Ketamine and Long Covid

Our goal at Ark integrative medicine is to restore you both mentally and physically to your pre-pandemic health and wellness.

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Long covid appears to affect nearly 30 million people in the U.S. alone and for many who suffer from it their lives are drastically changed from before. The science behind treatments for long covid is in its infancy but there are some promising treatments on the horizons and the ones I have discussed have been shown to help those suffering the long-term effects of covid infection.

Our goal at Ark integrative medicine is to restore you both mentally and physically to your pre-pandemic health and wellness. Currently, as of the spring of 2022, there are several theories as to the persistent of what has been termed “long covid.” Long covid conditions commonly reported:

General symptoms

  • Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental effort (also known as “post-exertional malaise”)
  • Fever

Neurological symptoms

  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
  • Headache
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness when you stand up (lightheadedness)
  • Pins-and-needles feelings
  • Change in smell or taste
  • Depression or anxiety

Respiratory and heart symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)

Digestive symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain

Other symptoms

  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Rash
  • Changes in menstrual cycles

The prevailing theories as to why covid persists include:

  1. Persistent or lingering virus: Multiple studies have shown that the “the virus is capable of persistence in a wide range of body site” especially nerve endings.
  2. A dysfunctional immune system: Those that suffer from Long Covid appear to have a persistent immune system that has gone haywire, leading to a pro-inflammatory state.
  3. Prior blood vessel and cellular damage: The damage persists and does not resolve in a proper way

How does Ketamine help with Long Covid?

  1. Ketamine has unique properties as an immune modulator: It appears that Ketamine promotes inflammatory homeostasis or in essence a resetting of a haywire immune system. This reset can help alleviate many of the symptoms of long covid that are due to a pro-inflammatory state within the body.
  2. Ketamine helps alleviate depression, anxiety and mood disorders: Recent studies have found nearly 22% of long covid individuals suffer from the above psychiatric manifestations.

Other adjunct treatments to Long Covid:

  1. Stellate Ganglion block: Cervical sympathetic chain blockage with an ultrasound guided local anesthetic block appears to allow a dysfunctional nervous system from long covid to “reboot” itself. Case reports of Stellate ganglion blockade successfully treating long covid are starting to appear in the medical literature.
  2. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Covid related fatigue can be very frustrating and debilitating and recent study has shown significant benefits to fatigue in long covid patients using hyperbaric therapy.