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Long COVID

Long COVID Symptoms

Long COVID (also referred to as Long-haul or Post-COVID) symptoms refer to the chronic health conditions that many are now experiencing as a result of COVID-19 infections. [1]

Symptoms may include the following:

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Unexplained facial pain

  • Unexplained headaches

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating ("brain fog")

Long-haul COVID Therapy Options

Research is now linking Long COVID symptoms to Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) imbalance. In the head, neck, and face region, the Stellate Ganglion, the Sphenopalatine Ganglion and the Vagus Nerve all play important roles in ANS function and pain disorders. Current studies are showing that nerve blocks of the Stellate Ganglion [2] and stimulation of the Vagus Nerve [3] can be effective for reducing some types of Long COVID symptoms. The Sphenopalatine Ganglion (SPG) is the Stellate Ganglion's little cousin. Both are involved in regulating the ANS and the SPG plays a role in headache and facial pain disorders.

 

SPG Nerve Block

The SPG is a small but mighty nerve relay station for the parasympathetic, sympathetic and Trigeminal sensory nerves in the face. The SPG nerve block has been well-studied for treating multiple pain conditions in the head and face region: migraines, cluster headaches, Trigeminal Neuralgia, and atypical facial pains. Unlike the Stellate Ganglion, the SPG nerve block can be easily and painlessly accessed using the Tx360® (an FDA-approved device for administering the SPG nerve block). Some of Dr. Wang's patients have reported improvement with Long COVID symptoms while being treated for other pain disorders with SPG blocks. Dr. Wang is excited to offer this non-invasive, pain-free, low side-effect therapy option for patients suffering from Long COVID symptoms.

Disclaimer: Please note that there is no current literature supporting the SPG block specifically for the treatment of Long COVID symptoms.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation

 

Vagus Nerve stimulation helps to reduce Vagus Nerve inflammation which has been shown to help improve some Long COVID symptoms. [4,5] There are many different ways to stimulate the Vagus Nerve: meditation, exercise, restful sleep, healthy diet, and breathing techniques, however, these lifestyle changes require dedication, time and energy to master. Although Dr. Wang reviews each patient's habits and history thoroughly and encourages healthy lifestyle changes as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, she understands that many times patients need to have a simple way to start healing quickly.

 

The gammaCore™ device is  FDA-approved for treating migraine and cluster headaches, and FDA-breakthrough designation for PTSD [6], for self-administration of low level electrical stimulation of the Vagus Nerve via a simple to use handheld device. In addition to headache and Long COVID therapy, research is showing a multitude of additional health benefits related to Vagus Nerve stimulation: improved gut health, improved cognitive function, decreased inflammation and reduced anxiety. Dr. Wang is one of a few registered gammaCore™ prescribing doctors in the Chicagoland area.

If you are tired of suffering from side effects of Long COVID symptoms, you might be a candidate for some promising non-invasive, non-medicated therapeutic options that we offer.

 

Contact our office to schedule an evaluation today.

At The Orofacial Pain Center, we are dedicated to helping you find relief.

Call us today: 773.873.6372

References:

[1] https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/covid/long-covid

[2] Liu LD, Duricka DL. Stellate ganglion block reduces symptoms of Long COVID: A case series. J Neuroimmunol. 2022 Jan 15;362:577784. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2021.577784. Epub 2021 Dec 8. PMID: 34922127; PMCID: PMC8653406.

[3] Azabou E, Bao G, Bounab R, Heming N, Annane D. Vagus Nerve Stimulation: A Potential Adjunct Therapy for COVID-19. Front Med (Lausanne). 2021 May 7;8:625836. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.625836. PMID: 34026778; PMCID: PMC8137825.

[4] Tornero C, Pastor E, Garzando MDM, Orduña J, Forner MJ, Bocigas I, Cedeño DL, Vallejo R, McClure CK, Czura CJ, Liebler EJ, Staats P. Non-invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation for COVID-19: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial (SAVIOR I). Front Neurol. 2022 Apr 8;13:820864. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2022.820864. PMID: 35463130; PMCID: PMC9028764.

Image by Moritz Lüdtke
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