Is Upper Back Pain a COVID-19 Symptom?

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With the COVID-19 pandemic, the symptoms can occasionally seem to go on forever. People have occasionally complained about losing their sense of taste or smell, chest pain, or even a runny nose. In some circumstances, COVID-19 patients reported experiencing severe back pain and body aches.

So is upper back pain a COVID-19 symptom? The common symptoms of COVID-19 can last months after an infection, including upper back pain and other body aches. In the majority of cases, pain and inflammation are believed to be the result of an immune response. It's crucial to remember that experiencing back discomfort doesn't automatically mean you have COVID-19. Getting tested is the only reliable way to determine whether you have COVID-19.

Can Upper Back Pain Be Caused by COVID-19?

There are many symptoms of a COVID-19 infection that you would have anticipated, such as weariness, a cold-like illness, or fever. But back pain is one that you may not have even anticipated. One of the major coronavirus strains circulating today, Omicron, has back pain as one of its primary symptoms. 

The impact of coronavirus-related back ache to those who have officially healed from the viral infection but continue to have long-term symptoms or side effects may be more common. These people reported that their lower, middle, and upper back pain persisted long after they had recovered. However, a COVID-19 infection can cause a variety of symptoms in addition to back and muscle problems. 

The following are other common COVID-19 symptoms to monitor:

  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal pain, nausea, constipation and diarrhea 
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • The presence of respiratory symptoms like shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain

In addition to the common symptoms listed above, the following severe COVID-19 symptoms shouldn't be overlooked:

  • Lower respiratory infection, such as pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, or a similar lung disease
  • Health issues related to the immune system
  • Heart conditions, including arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy. acute cardiac injury, and shock
  • Vascular problems that may lead to a blood clot, stroke, pulmonary embolism, or a heart attack

People who have Omicron frequently experience two sets of symptoms, including a sore throat, nasal congestion, and a cough, as well as muscle pain, especially lower back pain. Some people have compared their back discomfort to severe menstrual cramps, kidney stones, or muscle spasms. In some cases, the issue may radiate in the surrounding areas, such as the neck and shoulder blade, causing neck pain and shoulder pain.

Upper Back Pain from COVID-19: How Does It Affect You?

Back pain and other forms of joint and muscle pain are brought on by the virus-induced bodily inflammation of COVID-19. Interleukins are proteins that the immune system secretes to aid in the body's defense against a viral infection.

If you already have back pain, COVID-19 may make it worse for 2 main reasons:

  • Reduced Mobility: Before contracting coronavirus, many people would have experienced muscle ache and back pain. It's possible that being ill triggered these issues to resurface or worsen. The reason for this is that regularly moving our joints and muscles improves their health. COVID-19 makes people less active than usual, resulting in stiffness, muscle weakness, and aches and pains. 
  • COVID-19 Treatments: As a result of the coronavirus infection, some of the treatments you received may have caused extra muscle strain and joint stress. Possibly, the stress on your body has caused new or worsened joint pain and muscle problems.

Shoulder and back pain are the most common complications following a coronavirus infection. Although, joint and muscle issues can affect any area of the body. Some COVID-19 patients experience widespread pain and discomfort that may come and go while they’re recovering. Others have unusual or altered sensations including numbness, pins and needles, and weakness in their arms or legs.

Best Home Remedies for Upper Back Pain

A patient should get treatment for upper back pain immediately since it can interfere with their everyday activities. However, patients should first attempt these home remedies to protect themselves from this COVID symptom. But it could be best to seek medical assistance if back pain persists or gets worse over time.

1) Cold and Hot Compress

Choose ice packs and hot compress bags if you want to relieve discomfort immediately. The heat compress can soothe your sore muscles, while the ice pack helps to lessen the inflammation on your upper back. Be aware however, that this is only a temporary fix to your condition.

To completely eliminate upper back pain, you'll need proper medical attention to treat this common symptom. Don't apply the ice pack and hot compress bag for more than 20 minutes at one time for best results.

2) Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Along with hot and cold compresses, you may also take painkillers to partially alleviate your upper back pain. Acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen are examples of over-the-counter medications that work. This is a short-term fix, much like the ice pack and hot compress bag methods. But it can assist in getting you moving again until you can receive professional care for your upper back pain.

3) Exercise

You can use certain exercises to ease a variety of conditions, including neck pain, joint pain, and upper back pain. Establish a daily exercise routine to lessen your back pain as you wait out the coronavirus pandemic. Begin with movements that will relax your tight muscles and cause the brain to release endorphins. To simultaneously alleviate stress and back pain, you may consider taking a yoga class.

4) Stress Management

At home, enduring the outbreak can be incredibly difficult. Unmanaged stress can intensify this common symptom, causing painful spasms and muscle pain and stiffness in your back. Therefore, regulate or limit your stress as much as you can while the coronavirus crisis unfolds. Try different approaches like yoga, deep breathing, focused meditation, and other relaxation techniques.

The Most Effective Medical Treatments for Upper Back Pain

Senior woman assisted by a Physical Therapist in a back exercise.

While the above-mentioned home remedies can substantially alleviate your upper back pain, these remedies won't facilitate in addressing the underlying cause of your muscle problem. You must receive the appropriate treatment plan for your issue, including the following:

1) Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help you address the issue that's causing your upper back discomfort, gradually preventing or reducing over time. Both passive and active physical therapy are now available for treating upper back discomfort. Deep tissue massages, ultrasound, and heat and cold treatments are examples of passive treatments. 

Active treatments, on the other hand, include activities that can increase your strength, flexibility, and among others. Your preferred physical therapist might advise that you combine the two exercises, depending on your particular muscle problem.

2) Cortisone Injections

Consider receiving steroid injections if your upper back discomfort is brought on by herniated discs, pinched nerves, or myofascial issues in your spine. This non-surgical approach relieves upper back pain by removing the inflammatory proteins that initially caused it. Steroid injections shouldn't be administered without first consulting a qualified pain specialist. These injections also shouldn't be used to treat pain resulting from other medical conditions.

3) Implanted Nerve Stimulators

Nerve stimulators disrupt pain messages by preventing the transfer of pain impulses to the brain, much like NSAIDS do for pain relief. Stimulators alleviate certain visceral pain as well as neuropathic pain. A nerve stimulator implanted in your body inhibits nerves from pain alerting your brain by activating them with gentle electrical impulses that transmit throughout your spinal column. 

An implanted neural stimulator may provide you with long-term, secure, and dependable pain treatment if you have been unsuccessful with other pain-relieving methods such as NSAIDs, surgery, nerve blocks, corticosteroids, trigger point injections, and physical therapy. But a nerve stimulator implanted in the spine may not be an option for everyone. You’ll need to go through a trial phase at first, under the supervision of your pain specialist.

4) Interventional Pain Management

People with chronic pain have a challenging time understanding their condition and figuring out how to get long-term relief. Even while using painkillers is a popular solution for relieving uncomfortable symptoms, it might not be sufficient to manage your chronic upper back pain.

Interventional pain medicine involves the procedure of identifying and treating the underlying causes of chronic diseases as opposed to traditional pain management. Interventional pain management accomplishes more than just ease your symptoms; it also offers long-lasting improvements to your quality of life by recognizing the primary issue and preventing the transmission of pain signals.

Other Factors that Contribute to Upper Back Pain

When you fight off dangerous bacteria and viruses, your body's immune system becomes inflamed, resulting in back pain. All parts of the back may experience a warm, uncomfortable sensation as a result of this. However, just because you experience back pain doesn't necessarily mean you have COVID-19. Below is a list of the several conditions that might cause moderate to severe back pain.

1) Traumatic Injury

Upper back pain may also develop in patients who have severe injuries from vehicle accidents, sports collisions, high-impact falls, and other similar incidents. Your discomfort can start immediately or take a few days to manifest, depending on the injury. 

More precisely, if your muscles, nerves, spinal vertebrae, and discs are injured, it could result in upper back pain and other long-term issues if you don't seek immediate medical attention. It’s always good to address physical trauma before it’s too late.

2) Overexertion of Muscles

Upper back pain might result from overusing your back muscles. This typically occurs after repeatedly engaging in strenuous physical activity. Baseball pitching is an excellent example of overexertion. 

Pitching with a similar motion over time will wear down the pitcher's shoulder. In any event, performing the same motions repeatedly will gradually stress and weaken your muscles. It may cause chronic upper back pain and other complications if left untreated.

3) Herniated Discs

The fragile discs between your vertebrae can dislocate and put strain on your spine, resulting in herniated discs. Although it frequently affects the lower back, it can occasionally affect the upper back as well. 

Additionally, even the slightest amount of pressure from the bulging disc is enough to induce severe upper back pain and lower back pain, along with other incapacitating, long-lasting symptoms.

4) Bad Posture

Depending on how you use your muscles, you can condition them. It goes without saying that improper use of your muscles will result in poor posture and possibly upper back pain. For  instance, consider how you're sitting behind your desk. 

Muscle strain will continue to deteriorate if you always slouch in your chair. Your neck, spine, joints, and discs will all be subjected to increased pressure. These will eventually cause issues including upper back pain.

5) Myofascial Pain

Back pain caused by myofascial pain might result from any complications with your connective tissues. Pain normally starts soon after a muscle is injured or overused, and it might last for a long time after you've recovered. 

Trigger points for myofascial pain can be located by applying pressure to particular areas of your body. Upper back pain might be brought on by active trigger points, which are often located in your skeletal muscles. Latent trigger points, however, result in mobility limitations and muscle weakness.

Experience the Best Back Pain Treatment and Care at Gramercy Pain Center

Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, upper back pain is a condition you shouldn't ignore. Whether you’ve received your COVID-19 vaccine shot or have recovered from the common symptoms, it’s still advisable to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can quickly manage muscle ache and upper back pain by utilizing effective home remedies and receiving professional care.

At Gramercy Pain Center, you can take charge of your back health and general wellbeing with the assistance of our skilled pain specialists. You can rely on our team of experts to offer you consistent pain relief so you may continue to live your best life. Start living pain-free by contacting us now or schedule an appointment online.

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