Why Long COVID Headaches Occur & How to Reclaim Your Life
When pain, visual disturbances, and nausea envelop you, it’s easy to feel shut out from the world. People, activities and events—areas that essentially make up your well-being—suddenly grow challenging to nurture and participate in.
What makes persistent headaches and migraines complex is the invisible pain that can elicit feelings of isolation, and create an emotional toll. The pain can also cause frustration, especially if the ongoing discomfort is a long COVID headache that never really goes away.
While the CDC may have marked May 2023 as the end of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, this doesn’t mean the repercussions of COVID have disappeared. The reality is that many today still suffer from long COVID symptoms that can include post-COVID headaches and migraines.
If you or someone you know struggles with post-COVID headaches or migraines, we’re here to offer refuge. The medical team at Aviv Clinics is dedicated to the research and science behind post-COVID symptoms including long COVID headaches including the evidence-based therapy methods involving hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
No one deserves to live a life in pain. The time to gain your life back begins here.
Understanding Long COVID Headaches / Migraines
Regarding the long-term impacts of COVID-19, there’s much that researchers, scientists, ad medical professionals still don’t know. But the latest research gives us direction to dive deeper into demystifying long COVID headaches and migraines.
Here’s what we know so far:
- Research notes that chronic headaches are the most common “lingering neurologic symptoms [among the long-term effects of COVID].” Long COVID headaches can continue for six months or more after the initial COVID-19 test date.
- Up to 30% of COVID patients experience new or lingering symptoms upon initial infection. In one study, 37% of patients had persistent headaches six weeks after initial symptoms.
- The main headache types individuals experience from long COVID include:
- Tension headache: Pain or pressure across the forehead and on the sides and back of the head. Imagine this as a band squeezing tightly around your head.
- Migraine: Severe throbbing or pulsing pain, usually on one side of the head. Other symptoms, such as nausea and sensitivity to light and sound, may accompany this pain.
Both headache types can be debilitating for those who experience them, often making it challenging to fulfill daily activities and maintain relationships, often leaving them with feelings of hopelessness.
During these challenging times, it helps to understand what’s happening inside your body to understand the why behind all of this. Doing so will help you feel more in control of the situation and seek assistance.
The Link Between COVID-19 and Headaches / Migraines: Potential Causes
Let’s take a moment to make a connection between COVID-19 and headaches/migraines.
When you were sick with the initial onset of COVID-19, it affected you in various ways. The way the virus impacts the mind and body encompasses four key areas. These areas comprise physiological and neurological components, likely causing the pain and discomfort.
When you’re sick, your immune system releases antibodies to combat the virus. Long COVID patients often experience an immune disruption that remains “persistently high at eight months after the infection.”
This hyperactive immune response can skyrocket inflammation levels. Your body must work extra hard to help your immune system and body recover from the virus. However, high levels of inflammation can be harmful. Why? Cytokines. Chronic inflammation can trigger chemical messengers called cytokines to form. These small proteins ensure other immune and blood cells work as they should.
Studies report the following:
- Those with high cytokine levels were more likely to have headaches than their counterparts.
- Cytokine levels were higher in those with migraines compared to those who didn’t have migraines. These results illustrate that the level of “inflammation plays a major role in migraine pathogenesis.”
2. Neurological Impact
When the virus travels through the nose into the olfactory sensory neurons, this can impact taste and smell and may also affect a variety of “sensory and emotional aspects.” This connection may be why people are sensitive to light and other visual stimuli during migraines.
Additional research notes:
- The hyperinflammation the COVID-19 virus triggers can make it difficult for neurotransmitters to transfer chemical signals from one nerve cell to the next. This chemical imbalance can cause serotonin levels to decrease, which can “initiate [a] migraine.”
- Headaches have also been linked to low levels of dopamine—the chemical responsible for feelings of pleasure, motivation, and learning. One study found that 32.6% of participants had “dopaminergic symptoms” (e.g., fatigue, mood changes, and nausea).”
“The dysregulated metabolism of multiple neurotransmitters could be the hallmark of PCC-[post-COVID-19 condition] associated chronic headaches.”
3. Blood Vessel Injury
COVID-19 can trigger “microvascular injury in the brain.” This means the virus injures blood vessels carrying blood to the brain. When the vessels weaken and blood flow is blocked, this can “cause a headache.”
Medical experts refer to migraines as vascular headaches, which happen due to blood vessel changes in the head or neck. So, if blood vessels are compromised, it may contribute to chronic headaches.
4. Change in Breathing Patterns
You may have experienced trouble breathing during the onset of COVID-19. For some, breathing issues could develop into persistent altered breathing patterns.
Here’s what happens:
- Lung inflammation can block oxygen exchange, causing lower brain and body oxygenation.
- Lower oxygen levels in the brain can lead to headaches and other symptoms.
Breakthrough Therapy Offers Hope
You may have already tried countless home remedies or medications to help cope with your long COVID headache. Many of our clients found relief in the short term, only to find themselves back to square one.
Fortunately, a potential long-term solution exists. Recent findings illustrate that virus-induced physical damage can be repaired. The body can rejuvenate naturally, and research tells us a unique hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) protocol can help unlock that self-healing process.
Here are a few research studies worth highlighting about a unique HBOT protocol. These studies point out that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help repair long COVID damage.
- HBOT improves neurocognitive functions and symptoms of post-COVID conditions. “Results indicate that HBOT can induce neuroplasticity and improve cognitive, psychiatric, fatigue, sleep and pain symptoms of patients suffering from post-COVID-19 condition.”
- Study participants who underwent several HBOT sessions experienced “better cognitive function, less fatigue, less pain, and fewer complaints of mood disorders… MRI studies showed superior brain perfusion and some microstructural differences that indicated improved neuroplasticity—differences that correlated with clinical improvement.”
- HBOT can help restore the “organization of neural pathways attributed to cognitive and emotional recovery in post-COVID-19 patients.”
We understand diving into the research studies can get daunting. So we encourage you to view this free video presentation where “Dr Mo” Elamir explains why your symptoms are lingering, suggests effective treatment options, and shared inspiring long COVID recovery stories from his patients.
The Aviv Medical Program: Paving the Way for Long/Post-COVID Headache Treatment
The Aviv Medical Program was founded based on the research outlined above. Our medical team has dug deep into the potential root causes of long COVID syndrome to help clients live a more normal and comfortable life. This customized, holistic program can include a number of therapies, including cognitive training, nutritional coaching, and physiotherapy, and a unique hyperbaric oxygen therapy protocol.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT): The Process and Unique Protocol
So, what is HBOT? Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing 100% pure oxygen in a pressurized suite. This treatment elevates oxygen levels in the body Aviv Clinics’ unique HBOT protocol advances HBOT’s impact by fluctuating oxygen levels. These variations help unlock the body’s natural rejuvenation capabilities, most notably:
- Elevating oxygen levels in the blood
- Providing energy the brain needs to trigger the healing process
- Encouraging the production of the body’s self-healing mechanisms
- Regenerating damaged tissue to heal faster
Integrated Approach to Reclaim Quality of Life
The Aviv Medical Program’s integrated approach includes a team of clinical experts who work collaboratively to design your care plan and monitor your progress. These include:
- Nutrition experts
This diverse team allows us to serve you with the utmost support, care, and expertise.
State-of-the-Art Technology that Helps Elevate Treatment
Since every person’s long COVID symptoms are unique and research into the field is ongoing, we’ve customized the Aviv Medical Program to meet each client’s specific individual needs. We leverage state-of-the-art brain imaging, neurological testing, body composition analysis, and more to gain a comprehensive understanding of what you need.
These advanced insights allow us to execute high-quality and holistic care strategies invested in your long-term health—the key to a fulfilling life with your loved ones.
Success Stories from Long COVID Survivors
While we can toss offer more facts and statistics, we prefer to let our client success stories do the rest of the talking. These individuals manifest the hope the program at Aviv Clinics offers—they’re our guiding light.
When these people first stepped into our clinic, long COVID stripped away their basic abilities, leaving them defeated. Their situations changed when they leveraged the resources at the Aviv Medical Program.
From helping their kids with schoolwork to fulfilling work priorities confidently, these clients reclaimed their lives and look forward to doing so much more.
Fleury Simons – Results from Long COVID Treatment
“It’s so basic, but for people who have chronic illnesses, it isn’t. It isn’t basic anymore because you’re laying in bed or laying on a couch all day.”
Fleury Simons discovered Aviv Clinics upon experiencing lingering COVID-19 symptoms. Simple tasks like cooking and cleaning felt far out of reach. The treatments she tried preiously had managed her issues but didn’t tackle the root cause of her problems.
The Aviv Medical Program filled this gap for her. Through customized treatment sessions, advanced imaging, and a supportive environment, she could see and experience real improvements and start to feel like herself again.
“You get the feeling that you can live a little bit more again…just don’t give up and have hope. It will get better.”
Lynette Milakovich – Relieving the Troubling Symptoms of Long COVID
“The hardest part was the loss of connection…because I was such a loving and high-functioning person, and I lost that.”
Lynette struggled with post-COVID symptoms for over a year. As an active and high-functioning professional, the most challenging part was losing the interpersonal connection with her loved ones. She describes coming to Aviv Clinics as her “first sign of hope.” Lynette and her husband are so grateful to have discovered a more long-term solution.
“If I had not gone through the program and had come here, I would be in the same boat. I would be so isolated.”
Danielle Gillan – Reclain Life Back After Long COVID Battle
“Being a mom, I felt like my life was cut short. That was the hardest part.”
There was much weighing on Danielle’s shoulders as a mother battling long COVID. She had a hard time being fully present for her children for nearly two years, and this was heartbreaking for her.
When she found Aviv Clinics, she appreciated how the team tailored her care program to her needs. Not only could she view what was happening inside her brain, but she received what she needed to be an active parent for her children again.
“[The Aviv Medical Program] is catering my care to my needs and to where I want to go and what I want to do…I was on 13 meds before. I’m on nothing now.”
Harness the Power of Research and Science with Aviv Clinics
We encourage you to take full ownership of your health by seeking help for your lingering headaches after COVID-19.
Our medical support team is available to answer your questions and provide more insights on what we can do for you. Take the next step with us. In the meantime, expand your knowledge on long COVID with these resources:
- Brain Fog After COVID-10: Why It Happens and What You Can Do
- Cognitive Impairment and COVID-19: What We Know So Far
- Understanding Long COVID Vertigo with Innovative Treatment Solutions