A distraught senior women feeling unwell
By NTC Staff - May 9, 2024

Patients who have long COVID-19 or chemotherapy-induced neuropathy (nerve damage) may experience troublesome symptoms because they have a lack of blood in their neurovascular system. The neurovascular system is comprised of the nerves that bring freshly oxygenated blood to the brain and spinal cord.

Dr. Mark Bussell, Director of the Neuropathic Therapy Center, developed the revolutionary Intraneural Facilitation® – or INF® – Treatment. If you’re experiencing nerve-related symptoms from long COVID or chemotherapy, we are here to help. Our team will develop a customized care plan that targets these complex problems and help you get back to living your life to the fullest.

Understanding long COVID-19

Long COVID is a significant side effect of COVID-19 infection that has extended far past the pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 19% of adult Americans who have had COVID in the past have also experienced long COVID symptoms. Long COVID symptoms can include:

  • Amnesia (trouble with memory)
  • Depression
  • Dysautonomia (problems with the nerves that control automatic functions of the body, such as blood pressure, heart rate and digestion)
  • Fatigue
  • Gut problems
  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble exercising
  • Small fiber neuropathy (nerve problem that causes burning in the feet)

Similarities between long COVID and chemotherapy effects

Depending on the type and dosage, chemotherapy can cause similar symptoms. Both long COVID and chemotherapy can cause symptoms that come on suddenly. Common chemotherapy effects include: 

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) distress
  • Insomnia
  • Memory problems
  • Nausea
  • Neuropathy
  • Trouble exercising

Why these neurovascular changes occur

In certain people who have had COVID or have undergone chemotherapy, long-term swelling and inflammation occurs in the neurovascular system. The neurovascular system is a two-layered system. When inflammation occurs, the inner chamber cuts off vascular communication with the outer chamber.

This swelling can continue long after the COVID infection clears or chemotherapy treatment ends; this causes the long-term symptoms. These symptoms may not respond to medication or exercise due to inflammation and the neurovascular resistance that has developed after chemotherapy or due to long COVID.

Variations in long COVID and chemotherapy

People respond very differently to long COVID and to chemotherapy. Some people will develop long-term effects, while others do not. In the most extreme cases, people require hospitalization and sometimes even die.

To some extent, whether or not a person will have after-effects from chemotherapy depends on the type of chemotherapy and the dosage they received. If you experience generalized inflammation before having COVID or undergoing chemotherapy, you may be at an increased risk for developing these neurovascular symptoms.

Treatment for long COVID-19 and chemotherapy-induced neuropathy

Treatment for long COVID or chemotherapy-induced neuropathy focuses on restoring the overall health of your neurovascular system. Depending on your symptoms, your health history and other factors, a specialist may recommend one or a combination of the following treatments:

  • Identify the initial autoimmune or metabolic factors that affected you before, during and after COVID-19. These factors affected your body’s cells and were partly responsible for maintaining the inflammation that led to your symptoms.
  • Provide strategies for improving circulation to optimize your neurovascular system. This includes working to improve blood flow in the inside chamber of the neurovascular system without creating neurovascular swelling.
  • Continue immune and metabolic behaviors that avoid creating neurovascular organ contraction for a lifetime. We recommend avoiding inflammatory foods such as wheat, dairy or foods high in sugar. You can participate in stress-reducing physical activity such as walking in the morning when it’s cooler outside, practicing yoga or meditating.
  • Maintain the initial exercises that promote neurovascular healing until all symptoms have resolved. Continue to follow an anti-inflammatory diet and practice physical fitness activities that promote relaxation and wellness.


Take the Next Step

If you’re suffering from nerve pain, our Neuropathic Therapy Center may be able to help using a breakthrough physical therapy treatment called Intraneural Facilitation or INF.™ For more information and to schedule an evaluation, call 909-558-6799 or request information online.

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