We are sharing some really interesting insights from a client suffering with Long Covid.
He has written a short synopsis. It would be great to hear other people’s stories.
Tom recollects the symptoms of his long Covid up to the day he was treated on Tuesday 29 June and how quickly He recovered:
I had covid in March 2020 and have then suffered from long covid symptoms ever since. While I had covid, I’d ended up taking shallow breaths to avoid coughing fits, I was lying on my bed breathing like this for at least a week. I’ve had various blood tests and a chest xray that came back clear. My peak flow score was normal, as was my blood pressure. My blood oxygen sats would occasionally drop extremely low, sometime 92 was one of the measures I had. This would sometimes coincide with severe fatigue, but not always, sometimes it would be 98-100 even though I was exhausted.
I suffered from serious fatigue from having covid until ~ Sunday 04 July. Symptoms/common issues included: occasional breathlessness when doing light exercise, constant tiredness, tingling in fingers/toes/face when making effort, inability to stand up for more than about 5 mins, short concentration span/brain fog, thinking would become painful after sustained periods, memory worse than usual, sustained effort that would be easy for a fit person (physical or mental) would require breaks for rest, I also needed substantially more sleep than normal (10-12 hours a day).
A question by the NHS long covid clinician, was about my breathing. My wife noticed that I was mainly breathing very shallow breathes with my upper chest.
The NHS long covid clinic referred me to a breathing workshop. 10 patients were on the call and more than 2/3rds reported a tight neck. We were taught to breath lying down, using our diaphragm only for 10 minutes at a time, twice a day. I did this from mid June for a week, it made my symptoms noticeably worse. I’d stopped doing this a few days before visiting the Bodymechanics clinic on 29 June.
For as long as I can remember that I’ve had long covid, I felt like I was only breathing with my right lung, I was also breathing primarily with my chest. I did not have any pain or feel like anything was obstructed while breathing though.
To assist with some neck pain physiotherapist Jon released my right sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle )this is also an accessory muscle of breathing). From my point of view it felt like my whole chest had loosened, while before it had been basically immobile and I hadn’t realised it. The difference was quite profound to me.
I spent the rest of the week trying to stretch the SCM, plus trying to stretch muscles in my back (childs pose, etc). I wasn’t looking for long covid improvements.
On Sunday 04 July, 5 days later, I noticed I was subconsciously walking normal pace while out for a short (1km) walk. I’d not walked like this since before covid. I was less tired as well, the following day I realised that I was needing much less sleep and I could concentrate at work. By the Tuesday (7 days later) I was able to walk up a steep hill fast without feeling out of breath, the last time I’d attempted it in February, I’d collapsed and ended up in A&E.
Since then, every time I notice myself breathing, I am using my diaphragm, not my lungs. I no longer feel like my right lung is doing all the work. My long covid fatigue symptoms have not returned. I am a bit unfit because of 16 months without exercise though.
What I think might have happened:
My muscles tightened up when I got covid, particularly because I’d ended up breathing in a strange pattern to avoid coughing, preventing my chest from moving normally and me breathing properly
I then hyperventilated as it was the only way I could breath, but this upset my CO2 balance, the symptoms of which are fatigue, etc. This went on for 16 months.
Searching for, finding, then releasing, the tight muscles allowed my chest to move properly and therefore I could breathe naturally
It took a few days for my body to essentially reset itself. I made no attempt to do this myself. Once my blood gases returned to normal, my fatigue essentially disappeared.
If you have had similar experiences or have a story to tell, please let us know.......