Covid-19 Fatigue: Diagnosis and Treatment for the Osteopathic Physician
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has given rise to a global pandemic, as well as a multitude of long-term sequelae that continue to perplex physicians around the world, including in the United States. Among the most common and impactful long-haul symptoms experienced by survivors is COVID-19 fatigue. This review will use long COVID-19, post-acute COVID-19 syndrome (PCS), and Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) as synonymous terms to refer to the chronic symptomatology; chronic fatigue associated with PASC will be referred to as COVID-19 fatigue. While the knowledge and research on the exact pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the disease is still limited, parallels have been drawn between fatigue as a component of long COVID-19 and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Current studies suggest applying principles of pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment similar to those for ME/CFS in order to aid in managing chronic fatigue in COVID-19 survivors, particularly in the primary care setting. The osteopathic family physician can use the proposed pharmacologic agents, along with osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), as therapeutic modalities that can be tailored to each patient’s unique case. Nevertheless, research on proven successful treatments is still scarce. For that reason, it is essential that COVID-19 fatigue is recognized early, especially since its longitudinal impacts may be debilitating for many. This review of the available literature on COVID-19 fatigue aims to help provide quality care and lessen the disease burden experienced by patients.