The COVID-19 pandemic will affect eight countries between 2020 and 2021 and impact patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. These include osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic lower back pain.
Multidisciplinary Methods of Pain Management
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly reduced hospital access for patients with musculoskeletal pain, causing multidisciplinary pain management methods to become even more essential. In addition to treating pain medications, multidisciplinary services should focus on biopsychosocial management and prioritizing patients requiring diagnostic procedures.
Developing multidisciplinary approaches to pain management has many advantages. The first step in the process is identifying the factors associated with pain and developing a comprehensive treatment plan that includes various therapies. In addition, an interdisciplinary approach may help patients avoid social isolation and fear avoidance behaviors and improve their overall recovery. Medical startups now focus on MSK and bodily remedy startups to cure MSK and chronic pain.
Injectable and Oral Corticosteroids
Until now, there have been no long-term studies examining the role of oral or injectable corticosteroids for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain in patients infected with the COVID-19 virus. Although some reports have indicated that corticosteroids may worsen symptoms, others have shown that corticosteroids can help alleviate the pain. While musculoskeletal societies have developed several guidelines, the literature is not yet sufficiently mature to determine whether oral corticosteroids are the best choice for COVID-19-infected patients.
Corticosteroids are commonly prescribed for musculoskeletal pain. The indications for injectable and oral corticosteroids are based on recommendations and established guidelines. If corticosteroids are inappropriate, patients with musculoskeletal pain should be offered alternate treatment options.
A recent study found that patients with musculoskeletal pain during the COVID-19 pandemic showed signs of myopathy. This disorder was associated with muscle inflammation. The severity of this condition varied between patients. Patients who had concurrent medical conditions were at greater risk for developing myopathy.
The condition can be a side effect of several medications, including statins, and can result in musculoskeletal pain. In addition, patients with this condition often have elevated serum creatine kinase levels, a sign of inflammatory myopathy. Inflammatory myopathy generally starts slowly but gets worse over time. Vaccines can cause muscle pain in patients. Although side effects should resolve within a few days, they can be more intense after the second dose.
Peripheral neuropathy is a severe side effect of COVID-19 infection, which causes damage to the nervous system. The underlying cause of this ailment is not clear, but it is believed to be caused by viral infiltration of the peripheral nervous system. The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include neuropathic pain, and the treatment may involve the management of the symptoms or medication.
Patients presenting with musculoskeletal pain may develop peripheral neuropathy in the presence of severe COVID-19 infection. Peripheral neuropathy can occur in various forms, including symmetric polyneuropathy, compressive neuropathy, and critical illness neuropathy. The severity of the disease can vary, and some patients may require prolonged hospitalization and ICU admission. In such cases, conservative management may be effective, but further research should be conducted to identify the cause of this neuropathy.
In a recent study, we analyzed the use of VC in patients with musculoskeletal pain in England. The study sample consisted of 260 patients who had not previously received VC. Participants included 206 physiotherapists, 78 medically qualified professionals, and six ‘other’ Allied Health Professionals. The results suggested that VC can reduce diagnostic accuracy and the quality of consultations.
However, the study revealed several barriers to using VC for patients with musculoskeletal pain. Despite the availability of VC, many clinicians felt discouraged from using the technology. They reported a range of issues, including safeguarding concerns and patient safety. Moreover, many participants were unsure whether their professional indemnity insurance would cover VC. The study also highlighted the need to conduct further research and evaluate the safety and effectiveness of VC.