What is it?

..and how could Osteopathy & Naturopathy help?

What is Long COVID?

“Long- COVID” is a condition that involves an array of lingering symptoms post- COVID, and can interrupt day to day activities. The condition is estimated to affect 10-30% of people who have been infected with COVID. 1 in 7 COVID patients are experiencing symptoms still at 12 weeks although, this is more prevalent amongst those who have been hospitalised with severe COVID, and in those with comorbidities such as diabetes, obesity, and/or hypertension.  
There is an array of multisystem effects however, the most frequent Long COVID symptoms reported include:
– Fatigue
– Cognitive dysfunction: brain fog, memory issues, mood disturbances
– Breathlessness
– Pain manifestations/ Headaches

Long COVID Fatigue

Clinically, there are similarities between Long COVID and myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), with 50% of those with Long COVID fitting both diagnostic criteria. Some of these symptoms include:
– unrefreshing sleep
– muscle aches & joint stiffness
– sore throat & tender lymph nodes
– difficulty concentrating
– exacerbated symptoms after mild physical or mental exertion
– energy crashes

So what is happening in the body?

The pathophysiology of Long COVID is still not completely understood however, drivers behind it have been identified which include:

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Residual tissue/organ damage
  • Persistence of virus
  • Pre-existing autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, or latent viruses with specific auto-antibodies
  • Dysautonomia: dysfunction within the Autonomic nervous system (eg. heart rate, circulation, blood pressure)


How can we help?

As Long COVID effects multiple systems, our Osteopaths & Naturopath can work together to offer a multidisciplinary treatment approach. Most importantly, being cleared of any serious cardiac or respiratory effects of COVID is important prior to seeking help at our clinic.


There is some evidence, with more underway, showing the effects of manual therapy for patients with long COVID. These include:

  • improved heart rate and a sense of eased breathing, after a single treatment of myofascial release of the rib cage and neck (Fereydounnia et al., 2022)
  • supporting a more balanced function of the autonomic nervous system
  • improvement of breathing symptoms and patterns eg hyperventilation – in conjunction with breath retraining

It is important to note, as evidence emerges and evolves, as will the role of Osteopaths in the management of long COVID. At our clinic, we continuously strive to keep up to date on the best available evidence, and always work within our scope of practice, referring when required.

A number of our Senior Osteopaths will be completing a course later this month, to further explore how to support the body through Long COVID and other conditions such as ME/CFS with Dr Raymond Perrin from the UK.



Naturopathy is a holistic approach to health, tailored to the individual and the presenting symptoms. Dietary modifications, mineral/vitamin supplements and herbal medicine can help regulate immune responses, inflammation and cognitive disturbances such as brain fog, fatigue or mood swings. Naturopathic interventions focus on supporting individuals on a cellular level, with focus on detoxification pathways and overall wellbeing.



Resource: Osteopathy Australia (Winter 2022)


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