Ellen DeGeneres Says This One COVID Symptom Just Kept Getting Worse

Allie Hogan
·3 min read

In mid-December, Ellen DeGeneres tested positive for COVID, which promptly shut down production on her show and sent her into quarantine. After a few weeks of hiatus, The Ellen DeGeneres Show is back on air, and during her first monologue, the host shared her experience with COVID. DeGeneres said she was lucky to have only one significant symptom, but she described the pain associated with it as "excruciating" and noted that it just kept getting worse. Read on for more on the star's distinctive symptom, and for more on DeGeneres, discover The One Guest Ellen DeGeneres Banned From Her Show.

Ellen DeGeneres had "excruciating back pain" as a result of COVID.

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres

During her opening monologue, DeGeneres recalled, "On the fourth day, I woke up with back spasms, and I thought I had pulled a muscle or had slept weird because I was in a different bed. But it just persisted." She said doctors prescribed her pain pills and muscle relaxers to help ease the discomfort. However, the medication didn't work, and her back pain only continued to get worse.

"It felt like I had cracked a rib," DeGeneres said. "You know how I make you feel when you laugh so hard your ribs hurt? That's how it felt—I finally understand how you feel."

This isn't the first time DeGeneres discussed the back pain she experienced from COVID. On Dec. 16, the host gave an update on her health via her Twitter account. DeGeneres told her followers in a video, "One thing that they don't tell you is that you get, somehow, excruciating back pain. Didn't know that was a symptom, but I talked to some other people … Who knew? How come? Back pain. Bad." And for coronavirus symptoms you need to know, If You Have One of These Symptoms, the CDC Says Go to the Hospital Now

Relief from her back pain was hard to find.

Woman with back pain
Woman with back pain

Although back pain is not explicitly noted as a COVID symptom on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website, "muscle or body aches" is one of the more common manifestations of the virus.

DeGeneres said she ended up going on a steroid pack because nothing else seemed to be working. Once she began the steroids, she finally found some relief from the tormenting back pain. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

DeGeneres also experienced fatigue.

Woman in bed under covers
Woman in bed under covers

At the beginning of her bout with COVID, before the back pain kicked in, DeGeneres was just exceptionally tired. "For the first three days, I slept like 16 hours a day," the host said. And for more on her coronavirus experience, Ellen DeGeneres Reveals the "One Thing They Don't Tell You" About COVID.

DeGeneres found out she had COVID backstage at her show.

Ellen DeGeneres at the 'Golden Globe Awards' in 2020
Ellen DeGeneres at the 'Golden Globe Awards' in 2020

Before detailing her experience with COVID, DeGeneres related the moment when she learned she had tested positive for the virus. "I was in hair and makeup … and my assistant Craig walked in and said, 'You tested positive for COVID,'" she remembered. "And then everyone around me ran away."

Following the discovery, DeGeneres said she "left the studio immediately, and our COVID safety team had informed everyone that I had contact with." And for more on the long-term complications of coronavirus, learn The Disturbing New Symptom of Long COVID Doctors Want You to Know.

DeGeneres says she doesn't know where she contracted coronavirus.

closeup of hand holding medical mask while walking in park amid coronavirus pandemi
closeup of hand holding medical mask while walking in park amid coronavirus pandemi

For many people who get COVID, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where one picked up the virus, barring any especially risky behavior. "The weird thing is, I don't know where I got it. I still don't know where I got it," DeGeneres said. "I wear a mask, I wash my hands, I only lick three or four door handles—so it's a mystery how that would happen." And for more from iconic talk show hosts, Oprah Says This Was the Worst Guest She Ever Had.