Treating Long COVID with Chiropractic Care & Craniosacral Therapy in New York City

It’s common for those here in New York City who persevered through Covid-19 to now have chronic fatigue, difficulty walking up stairs, and other ailments. “Long Haulers” or those with lingering Covid-19 symptoms should know that relieving symptoms can be achieved through a treatment combining chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy.

What is Long Covid?

“Long COVID” is an unofficial term describing post-viral symptoms that surface and persist long after recovery from COVID-19 infection.  However Long COVID as a health condition is not completely understood, largely due to the fact that it has only existed a few years.  Nonetheless medical professionals are mostly in agreement that Long COVID is a collection of syndromes which can surface in several ways, even after full recovery of the virus and linger on indefinitely.  Through a combination of chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy an effective treatment protocol can be structured aligned to the specific symptoms that remain, despite recovery from COVID-19 itself. 

Some of the most common symptoms of Long COVID are severe fatigue after exertion, a reduction in muscle strength, unexplained breathlessness, joint and chest pains, difficulty concentrating (brain fog), elevated heart rate, tinnitus, and sleeping difficulties.  While the lingering symptoms of Long COVID are similar to those of acute COVID-19, they can last for years and have for many New Yorkers.  In addition to lingering physical symptoms, some people also experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – all stemming from Long COVID.  Chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy can be effective in identifying and treating any underlying medical conditions contributing to your ailments, so while there is currently no cure for Long COVID,  there is alleviation of the symptoms.

What Causes Long COVID?

It is conjectured by research scientists that several of these symptoms are due to extensive Mitochondria Hijacking taking place inside the cells of the body. Mitochondria are essentially power plants producing 90% of the energy our bodies need to function and Long COVID ‘hijacks’ the Mitochondria from the cells to “power’ it’s own activities, leaving a person feeling drained and fatigued. 

What’s broadly understood is research indicates that there is a link between Long COVID and the brainstem, which is the bottom part of your brain connecting to your spinal cord and sending signals from your brain to the rest of your body.  Neuroscientists conducted a study  proposing COVID-19 invasion of the brainstem may be responsible for the persistent neurological symptoms observed in Long-COVID patients.  Specifically, neurodegeneration (the slow but progressive loss of brain cells) in multiple areas of the brainstem to varying degrees follows a COVID-19 infection. This phenomenon, known as COVID-19 tropism, leads to the virus gathering, replicating and further infecting the body through ‘hijacking’ the Mitochondria and leaving a person feeling fatigued. 

It is believed once widespread, the infection triggers an inflammatory response, resulting in the production of inflammatory chemical (mediator) agents that damage the brainstem and vascular system.  The vascular system is also called the circulatory system and consists of  vessels that carry blood (and lymph) throughout the body.  The inflammatory response results in the coagulation or clotting of the blood in the circulatory system which can further exacerbate neuroinflammation (brain cell inflammation) creating a vicious cycle of debilitating health –  reflected in the lingering symptoms indefinitely.  

It’s worth noting many of the Long COVID symptoms are consistent with a breakdown in the regulation of aspects of the central nervous system that support rest and recovery from illness, the autonomic nervous system.   Hence it’s the excessive inflammation coupled with an autonomic nervous system gone ‘haywire’ that is thought to produce the chronic fatigue.

The Key to Treating Long COVID symptoms

The key to treating Long-COVID symptoms requires a basic understanding of the brainstem and autonomic nervous system.  Many of us are familiar with COVID-related loss of smell and taste as it affects millions of people, reduces your nutrition, overall quality of life and can also lead to depression.  A study estimated that 60% of those infected with COVID didn’t fully recover and were left with a decreased sense of smell, a function controlled through the autonomic nervous system (which regulates involuntary processes).  

Know that the brainstem houses the cells responsible for cranial nerves, which ‘oversee’ smell and taste. In fact of the 12 cranial nerves, your autonomic nervous system has nerve fibers in 4 of them and research has proven autonomic or  involuntary physiological functions like sleep, breathing, digestion, heart function, and sexual arousal, much like smell and taste, are unconsciously regulated by the cranial nerves in  brainstem.

The brainstem is blended with the spinal cord via ligaments attaching them both to  vertebrae and allowing movement with the vertebrae.  Any disruption or misalignment of these vertebrae can impact both the brainstem and spinal cord function.  This includes mechanical stress due to ligament torsion (twisting) and or vascular stress disrupting blood supply due to narrowed vessel passages in the vertebral regions.

Per the previously mentioned and linked studies, COVID-19 tropism or virus gathering, replicating and further infecting the body is most observed in the brainstem region where it is blended with the spinal cord and susceptible to mechanical and vascular stress.   It’s important to know brainstem dysfunction is also implicated in other chronic disorders, including migraines and chronic fatigue syndrome.  A dysfunctional brainstem and nervous system plays a significant role in Long COVID’s debilitating conditions.

Chiropractic care can identify and resolve misalignments in the upper cervical spine that may be contributing to dysfunction in the brainstem. By realigning the vertebrae and relieving stress on the joints and surrounding structures, I aim to restore proper nerve function and optimize the body’s overall well-being.  Craniosacral therapy can relax connective tissue structure tension and torsion throughout the body,  improve blood flow, overall cardiovascular system functioning all while eliminating  somatic issues such as muscle pain and migraines.

Treating Long COVID with Chiropractic Care & Craniosacral Therapy

Resolving Long COVID is not achieved through any singular treatment but through a series of non-invasive techniques that optimize the health and functioning of the brainstem and autonomic nervous system.  Below is a partial listing and description of treatments and techniques in the Long COVID portfolio of care.   The components of any one Long COVIC regimen are custom tailored and tightly aligned to symptoms being experienced thus require an in-depth personalized conversation to precisely “fit” to a specific individual.  Call me if you have questions about how craniosacral therapy and or chiropractic care can relieve your specific Long COVID systems.   It’s important to be mindful that everyone’s circumstances are unique and I would have to know details about what you’re coping with to be more insightful of which Long COVID treatments are ideally suited for you.    

Treating Long COVID Fibromyalgia (Widespread Musculoskeletal Pain) with Craniosacral Therapy: With fibromyalgia the central nervous system’s ascending and descending pain pathways operate abnormally, resulting in central amplification of pain signals, similar to the “volume control setting” being turned up too high.  In fact the world-renowned Mayo Clinic has published findings that pain in patients with fibromyalgia is the result from neurochemical imbalances in the central nervous system that lead to a “central amplification” of pain perception.   Simply put, fibromyalgia sufferers have elevated levels of neurotransmitters in their cerebrospinal fluid that increase central nervous system pain processing; and diminished levels of neurotransmitters in their cerebrospinal fluid known to reduce pain transmission.  One of the core benefits in receiving craniosacral therapy to treat fibromyalgia is how it directly improves the integrity and circulation of cerebrospinal fluid, the watery fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord with 3 critical functions: 

  1. Protect spinal cord and brain from trauma; 
  2. Deliver nutrients to nervous system tissue; and 
  3. Transport waste products from cerebral metabolism.   

Cerebrospinal fluid that lubricates the brain and spinal cord is central in maintaining the healthy functioning of all of the major organ systems of the body, and is the hydraulic, energetic function of the body.  Craniosacral therapy eliminates disturbances to cerebrospinal fluid circulation and how the central nervous system processes pain and other sensory information.  Click here for more information.

Vagus Nerve Treatment for Long COVID: Craniosacral therapy directly treats the cranial nerves (the vagus nerve being cranial nerve #10) and can shift the nervous system out and away of the fight or flight stress response dominant state.  Over a few therapeutic sessions this can help in ‘rewiring’ the nervous system by increasing vagal tone, relaxation response and balance or homeostasis. The vagus nerve functions as the relaxation response control center of the body to counteract excessive stress response and any dysregulation of the central nervous system producing mental and physical ailments including brain fog, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, stomach problems, increased bodily inflammation and more.   For example, the gut microbiome (the ecosystem of microbes that live in your intestines) also has a well-recognized role in inflammation.   Some microbes are known to engage with the autonomic nervous system affecting its function.  Manipulating the wellness of the gut microbiome via the vagus nerve is an essential focus in a craniosacral therapy session treating Long COVID.  That’s because research on the gut microbiome indicates that microbiome imbalances could have a significant role in COVID-19 symptom severity and the lingering Long COVID symptoms.  For example, the gut microbiomes of people infected with COVID-19 are depleted in several bacteria, particularly those linked to reducing inflammation.    Click here to learn more.

Lymphatic Drainage Therapy for Long COVID: When the lymphatic system is not functioning well and draining lymph properly, fluid will build up in the body’s tissues and inflammation can emerge within your body without your immediate awareness. You only become aware when the inflammation produces visible swelling and or pain, and or dysfunction.   It’s the accumulation of toxins and metabolic waste that have not exited your body that produces these health ailments.  Additionally, poor diet and overexposure to toxins, dehydration, lack of sleep, stress, infections, emotional trauma,  and sedentary lifestyle can stagnate the lymph flow.   A compromised lymphatic system means a compromised immune system.  A lymphatic drainage session will ‘kickstart’ and enhance the regulation of the autonomic nervous system and improve the immune system to support mental and physical wellness at the same time.  The benefits of lymphatic drainage therapy center around the many outcomes that come with granular detoxification of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), which essentially controls all body organs and systems.  Lymphatic drainage therapy allows the body to heal itself, which can range from reducing swelling to resolving headaches, enhancing skin and improving digestive health. If you’ve never tried it before, here is a partial description of what lymphatic drainage therapy can offer.  Our lymphatic system’s central function is to remove foreign invading microbes from our system.  Coupled with hydrating our body tissue lymphatic drainage draws out inflammation and restocks cells to function optimally.  Click here to learn more.

Immune System Boost for Long COVID: The central nervous system (brain & spinal cord) is responsible for our immune systems’ functioning and chiropractic care has proven effective in strengthening the immune system in both children and adults.   Your immune system is thrown off from any type of dysfunction within your body and a subluxation in your spine (a spinal vertebra out of position compared to the other vertebrae) produces an adverse ripple effect on your immune system’s ability to fight off harmful substances.  Unfortunately, subluxations are rarely considered when it comes to a weakened immune system, and that’s because most healthcare providers are unfamiliar with how to detect or treat subluxations.  Chiropractic adjustments have not only resolved subluxations but have also been shown to improve both blood and cerebral fluid flow to the brain.   Here’s 3 ways a chiropractic adjustment will boost your immune system: Click here to learn more.

Insomnia Treatment with Craniosacral Therapy for Long COVID: Since insomnia emerges from an imbalanced central nervous system operating in stress response mode and triggering brain activity during sleep, people have been turning to craniosacral therapy for relief.  Craniosacral therapy effectively treats insomnia at its foundation, calming the central nervous system away from being imbalanced and in high alert, and shifting it to align with the body’s need to maintain a certain state of equilibrium or what’s called homeostasis.   Craniosacral therapy helps achieve sleep-wake homeostasis based on the concept that the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and central nervous system fluctuates in pressure causing a subtle rhythmic motion of the cranial bones. This rhythm is known as the cranial rhythm and is palpated by hand to assess the movement, any variances or restrictions in flow of the cerebrospinal fluid throughout the body. Properly targeted therapeutic mobilizations can relieve flow restrictions and tensions in the central nervous system, shift the body away from the fight-or-flight or stress response and elicit a physiological relaxation response.     Click here to learn more.

Treating Migraines with Craniosacral Therapy for Long COVID: migraines arise from a vascular, hormonal, or neurological disturbance within the brain itself overreacting to stimuli causing a wave of brain activity leading to migraines.  In sum, migraine headaches are nervous system disorder thus the key to gaining relief is to treat the underlying triggering mechanisms of the central nervous system holistically, something accomplished through craniosacral therapy.  Click here to learn more.

Nerve Pain Treatment for Long COVID: can be experienced as ‘pins and needles’, or a burning or tingling sensation, caused by injury to a single sensory nerve, such as what’s experienced with carpal tunnel syndrome, or your vagus nerve (an irritated or pinched vagus nerve can produce neck pain, increase headaches, cause digestive and abdominal issues and more), or a group of  pinched or irritated motor nerves (muscle weakness, cramps, uncontrollable muscle twitching).  Click here to learn how I treat carpal tunnel syndrome, and here to learn how I treat vagus nerve associated pain, and here to learn about motor nerve treatment

Muscle Pain Treatment for Long COVID: can be experienced as a random sharp pain or a steady ache, all over a region of the body or in a precise area. Muscle cramps can stem from injuries such as herniated disks (back pain), or slight curvature of the spine issues like spinal stenosis and scoliosis. Myofascial trigger point therapy quickly eliminates muscle pains, increases range of motion, improves blood circulation, and retrains muscles to operate efficiently to reduce chances of pain and strain returning. Click here to learn how I treat muscle pain with myofascial trigger point therapy.  Through the course of a night fibromyalgia can cause stiff muscle pain as well.   Click here to learn how I treat fibromyalgia

Joint Pain Treatment for Long COVID: arthritis and other chronic conditions can lead to joint pain.   Remember, while moving around in the daytime fluids are lubricating your joints.  But this natural  lubrication of the joints declines at night and may even swell up. If you’re coping with joint pain and or inflammatory arthritis, chiropractic care coupled with craniosacral therapy is a non-pharmacological treatment to reduce your pain,  retool and revitalize body systems,  and is essential to healing and eliminating the underlying causes of joint pain.   My chiropractic / craniosacral treatment to resolve joint pain focuses on improving the functioning of your:

  • Circulatory System
  • Immune System
  • Musculoskeletal System

 Click here to learn how I treat joint pain. 

 

Wim Hof Method Treatment for Long COVID: Empowers the body to harness a higher level of control over the central nervous system’s “fight-or-flight” stress response.  Learning the foundation of the Wim Hof Method (breathing, cold therapy, and a commitment) will enable you to control pain, stress responses and become a master of your own body and mind.  In simple biological terms, the Wim Hof Method is a teachable systematic approach to nervous system regulation and stress resilience. The combination of cold therapy, controlled breathing, and commitment  enables you to connect more deeply to your body.  The breathing component is referred to as the Wim Hof Breathing Method and involves powerfully inhaling, relaxed exhaling, and extended breath holds.  The objective is to train you on developing command of your nervous and immune systems, as well as your cardiovascular system, all to help you be stronger, happier, and healthier.  Click here to learn more

Trauma History, Long COVID and Craniosacral Therapy: The physiology of Chronic Fatigue conditions is thought to be very similar to PTSD, and certain shared symptoms suggest the same may be true with Long COVID.  Research has shown people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome commonly have childhood trauma histories.  It may be that traumatic experiences predispose people to post-viral fatigue, and for many, unresolved trauma is a maintaining factor in the chronic fatigue they endure today.   Also the traumatic experience of Covid-19 itself, depending on the circumstances, could be an important focus of the treatment protocol.  For this reason Somato Emotional Release can be helpful in treating Long COVID.  

 

Somato Emotional Release for Long COVID:  is a therapeutic response that enables the processing and releasing of physical and emotional pain that has been lodged in the body at some point in the past. This treatment does not require re-visiting the traumatic event, but is rather an exploration of current emotions in context to the body today and any restrictions in tissues that are emotional in nature.  Somato Emotional Release treats the body and emotions in the brain, simultaneously with the intent of opening pathways for the central nervous system to fully process and expel the lingering negative energy of trauma – away from the body. Somato Emotional Release works by leveraging the innate nature and ability of the body to heal itself through craniosacral bodywork and assessment of the body’s craniosacral rhythm and fascia.   Click here to learn more.

About Dr. Kaminsky & Craniosacral Therapy

Dr. Kaminsky is a 1999 graduate of the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic. He is licensed to practice in NY and has completed close to three thousand hours of professional continuing education since becoming licensed in March of 2000.

The primary approach used in his office is Craniosacral Therapy (CST) which is a method focusing on the cranium (head) and sacrum (a large bone at the base of the spine) scientifically proven to control life sustaining fluid flow throughout the body.

Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on manual therapy approach that brings about healing via the fluidity of the body. The existence of the Craniosacral System was first discovered by Osteopath Dr. William Sutherland in the early 1900’s, calling it Cranial Osteopathy.  And later rediscovered, validated, and developed by Dr. John Upledger in the late 70’s early 80’s, who renamed it Craniosacral Therapy after doing five years of research at the Michigan State University, School of Medicine. In 1983 Dr. John, as he was fondly called, established a teaching institute in Palm Beach, Florida, to teach this cranial sacral method to all healthcare providers. The Upledger Institute is still very active today.

The craniosacral mechanism pumps fluid which is produced in the brain, called cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF), through the fascial network of the body, the purpose of which is to lubricate joints, muscles, organs, all cells and all tissues. It is the driving life force for your body’s systems to function properly, CSF also carries healing properties to bodily traumas, injuries and past surgeries.

The proper function of your cranial sacral mechanism, via CSF flow, maintains the normal tone of your muscles, provide nutrients to your organs, and keeps you out of pain. It sustains human life and allows your nervous system to stay responsive to challenges of daily living and your mind-body life experiences. The better your craniosacral mechanism functions, the better the flow of this life sustaining fluid, the better your body can handle physical and emotional stress. The uninhibited flow of this fluid throughout your body allows you to thrive, opposite of survival mode.

CSF is part of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) brain and spinal cord), which is physically encapsulated within the dural membranes of the spine and head.

One of the functions inside of your brain is to automatically generate energetic rhythmic impulses that function to pump CSF throughout your body, regulating your peripheral nerves, nervous system and organ systems, which in turn, sustain your function (physiology) and life. It is an important force that maintains everything functioning in your body. This is what we call the Craniosacral System, or Craniosacral Mechanism. It is the hydraulic, energetic and rejuvenating system of your body.

This measurable life force of moving fluid is palpable to a trained craniosacral therapist, like the heart rhythm, pulse rhythm, breathing rate, that can all be felt, so too can the Cranial Sacral Rhythm (CSR) be palpated and measured. It is the foundational diagnostic tool in real-time used to evaluate your current state of well-being (or lack thereof), and potential for health improvement and healing.

Compromises of your rhythmic impulse, correlates to CSF flow restrictions in the system which the body is unable to self-correct or overcome on its own. This is the reason why over time we develop pain, dis-ease, symptoms, conditions, mind-body disconnect and basically all human physical and psychological ailments.

When the fluid isn’t flowing optimally, your bodily rejuvenation is affected, and this is where the skill of an experienced craniosacral therapist becomes valuable. By placing his or her hands on your body, most commonly on your head and sacrum, for diagnostic purposes, the practitioner can detect, feel, evaluate, and rate the SSQAR (strength, symmetry, quality, amplitude, rate) of the rhythm; then bring forth correction of any limitations with subsequent experienced hand placements on different parts the body during a session.

A craniosacral therapist helps your rhythm reset, restore and renew allowing for healing to take place of the mind-body connection, musculoskeletal tightness and spasms, neurological deficits, autoimmune issues, organ function, many common conditions, and of course pain. Through a practitioners properly focused and attuned touch, your body is facilitated to release channels of fluid stagnation and flow restriction, which ultimately breakthrough, overcome and improve CSR and the function of vital fluid flow.

Dr. Alex Kaminsky is an advanced practitioner of Craniosacral therapy, having studied up to advanced levels including SER and pediatric courses. He has built a solid foundation with many years of experience, treating babies, children and adults.

To learn more, visit the other pages on this website. Call to schedule your appointment with Dr. Kaminsky.