Doctors have reported an increase in patients’ back and muscle pain complaints since the onset of the Omicron wave, and data from various countries confirm this.
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a clear list of symptoms, from fever to difficulty breathing to loss of taste and smell. As the pandemic developed and COVID-19 variants multiplied, the list of symptoms grew.
- Injuries to soft tissues and joints
- Why pain occurs
- Back pain, the newest symptom of the Omicron variant
Injuries to soft tissues and joints
With COVID-19, the pain complaints of many patients focus on the soft tissues around the joints. Those who have previously had back pain or joint problems may notice an occurrence of these problems after receiving Omicron.
The good news is that for the most part, back and muscle aches decrease and go away on their own when you recover, and the infection disappears from your body, which lasts about two weeks.
Because Omicron is still considered a new strain, there is not enough data to know if back pain will become one of its persistent symptoms. However, if you suffer from persistent back pain that does not improve over time, consult a doctor, whether or not you have had COVID-19.
Why pain occurs
A February report by the World Health Organization (WHO) looked at nearly 56,000 cases of COVID-19 in China and found that almost 15% of patients had muscle pain.
When you get sick, your body triggers an immune response against aggressors, such as harmful bacteria or viruses. Back and leg joint pain is due to the body’s inflammatory response to the virus.
These viral infections cause tremors, chills, body aches and difficulty moving.
This form of back pain feels like cramps or spasms in the back muscles.
Specifically, muscle aches and pains are a result of interleukin-releasing immune cells, which are proteins that help fight invasive pathogens.
Therefore, back pain may be in addition to the usual symptoms of COVID infection, such as fever, dry cough, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, headache or pain in other areas.
Back pain, the newest symptom of the Omicron variant
There are now reports of back pain, a new symptom of the Omicron variant. According to the Jerusalem Post, South Africa, which first reported Omicron, has seen an increase in reports of muscle aches, and especially back pain, among people infected with the virus. Indian and Norwegian data support this claim.
The cause of back pain is probably an increase in the level of inflammation in the body, as the immune system fights the invading virus, which stimulates the muscles and joints. Although it is still too early to know, some doctors suspect that Omicron has a unique effect on the bone and muscle system that is manifested by muscle pain.
While facing a viral infection, the body releases a lot of small proteins called cytokines that activate the immune system against pathogens. Cytokines can stimulate muscles and joints.
However, this virus is not the only one that causes this reaction. Back and muscle pain is a familiar symptom of all sorts of other viral and bacterial infections. This immune response, which is the body’s natural response to a viral infection, can lead to various complaints from patients related to the musculoskeletal system.