Long COVID is a relatively new term referring to the long-term health effects experienced by COVID-19 survivors. According to recent studies, long COVID affects about 10% of people who have had COVID-19. These individuals report a range of symptoms that can last for months, including fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, and brain fog.
Our biggest challenge is that we do not have anything that has compared to this problem. It is a new frontier in rehabilitation and Physical Therapy treatment continues to evolve as research continues.
Physical therapy has emerged as a potentially effective treatment option for people experiencing long COVID symptoms. Physical therapy is a branch of rehabilitation medicine that helps individuals restore their physical function and mobility. Physical therapists work with patients to develop customized treatment plans to improve their strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Physical therapy for long COVID symptoms is still relatively new, and research is ongoing. However, some studies suggest that physical therapy can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for long COVID patients.
For example, a recent study published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention found that physical therapy significantly improved fatigue, shortness of breath, and muscle weakness in patients with long COVID
Physical therapists use a wide range of techniques to help long COVID patients improve their physical function. These may include:
- Breathing exercises: COVID-19 can cause lung damage, leading to shortness of breath and other respiratory issues. Physical therapists can teach patients breathing exercises to improve lung capacity and reduce symptoms.
- Aerobic exercise: Regular aerobic exercise can improve cardiovascular fitness, reduce fatigue, and improve mood in long COVID patients. Physical therapists can create customized exercise programs based on individual patient needs.
- Strength training: COVID-19 can lead to muscle weakness, which can make even simple movements difficult. Physical therapists can design strength training programs to help patients rebuild muscle strength and improve mobility.
- Flexibility training: Stretching and flexibility exercises can help reduce muscle tension and improve range of motion in long COVID patients.
Long COVID is a growing concern for COVID-19 survivors. Physical therapy has emerged as a promising treatment option for patients experiencing long COVID symptoms. Research suggests that physical therapy can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for long COVID patients. Physical therapists use a wide range of techniques to help patients improve their physical function, including breathing exercises, aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training. As research continues, physical therapy may become an increasingly important part of long COVID treatment protocols.
If you are struggling with your recovery from Covid-19, contact your physician and see if a Physical Therapy consult would be recommended.