A Possible Treatment for Long Covid

Dr. Lydia Knutson at Lydian Chiropractic has developed a new Axial Stability Method treatment protocol for the chronic symptoms that sometimes follow COVID-19 illness (sometimes called “Long Covid” or “Covid Long Haulers”).  In partnership with Dr. Stephanie Sullivan at Life University and other researchers, we did an initial pilot study to investigate this treatment protocol. 

At a clinic in Cambridge, Massachusetts, we treated 7 participants who had been suffering from “Long Covid” for 7-16 months. 5 participants had complete or almost complete recovery, and 2 had substantial recovery with some lingering symptoms.

  • At the start of the study:
    • 4 participants were either unable to work or had substantially limited ability to work
    • The other 3 participants had major primary complaints:
      • pain, difficulty breathing and severe night sweats
      • taste and smell distortion, insomnia and sadness
      • blurred vision and headaches

Many different kinds of symptoms responded to treatment: fatigue, pain, cardio-respiratory, digestive, taste and smell distortion, insomnia, and cognitive/emotional [Heat Map of Symptoms]

The fatigue levels for the group as a whole declined from the 76th percentile to the 25th percentile relative to the U.S. adult population [FACIT Fatigue Scores]

Study Design:

  • Each participant received the same highly structured treatment protocol during 16-22 office visits over 2-3 months
  • The treatment was aimed at restoring the body’s systems of self-regulation, particularly the Autonomic Nervous System (which regulates many things including blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature), and whole-body biomechanical function.


Lydia Knutson, DC
Lydian Chiropractic, Cambridge, MA

Stephanie Sullivan, DC, PhD
Director of the Center for Chiropractic Research at Life University, Marietta, GA

Jennifer Massa, ScD
Research Scientist, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Martha Herbert, PhD, MD
Higher Synthesis Health


“Since contracting COVID-19 in December 2020 I have had crippling back pain, joint pain, muscle spasms, fatigue, anxiety, and severe weakness in my legs. I was unable to climb a flight of stairs, walk more than 15 minutes or carry a 5-gallon bucket. I am a union painter and had to go on light duty. I saw a neurologist, rheumatologist, immunologist, physical therapist, chiropractor, and of course, my PCP. No one had any answers for how to help me get better. I was frustrated and losing hope. This went on for 8 months until I heard about the long hauler study at Lydian Chiropractic. Working with Dr. Knutson has been nothing short of amazing. 6 weeks into treatment, I have almost no pain in my legs or back, no joint pain and can climb 3 flights of stairs, walk long distances, and carry a 5-gallon bucket. I am even riding my bike 10-12 miles several times a week. Dr. Knutson, and the staff at Lydian Chiropractic, have helped me greatly with my long hauler symptoms and given me hope!” –Robert, 57

“After having COVID-19 and then being diagnosed with Post Covid Syndrome, it seemed my life would never be the same. For 9 months the shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, brain fog and memory loss made it difficult to make it through the day. I found that I had to take a break in between each activity, no matter how simple, and I also needed to lie down for a nap every afternoon. I could not do my job and had to take a medical leave. Participating in this Study and getting treatment at Lydian Chiropractic has changed my life. It is incredible work, something I describe to family and friends as “magic.” The fatigue was gone after the first visit, the body aches, brain fog and memory loss healed soon after. 6 weeks after starting treatment, I am now back to work, capable of doing what I love, and able to function fully as my Pre-Covid self. I am so grateful. Thank you!” –Judy, 53

“After having contracted COVID back in December 2020, I realized after a few weeks many of the symptoms were unrelenting which led to my diagnosis of long haul COVID. As the months passed on, I thought this was going to be my new normal. However, I then met Dr. Knutson at Lydian Chiropractic. After being a part of this study, I no longer suffer from terrible headaches, my back and neck pain have resolved and my inability to focus has disappeared. After a few treatments I was able to improve my smell distortion by 50% and my taste distortion by 70%. Noticing the smell of pizza cooking in the oven after so many months brought the biggest smile to my face. Biting into a juicy cheeseburger and having it taste like it should was such a huge step in my progress. It’s exciting to know how far I’ve come and still have several weeks of treatment to go! I am so happy to have found Dr. Knutson as well as all the wonderful friendly staff members a part of this team.”  –Nancy, 30

“I contracted Covid-19 in December of 2020, and I was debilitated for the first five months.  I was bed-ridden from the fatigue, could only walk five to ten consecutive steps before having to catch my breath, and I often spent my days with my eyes closed due to my eye strain and headaches.  I took multiple naps a day. I became unrecognizable from my old self.  I experienced a gradual improvement of symptoms over the next ten months, but when I started seeing Dr. Knutson in April 2022 I was still depressed and physically limited: one flight of stairs would leave me winded, housework was out of the question, a fifteen-minute grocery trip would leave me tired and of course I needed daily naps to recover.  After the first few treatments my depression lifted, and I could feel my joy and positive spirit returning to me. It was an incredible feeling to feel like my old resilient, energetic self was returning back into my body.  The physical transformation was equally powerful and moving.  I could now do five flights of stairs with no effort, I was able to clean for 30 to 45 minutes,  do a regular grocery shopping trip and have the strength to carry the groceries up the stairs and walk at my regular brisk pace.  On our recent vacation, I was able to fully participate in all of the activities with my children.  Dr. Knutson has literally given me my life back, and there are no words to describe the gratitude I feel for her treatments and her kind, cheerful demeanor. I spread the word about her practice wherever I go because I realize that millions are suffering without any hope, and that I am deeply privileged to have been healed.” –Diane, 50

We are planning to do a controlled clinical trial for this treatment protocol starting in 2023. If you want further information about this study, please complete the contact form below.