Written by Lauren Wills, DPT
News & Updates
Have you previously been diagnosed with COVID-19 and find that, despite recovering from the virus, you continue having difficulty performing your normal daily routine due to low energy? Do you have new joint or muscle pain or feel weakness due to decreased activity, bedrest, or hospitalization? Have you experienced dizziness or felt unsteady on your feet following recovery from COVID-19? If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may be suffering from long COVID.
Whether your symptoms of COVID-19 were mild, moderate, or severe, current research is finding many people continue to feel lingering effects of the illness, for weeks or even months following their initial diagnosis. Known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), or more commonly as long COVID, these conditions affect all ages and can happen to anyone regardless of the severity of the illness itself.
What you may not realize is that physical therapy may be able to relieve many of these physical symptoms! Your physical therapist will thoroughly evaluate your functional limitations, thereby gathering the data needed to create a customized rehabilitation program. Your treatment program may include not only manual therapy and a focused therapeutic rehabilitation program, but also thorough education of the factors which contribute to your symptoms as well as a home exercise program to keep you on track between visits.
Your physical therapist will be able to monitor your exertion with physical activity in a variety of ways to ensure that you are not doing too much too soon. They will be able to guide you through a variety of appropriate exercises to help improve your strength, your mobility, and your endurance, as needed. Your recovery will be optimized by the ability to ensure that your program is challenging enough to make progress, while modifying as needed if a task is too difficult.
Physical therapists are also trained to assess your dizziness and can complete a full assessment of the vestibular system, the part of the inner ear that is involved in balance, to determine if this is the cause. If so, they can perform specific interventions to aid in reducing your dizziness and resuming your “normal” life.
The ability to provide you a safe environment to make continued progress is a good reason to begin physical therapy. For example, balance exercises are typically not safe to be performed at home without guidance and supervision due to the risk of falls and injury. Your physical therapist will be able to safely challenge both your standing and walking balance, in order to help you decrease the feeling of unsteadiness, thereby optimizing your ability to walk, stand to take a shower or even walk up stairs.
NOTE: You must also meet and pass the requirements of the CDCs guidelines for COVID-19 isolation, for symptomatic or asymptomatic individuals, prior to being seen in one of our offices.