Lots of people report muscle aches and pains after having COVID-19, particularly in their shoulders or legs. Sometimes, these pains can also be felt in the joints too. COVID-related pains can range from being mild to quite debilitating, especially when they occur alongside other symptoms such as fatigue. For some people, this pain can prevent them from doing day-to-day tasks.
It’s important to remember that although aches and pains are relatively common after having COVID-19, new muscle pains can appear for lots of other reasons too. For example, many of us have been working from home using a temporary desk and screen setups that may be far from ideal. We also may not be as active as we used to be, following the pandemic. Your clinician will discuss your pain with you in detail, to see whether they feel that COVID-19 has caused or contributed towards your pain. They may refer you to different medical specialists, request further tests, or refer you back to your GP. Each case is assessed on an individual basis, with a recommendation made to suit you and your symptoms.
- Plan what you need to do each day to help you keep on top of your pain
- Pace yourself – try a task later or consider whether it is urgent if your pain is stopping you
- Try to relax – sometimes relaxation can help with the stress of pain
- Take regular enjoyable exercise if you are able, to help keep your muscles and joints moving
- Talk to others about pain you’re experiencing, to help them understand why you may need to do things differently at the moment
- Do things you enjoy, to help you feel good and help to reduce pain
- Take any prescribed medicine that your healthcare professional has recommended.
Light exercise may help with your joint and muscle pains, so If you feel well enough to do so, you can try some exercise unless you have been told not to by a healthcare professional. It’s a good idea to ask your clinician during your initial assessment about whether they would advise any exercise.
You could start with activities that help you become more flexible such as stretching, yoga and Tai Chi.
Strength exercises can help build stronger muscles. These exercises are any activities that make your muscles work harder than usual. If you can, try to do two or more strength exercises every week, such as climbing stairs or working with resistance bands.
Most muscle and joint pains settle down after having covid, although it can take some time in some cases.