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Ellen DeGeneres details her COVID-19 experience: 'It felt like I cracked a rib'

On her first show of 2021, the talk show host shared how she found out she had COVID-19 and how doctors treated the symptom of persistent back pain.
/ Source: TODAY

Ellen DeGeneres is sharing her experience with COVID-19 and the back pain that felt like she "cracked a rib."

In a clip of the monologue from her first episode of 2021 on Wednesday, the talk show host detailed testing positive in early December and the persistent symptom she endured.

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"This is my experience with COVID. The first three days I slept for 16 hours a day and then on the fourth day I woke up with back spasms, and I thought I had pulled a muscle or slept weird because I was in a different bed, but it just persisted," she said.

She said her doctor put her on pain pills and muscle relaxers.

"The painkillers did not help, my back got worse," she said. "It felt like I cracked a rib. You know how I make you laugh so hard that your ribs hurt? That's how it was like for me. Now I know how you feel when I make you laugh."

DeGeneres, 62, also mentioned the "excruciating" back pain in an Instagram post last month updating her condition. But now she is feeling much better.

"I'm fine now, everything's good, I'm all clear," she said. "I want to thank everyone who reached out with kind words of support, I wish I could've hugged each and every one of you. That would've been dangerous and illegal probably."

She recalled how she was in hair and makeup getting ready to tape the show in early December when her assistant came in to inform her she had tested positive.

"And then everyone around me ran away," she said. "It's funny, people just really get scared. Some ran and they have not come back since."

DeGeneres left the studio immediately and the show's COVID-19 safety team contacted everyone who had been around her.

"I had to quarantine, and Portia made me sleep in a different room on a different bed because she wanted the race car bed all to herself," DeGeneres joked about wife Portia de Rossi.

Her doctors ultimately put her on "a steroid pack" that was effective in quelling her back pain.

"But here's the thing about steroids, they make you really speedy and really edgy, so the best thing to do I decided was to stay on the muscle relaxers and pain pills with the steroid pack to balance it out," she said. "I don't know if that's the best way. I'm not a doctor.

"I'm still on 'em. I don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing. I just find the muscle relaxers helpful."

DeGeneres also heard from her older brother, Vance, that he had a friend who also experienced back pain after testing positive for COVID-19, and DeGeneres had others say they experienced similar symptoms.

"So apparently now back pain is a symptom of COVID, which I did not know, but anyway now you know," she said. "I'm not saying if you have back pain you have COVID, but it is a symptom.

"It's the only symptom I had. I didn't have a headache, I didn't have fever, I didn't lose my sense of taste — although I did wear Crocs with socks for a day, so you be the judge."

The host is still puzzled as to how she contracted the virus.

"I started to feel better and I am very fortunate, very, very blessed, that was it for me," she said. "The weird thing is I don't know where I got it. I wear a mask, I wash my hands, I only licked three or four door handles, so it's a mystery to me how that would happen.

"Anyway, I know a lot of people out there are struggling with this illness right now and my heart goes out to all of them."