of acupuncture is to support the body’s normal healing process.
Other alternative medicine approaches, such as chiropractic care, may relieve some.
Herbal remedies for joint pain
Many herbal remedies can help ease joint pain. Some of the most popular herbs include ginger, turmeric, and Boswellia. These herbs have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce swelling and pain.
Cayenne pepper is another herb that can be used to ease joint pain. It contains a compound called capsaicin, which has been shown to reduce pain.
While many herbal remedies can help ease joint pain, you must talk to your doctor before taking any of them. This is because some herbs can interact with medications you may be taking.
Topical joint and muscle pain relief
There are many topical joint pain relief products available over the counter. These products usually contain a combination of ingredients, such as menthol, camphor, and capsaicin. These ingredients work together to reduce pain and inflammation.
If you are open to CBD products, they may also help ease some discomfort and soreness.
When choosing a topical joint pain relief product, read the label carefully. Some products are not suitable for people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before using any topical joint pain relief product.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do body aches and muscle pains last from COVID-19?
It varies. Some people experience joint and muscle pain only during the acute onset for the first few days, others for a few weeks, and still others may experience it for months.
Some of the painful joints and surrounding muscles may be from inactivity while recovering. If this is the case, ease into your familiar exercise routine. If you usually run, start with a short walk. Activities such as yoga and Pilates can help move your body at your own pace.
Are muscle and joint pain a symptom of COVID-19?
Muscle and joint pain are common symptoms of Covid-19. Many people report upper back and neck pain, but it can range from just one joint to one or more. Knee pain, hip pain, and shoulder pain have also been reported.
What should I do if I’m experiencing muscle and joint pain from COVID-19?
Check in with your doctor if you are experiencing muscle and joint pain from Covid. It is most likely expected, but as we have mentioned, Covid is new, and it is helpful to be evaluated by your doctor individually.
After that, the approach supports your healing process. Eat well, drink a lot of water, and do gentle exercise to start. OTC products for joint and muscle pain may help along with massage or acupuncture.
Joint and muscle pain after Covid-19 can be a frustrating symptom, but there are things you can do to ease the pain. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your joint and muscle pain. They can help you find the best treatment for your symptoms.