Even with concerns over a potential fourth surge in Coronavirus cases, the majority of medical officials believe the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic is behind us. Physical therapists are just starting to see a surge in patients in need of rehabilitation from the physical and psychological effects of COVID-19. Now, it seems that the bulk of medical care for those infected by the disease is transitioning from ICU to PT offices.
Some older patients, as well as patients considered to be at high risk for delayed recovery from COVID-19, have suffered severe lung damage that may take months or even years to reverse. The medical community is attentive to this demographic of post COVID patient base and working diligently to improve outcomes. There is another group of COVID survivors emerging who span all age groups, demographics, and risk levels suffering from a perplexing condition known as “Long COVID,” or post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC).
Though the cause is still unclear, these so-called “long hauler” patients report experiencing fatigue, returning fevers, shortness of breath, cognitive impairment or “COVID brain fog,” body aches, joint pain, and a growing list of other chronic symptoms. These symptoms are occurring long after testing negative for the virus. In many cases, Long COVID patients report worsening symptoms following exercise or activity. Some long haulers find that these symptoms went away eventually. But, many patients seem to be struggling to live with them indefinitely.
In the hopes of improving patient recovery and reducing further health risks associated with long-term illness, leading doctors are urging patients to consider physical therapy. Some of the therapies currently being used to help COVID patients include:
- Activity modification
- Body positioning retraining
- Diaphragmatic stretching
- Balance & body awareness
- Aerobic exercise
- Panic control
The exact type of therapies a patient will benefit from varies depending on their unique set of chronic symptoms. Nevertheless, doctors are hopeful that adding physical therapy to a patient’s recovery plan will help overcome the long-term physical and cognitive effects caused by COVID-19. For more information, email us at info@definedPT.com.