AUSTIN, Texas — COVID-19 long-haulers are people who contracted the virus and have lingering health problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), post-COVID conditions for some people can last weeks, months and even years.
Some patients with long-haul COVID-19 are getting help by receiving treatments at a new clinic in Austin.
It has been more than two years since the pandemic started and Max Castellanos is still dealing with the effects of COVID-19.
"I've always lived such an active lifestyle and to just feel tired every day, it's ... tiring feeling tired," Castellanos said.
Castellanos was a student-athlete who played soccer before contracting COVID-19 twice in 2020. After recovering from the virus, he continued to feel tired and had shortness of breath. He said that finally changed after receiving treatment at 4REGEN in Austin, which is a new clinic that offers regenerative therapies for long-haul COVID-19 patients like Castellanos.
"I can finally go for a run, for a three-mile run, and feel like I'm fine," Castellanos said.
Sydney Fernarld is a nurse practitioner who is board certified in family medicine and a chiropractor. He serves as the South Texas Director of Operations for 4REGEN. Fernarld said the treatments rejuvenate the body and help regenerate problem areas.
"It's been working for our long COVID patients. It's giving them their energy back. It's getting rid of their brain fog. It's giving them the ability to take a deep breath," Fernarld said.
Andrew Ranken experienced something similar to Castellanos. He also contracted COVID-19 in 2020 and felt some of the same lingering health problems. With the regenerative therapies, he said he's noticed a significant difference.
"I've actually been able to get a little bit back to cardio, which is something I hadn't done in a while. So, just overall, I'm excited to be a healthier person," Ranken said.
These therapies are not just for COVID-19 long-haulers.
"We also utilize it for neurological problems like Alzheimer's, dementia and traumatic brain injuries from auto accidents," Fernarld said.
Roberto Mola got into a serious car accident in August 2021. He said as a result of the crash, he got a concussion and a serious back injury. Mola said he's had several appointments with a chiropractor that didn't seem to help. After receiving treatment, he said he was feeling better.
"My back is loosened up a lot. My head is much clearer. I feel like I'm not, like, trying to remember what I was talking about," Mola said.
Now that people are beginning to leave the pandemic in the past, patients like Castellano and Ranken said they're happy to be closer to feeling the way they did before getting COVID-19.
"I would say that for people like us that have been dealing with, like, long COVID, that there's hope and, you know, you can get back to feeling like yourself again and that's great," Castellanos said.
According to the CDC, while there is no test to diagnose long COVID-19, it's best to see your health care provider to determine if you're experiencing lingering health problems.
"I would recommend it to anyone who's had really bad long-haul COVID symptoms. You know, you don't have to settle for the hand that you've been dealt with," Ranken said.
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