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Does Your Back Hurt With COVID?


Back pain happens due to a variety of reasons — sometimes known and sometimes not. With the recent COVID pandemic, you might wonder if your back pain has something to do with this new virus. Is it a cause for concern? What should you know?


In this article, we’re going to examine the research and find out if COVID and back pain are, in fact, linked. We’ll also explore other potential causes of back pain, helping you get to the bottom of your aches and pains once and for all.

COVID & Back Pain: What Does the Research Say?

Scientific studies suggest that pain, including myalgia, back pain, and headaches, is one of the most common early signs of COVID. A 2020 study reported that 43.6% of participants experienced back pain and 33.1% of participants experienced low back pain, again, making pain one of the biggest complaints of those diagnosed with COVID.

So, why does this happen? Experts theorize that similar to other viruses, this pain is caused by your body’s heightened immune response.


Infections, like COVID, stimulate cytokines, pro-inflammatory immune molecules. In turn, cytokines lead to the formation of prostaglandins, which send pain signals to your brain. Consequently, you might not only feel under the weather but also struggle to move your body without aches and pains.

Interestingly, COVID back pain doesn’t necessarily mimic muscular back pain. While muscular back pain is often described as a sharp or stabbing pain, COVID back pain is frequently referred to as a “deep pain.” Additionally, with COVID, pain relief isn’t noticeable when changing your posture or stretching your body, which may help you differentiate between the two.

Other Potential Causes of Back Pain

Many times, back pain isn’t due to COVID but, rather, from another cause. Your back pain might even arise when you contract the flu or another viral illness.


Other causes of back pain, also, include:

  • Muscle or ligament strains

  • A herniated disc

  • Arthritis

  • Osteoporosis

  • Abnormal curvature of the spine

In fact, back pain can happen due to everyday activities, such as lifting something the wrong way or holding a poor posture for a long duration. Simply put, back pain doesn’t mean you have COVID. If you’re concerned and your back pain is accompanied by other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, or brain fog, it’s a good idea to get a COVID test to double-check and avoid spreading the virus.

How Physical Therapy Helps Back Pain

If you suspect you have COVID, again, it’s important to get tested and limit your contact with others. However, if you suspect your back pain is due to another cause, such as a muscular strain, physical therapy can help you get back on track.


At your initial appointment, your physical therapist diagnoses your back pain and comes up with an appropriate treatment plan. This treatment plan often includes manual therapy techniques, prescribed core strengthening exercises, prescribed stretching exercises, massage, and other modalities, guiding you back toward optimal health.


Finally, get to the bottom of your pain, and pave your way toward a better, happier, and healthier life. Contact us today to get started.


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