This Common Pain Could Actually Be a COVID Symptom

Doctors are breaking down how this pain could be the result of the coronavirus.

The coronavirus can manifest through countless different symptoms, and unfortunately, many of those symptoms are common issues people face already. A headache could just be a headache, but it could also be a sign of a COVID infection. The same goes for fatigue, soreness, and myriad other afflictions. As it turns out, there's another common pain that could actually be a COVID symptom: an earache. Read on to see how to tell if your ear pain is something more serious, for more pains to keep an eye on, If This Part of Your Body Hurts, You Could Have COVID.

Many patients have shared stories of their earache COVID symptoms online, Prevention first reported. Thomas Russo, MD, professor and chief infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York, confirmed to the publication that coronavirus patients could have earache symptoms, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn't list earaches as a common coronavirus symptom.

Leann Poston, MD, a licensed physician and health advisor for Invigor Medical, says earaches usually occur because of "infected fluid behind the eardrum," which is the result of nasal and sinus congestion. And nasal and sinus congestion have been reported as symptoms in COVID patients. An Aug. 2020 study published in Auris Nasus Larynx found that 4.1 percent of COVID patients had nasal congestion, and 2.1 reported a runny nose, which is caused by sinus congestion.

With that in mind, earaches are a possible symptom of COVID due to nasal and sinus congestion. But this would be rare, Poston notes. In the same study, sore throat and headaches were identified as much more common symptoms, presenting in 11.3 percent and 10.7 percent of patients, respectively. Comparing the statistics, your chances of having an earache as the result of nasal and sinus congestion from COVID is not especially likely.

Still, your earache could have another tie to COVID. Tinnitus, which is a ringing, roaring, clocking, hissing or buzzing sound in your ears, can be caused or worsened by the coronavirus, according to a November study published in the Frontiers in Public Health. To be clear, Elliott D. Kozin, MD, an otolaryngologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, told Prevention it may be too soon to draw a definite link, as not enough data has been done.

Poston said that you should discuss your earache with your doctor to determine if it is the result of COVID—but it's not likely that this will be your telltale sign of the virus, and you should expect other common COVID symptoms, such as headache, shortness of breath, fever, and cough.

Besides rarer earaches, there are other pains that aren't listed as frequent coronavirus symptoms that could actually stem from a COVID infection. Read on for more common pains that have been linked to coronavirus, and for other ways to detect an infection, This Could Determine If You Have COVID in 5 Minutes, Experts Say.

1
Eye pain

Ophthalmologist checking patient's eye while Covid spreads
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According to a review of research published in the journal PLOS One on Jan. 6, ocular symptoms affect 11.6 percent of COVID patients. And the most common of these ocular symptoms is actually eye pain. Eye pain affected 31.2 percent of the COVID patients who had symptoms related to the eye. And for more alarming signs, If You Have One of These Symptoms, the CDC Says Go to the Hospital Now.

2
Back pain

Woman with back pain from sleeping on her stomach
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Ellen DeGeneres caused quite a stir when she said there was one COVID symptom she experienced that she didn't think was talked about enough: back pain. While there are many factors that can point to your back pain being something other than COVID, Henaku Yirenkyi, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon with World Spine and Orthopedics, previously told Best Life that you should be concerned if your back pain doesn't radiate down your leg. That's because back pain from other conditions will usually result in a "radiation of pain into the lower extremities." And for more on the host's coronavirus case, Ellen DeGeneres Says This One COVID Symptom Just Kept Getting Worse.

3
Testicular pain

Young man sitting at home. Sad guy sitting on the couch , copy space
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In an April 2020 interview, Stacey Rizza, MD, an infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic, said that the coronavirus can result in inflammation of the testes in men, which is not a commonly reported symptom. But studies have confirmed this. A November study published in the Reproductive BioMedicine Online journal corroborated Rizza's reports of testes' inflammation, saying that "as with previous coronaviruses, viral binding to the ACE2 receptor in the testis may lead to tissue inflammation and the development of orchi-epididymitis with testicular pain." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

4
Toe pain

Massaging foot to get rid of pain
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COVID toes is a symptom that has been referenced mostly in terms of its oddness, but it's still not listed as a common symptom by the CDC. This symptom has been steadily reported by COVID patients. Ebbing Lautenbach, MD, chief of infectious disease at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine, told USA Today that COVID toes are typically painful, especially when touched, and could have "hot burning sensation." And for more on the current state of the pandemic, This Is How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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