J Med Case Rep. 2022 Jan 17;16(1):31. doi: 10.1186/s13256-021-03239-w.
INTRODUCTION: Myofascial pain is a complex health condition that affects the majority of the general population. Myalgia has been recognized as a symptom of long COVID syndrome. The treatment for long COVID syndrome-related myalgia lacks research. Dry needling is a technique that involves the insertion of a needle into the tissue of, or overlaying, a pain point. Wet needling is the addition of an injection of an analgesic substance such as lidocaine while performing needling. Both dry and wet needling have are practiced as treatment modalities for myofascial pain. Limited literature exists to define long COVID syndrome-related myalgia and its relation to myofascial pain, or to examine the utility of needling techniques for this pain. We report a case of dry and wet needling as effective treatments for long COVID-related myofascial pain.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 59-year-old, previously healthy Hispanic male with no comorbid conditions was diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia. The patient suffered moderate disease without hypoxia and was never hospitalized. Three months later, the patient continued to suffer from symptoms such as exertional dyspnea, “brain fog,” and myalgia. An extensive multisystem workup revealed normal cardiac, pulmonary, and end organ functions. The patient was then diagnosed with long COVID syndrome. The nature and chronicity of the patient’s myalgia meet the criteria for myofascial pain. Both wet and dry needling were used to treat the patient’s myofascial pain, with good short- and long-term therapeutic effects.
CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 infection has been shown to exacerbate preexisting myofascial pain syndrome. Our case report indicates that long COVID syndrome-related myalgia is likely a form of new-onset myofascial pain. Additionally, both wet and dry needling can be utilized as an effective treatment modality for this pain syndrome, with short- and long-term benefits.