The increasing prevalence of Long COVID is an imminent public health disaster, and established approaches have not provided adequate diagnostics or treatments. Recently, anesthetic blockade of the stellate ganglion was reported to improve Long COVID symptoms in a small case series, purportedly by “rebooting” the autonomic nervous system. Here, we present a novel diagnostic approach based on the Adaptive Force (AF), and report sustained positive outcome for one severely affected Long COVID patient using individualized pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) at the area C7/T1. AF reflects the capacity of the neuromuscular system to adapt adequately to external forces in an isometric holding manner. In case, maximal isometric AF (AFisomax) is exceeded, the muscle merges into eccentric muscle action. Thereby, the force usually increases further until maximal AF (AFmax) is reached. In case adaptation is optimal, AFisomax is ~99-100% of AFmax. This holding capacity (AFisomax) was found to be vulnerable to disruption by unpleasant stimulus and, hence, was regarded as functional parameter. AF was assessed by an objectified manual muscle test using a handheld device. Prior to treatment, AFisomax was considerably lower than AFmax for hip flexors (62 N = ~28% AFmax) and elbow flexors (71 N = ~44% AFmax); i.e., maximal holding capacity was significantly reduced, indicating dysfunctional motor control. We tested PEMF at C7/T1, identified a frequency that improved neuromuscular function, and applied it for ~15 min. Immediately post-treatment, AFisomax increased to ~210 N (~100% AFmax) at hip and 184 N (~100% AFmax) at elbow. Subjective Long COVID symptoms resolved the following day. At 4 weeks post-treatment, maximal holding capacity was still on a similarly high level as for immediately post-treatment (~100% AFmax) and patient was symptom-free. At 6 months the patient’s Long COVID symptoms have not returned. This case report suggests (1) AF could be a promising diagnostic for post-infectious illness, (2) AF can be used to test effective treatments for post-infectious illness, and (3) individualized PEMF may resolve post-infectious symptoms.
Keywords: Adaptive Force; Long COVID; case report; fatigue; individualized pulsed electromagnetic field; muscle weakness; muscular holding capacity; post-COVID syndrome.
Copyright © 2023 Schaefer and Bittmann.
Schaefer LV, Bittmann FN. Case report: Individualized pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in a Long COVID patient using the Adaptive Force as biomarker. Front Med (Lausanne). 2023 Jan 11;9:879971. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2022.879971. PMID: 36714125; PMCID: PMC9874300.