Long Covid signs: Joint pain may ‘linger over time’ – other signs to look out for

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The Mayo Clinic says several common signs and symptoms that linger over time include joint pain. The NHS says joint and muscle problems are common and include shoulder, neck, back and knee problems. It says: “When unwell with Covid people are less active than usual. This can cause aches and pains, stiffness and muscle weakness.”

The health body says: “Muscle weakness can lead to difficulties with activities such as standing, climbing stairs, gripping objects with your hands or lifting your arms above your head.”

It explains: “Some people have widespread aching that can come and go for a time as you recover.

“Some people also have odd or altered feelings such as numbness or pins and needles and weakness in the arms or legs.”

It adds: “Many joint and muscle problems after Covid improve quite quickly. Looking after your joints and muscles is a really important part of your recovery.”

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The Mayo Clinic says there are a number of other common signs and symptoms that linger over time.

These include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Memory, concentration or sleep problems
  • Muscle pain or headache
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fever
  • Dizziness when you stand
  • Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities.

The NHS says: “The chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID-19.

“People who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems.”

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says the ONS estimates that 1.3 million people in the UK were experiencing long Covid symptoms as of 2 January 2022. This was defined as symptoms that had lasted more than four weeks from the initial infection.

It notes this amounts to just over one in 50 of the population.

The charity states: “We are still learning how long the illness lasts and it varies between people.

“It’s important to note that lasting effects aren’t unique to COVID-19 – other viral illnesses can also have lasting effects.”

The BHF adds: “There isn’t one single test to diagnose long Covid. It’s a condition that isn’t fully understood yet.

“Speak to your doctor if you are experiencing lasting long Covid symptoms. They may refer you for tests to help understand how long Covid is affecting you and how it can be treated. Or it may even be that there is another cause for your symptoms.”

The NHS says in December 2020, NHS England announced the launch of Post Covid clinics.

The health body says: “The clinics bring together a wide range of healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to offer both physical, psychological and rehabilitation needs assessments.

“The Post Covid clinics aim to bring a more holistic diagnostic picture of Long Covid.”

The health body says if you have mental health symptoms, such as anxiety or depression, you may be referred to additional local services for specialist mental health assessment and support.

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