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Ellen DeGeneres: Star’s ‘excruciating’ Covid side effect- ‘Didn’t know that was a symptom’

Ellen Degeneres scares Kim Kardashian with a 'spider'

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Amid controversy that her show was a toxic place to work, DeGeneres decided it was time to step away from the limelight, instead aiming to spend more time fulfilling her passion for animal conservation having recently completed building The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda. However it was not long ago that the star was suffering from Covid, providing an update via social media where she also described her surprise at experiencing back pain as a symptom.

After confirming that she had contracted the virus back in December 2020, the host confirmed that she was following “proper guidelines” that were in place at the time.

Around a week later DeGeneres posted a health update where she said she was feeling “100 percent” before going on to explain something that medical professionals “don’t tell you” about the virus.

She said: “I feel really good. One thing they don’t tell you is you get, somehow, excruciating back pain. Didn’t know that was a symptom but I talked to some other people. Back pain.

“Who knew? How come?” DeGeneres mused. “Back pain. Bad.”

Having contracted Covid in the year that it first began, not much research into symptoms had been done in comparison to more recent times.

At the start of the pandemic the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) did not list back pain specifically as a Covid symptom. Interestingly however, “muscle or body aches” was one.

Other initial telltale signs of Covid included fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhoea.

However, the NHS explains why many people suffer from back pain and other joint and muscle problems.

“Many people will have had some aches and pains before getting ill with Covid,” the NHS website states. “Being unwell may have made these problems come back or get worse. This is because joints and muscles are better when we regularly move.

“When unwell with COVID people are less active than usual. This can cause aches and pains, stiffness and muscle weakness.”

When muscles are weak, it can lead to difficulties with activities such as standing, climbing stairs, gripping objects with your hands or lifting your arms above your head. Both back pain and shoulder pain were commonly reported symptoms as Covid continued to spread across the globe.

Back pain has also been associated with long Covid, which has reached a record high of two million cases in the UK, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

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Another contributing factor for developing back pain during this time was the increase of working from home. In fact, even when people didn’t have to work at home, restrictions on socialising and going outside meant people were less mobile on the whole and spent more time sitting down.

A study from Malta of 388 people found that 30 percent of people had experienced chronic back pain pre-Covid compared with 49 percent experiencing back pain since Covid emerged, with the majority of the latter claiming that they never experienced back pain before the pandemic.

It is important to note that having back pain alone doesn’t mean you necessarily have Covid. Backache can be caused by many factors, and even if you develop it in conjunction with nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing or fever, muscle ache it can be indicative of other illnesses like flu, which we may see an increase of during the winter months in the UK.

Similarly, people with pneumonia can also suffer from backache due to inflammation and infection throughout the torso. Other symptoms that can stem of back pain include:

  • Shooting, burning or stabbing sensation
  • Pain radiating down your leg
  • Pins and needles
  • Inability to get comfortable
  • Constant dull ache.

After experiencing initial symptoms within the first three days of testing positive, DeGeneres admitted that she slept for “16 hours a day” but on the fourth day she woke up with “back spasms”.

She said: “I thought I had pulled a muscle or slept weird because I was in a different bed, but it just persisted. The painkillers did not help, my back got worse. It felt like I cracked a rib. You know how I make you laugh so hard that your ribs hurt? That’s how it was like for me. Now I know how you feel when I make you laugh.”

The NHS advises that for those suffering from joint and muscle pain, gentle exercising and stretching is the best way to help. Specifically flexibility exercises are activities that improve the amount of movement in a joint or muscle. Examples of flexibility activities include;

  • Stretching, by moving your joints as far as you can several times a day
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi.

Trying to change your posture can also help muscle pain to cease. The NHS advises that individuals limit the amount of time they stay in one position, such as sitting or looking at tablets and mobile phones. If you find your symptoms are worse in a certain position, find a more comfortable position or move around for a while. This along with painkillers and cream available at pharmacies or supermarkets will also help.

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