Chikungunya aftereffects and Chikungunya Arthritis

After recovery from Chikungunya fever persistent pain in Joints is due to Chikungunya Arthritis an aftereffect of chikungunya. Chikungunya Arthritis is also known as Post Viral Arthropathy. The bite from aedes aegypti mosquito has debilitating outcomes and the patient can get confined to bed for several weeks.

The most common aftereffects of Chikungunya include:

  • Pain in Joints which can persist for weeks
  • Feeling of weakness.
  • Lethargy and Fatigue.

The pain in the Joints is due to the counterattack of the immune system to the viral infection. The body recognizes some of its own cells as infective agents and hence attacks   some body cells along with the Chikungunya Virus. Antibodies activated by a viral attack often end up striking cartilages at the joints. This leads to swelling in the joints, often restricting movement. More than 50% of patients reported long term joint pain.  Some patients with joint pain do not respond well to the analgesics (painkillers) indicating damage of the nervous system.

People having a healthy lifestyle, healthy dietary habits usually recover faster than compared to others. The pain can handicap the person in a way where they cannot perform their daily routine chores comfortably.

Management of Joint pain:

The pain can be managed by mild exercises, cold packs, and pain killers. Ayurvedic medicine may also provide relief from the debilitating pain of the joints. Physiotherapy and mild exercise is also useful for management of pain and recovery. Simple exercise can help strengthen the muscles around the joints and can reduce pain and stiffness. Some of the useful simple movement exercises are:

  • Sit on a chair and then extend each leg parallel to the floor and hold it for a few seconds before lowering it. Repeat this less than 10 times at a time. You can do this 2 or 3 times a day.
  • Walk for 10 to 20 minutes at a mild pace. Avoid sitting for long periods of time at a stretch.
  • Do simple movement exercises by moving fingers, hand and elbow.
  • Some patients may need long term lifestyle changes for pain management.