July 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Recovering From a Virus

Note: The treatments described in this article are for providing medical information but this is not medical advice. While there are studies that support the treatments described, the treatments are considered experimental and not the standard of care. For medical guidance you should contact your physician or health care professional.

Some people recover from a virus without any difficulty, with a complete recovery. Others have persistent symptoms long after the acute phase of their illness. These symptoms vary from mild and annoying to significantly limiting and even disabling. The symptoms that I will discuss in this article include fatigue, residual nerve symptoms, pain and respiratory symptoms.

Fatigue is common after any viral infection. A common complaint is that someone just feels “worn out.” During the infection, the body devotes much of its energy to eliminating the infection. In a normal situation we have a reserve of energy that helps us deal with a stressful situation. When we deal with the stress of a viral infection, that energy reserve may be depleted. When this occurs, fatigue results. To rebuild this energy reserve, an emphasis on taking in an abundance of nutrients can be very helpful.

A great way to obtain the nutrients needed to recover from a depleting condition such as a viral illness is with intravenous (IV) nutrition. While there are many benefits of oral supplements, there are advantages of IV nutrition. When given intravenously, there is a higher concentration of the nutrients in the bloodstream, which enables greater penetration of the nutrients into the tissues and cells. Some people have gastrointestinal absorption difficulties so cannot benefit from oral supplements. When given the same nutrients intravenously, those individuals may get benefits and achieve optimal levels. Some supplements such as vitamin C are not well tolerated at higher doses due to stomach upset. Most people can tolerate a much higher amount of vitamin C when given intravenously. Interestingly, with low-dose vitamin C there is antioxidant benefit, but at high doses vitamin C has oxidative effects, which are useful for infections.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. These proteins are the basis for enzymes that stimulate important biochemical reactions that control metabolism. Due to energy depletion from a virus, metabolism may also be affected. Enhancing metabolism with amino acids both orally and intravenously can help with the recovery process.

The most common nerve symptoms seen after a viral infection are numbness, tingling and pain in the hands and feet, which is suggestive of a condition called peripheral neuropathy. Also common is impaired cranial nerve function, specifically loss or decreased sense of taste and smell. This is sometimes related to fatigue and decreased metabolism and can be related to direct injury of the affected nerves. Another complaint is nerve sensations, which can occur anywhere in the body. This seems related to nerve irritation by the virus.

While IV nutrition can help with the metabolic aspects of nerve recovery, an IV nutrient that can potentially help with nerve recovery is alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). ALA is a strong antioxidant that has been shown to help with diabetic neuropathy. ALA can be taken orally or given intravenously. Diabetic neuropathy and neuropathy after viral infection share in common a mechanism of impaired nerve metabolism. There are not many studies of the use of ALA after viral infection, but the common mechanism suggests that it may be beneficial for neuropathy after viral infection.

Another treatment that can help with nerve symptoms is neural therapy. While space limits me from explaining neural therapy at length, it is a treatment that uses local anesthetics, specifically procaine, to balance the autonomic nervous system and reduce abnormal nerve sensations. This can be very helpful for nerve pain.

Other types of pain that are seen after a viral infection include muscle pain and joint pain. Muscle pain may be related to fatigue and may also result from muscle damage during the infection. To help with recovery, injecting low-concentration dextrose just under the skin (called neural prolotherapy) can help with the muscle soreness. This procedure is very well tolerated and patients often walk out of the office with much less pain than when they walked in. Joint pain can be part of the viral syndrome with decreased metabolism and generalized aching and responds well to the treatments described above that enhance metabolism. Specific joints that are affected such as a knee or hip respond very well to treatments that help rebuild the tissue, such as prolotherapy or platelet-rich plasma injections.

For respiratory symptoms, improving energy and metabolism can help with the fatigue that can affect breathing. Thus, IV nutrition can provide the metabolic boost that can improve respiratory fatigue. Also, neural therapy can provide support for the respiratory muscles that affect breathing. In addition to the diaphragm, many muscles in the chest wall are needed to get a good breath. With fatigue after a viral infection, those muscles may be tight, which affects their function. Neural therapy can release the muscle tightness, which can improve breathing.

In summary, those recovering from a viral infection may have residual symptoms that are very limiting. Fatigue can improve by replenishing nutrients that improve metabolism. IV nutrition is especially helpful for this. To help nerves recover, including alpha lipoic acid with IV nutrition can be helpful. Neural therapy can also help with nerve recovery. Neural prolo can help with muscle pain. Regenerative treatments such as prolotherapy and platelet-rich plasma can strengthen joints after a viral infection. In this article I have covered a broad range of treatments. Check out my website where I have articles that go into more detail on these treatments, including articles on IV nutrition, prolotherapy, platelet-rich plasma, neural therapy and neural prolotherapy.


Dr. Slaten is a wellness physician specializing in regenerative pain treatments and lifestyle counseling. He is certified in advanced bioidentical hormone replacement. Please contact him at (201) 882-1500 if you are considering or have any questions regarding these treatments, or check out his website www.njprp.com.

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