Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe. People who are vaccinated and have received a booster shot are less likely to experience severe illness. Nevertheless, approximately 10% of all COVID patients continue to experience secondary symptoms long after the primary infection has resolved completely. This is sometimes referred to as post-COVID syndrome. If you are experiencing symptoms of post-COVID syndrome, physical therapy in Shadows, Louisiana, may be able to help.
What Is Post-COVID Syndrome?
Post-COVID syndrome is also referred to as long COVID, long-haul COVID, or Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that causes COVID-19, sequelae are consequences or side effects, and post-acute means that a patient keeps experiencing symptoms after receiving acute care in a hospital setting. It should be noted, however, that long COVID also appears to affect patients who experience only mild infections that do not require hospitalization.
Post-COVID syndrome can affect the respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems, among others. Common symptoms include headache, muscle or joint pain, fast heartbeat, memory issues, anxiety, fatigue, shortness of breath, trouble concentrating, and poor endurance. Some patients also report post-exertional malaise, meaning that symptoms get worse after demanding physical or mental activity.
How Can Physical Therapy Help With Post-COVID Syndrome?
COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system, and shortness of breath can persist long after the initial infection resolves. Denham Springs, Louisiana physical therapy treatment can help to improve lung function by working on core stability and deep breathing exercises.
Cardiac endurance, or the ability of the heart to withstand physical activity, can reduce by 50% in patients with long COVID. A supervised physical therapy program of light-to-moderate aerobic activity can help to increase this endurance while monitoring oxygen saturation levels to be sure that they do not fall under 94%.
The most common symptom of long COVID is fatigue, which can become chronic in patients who had a severe infection. Activity pacing and graded functional mobility in physical therapy can help patients return to activities gradually without overtaxing themselves. A physical therapy program for post-COVID fatigue may also include training in activities of daily living to help patients learn to perform basic functions—including bathing, grooming, dressing—for themselves without exacerbating their symptoms and tiring themselves out.
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There is more to physical therapy for post-COVID syndrome than doing exercises, however. Because it is a new condition, research into it is still ongoing. A physical therapist can provide patients with the most up-to-date information about it according to the latest research.
The goal of physical therapy for post-COVID syndrome is to teach patients how they can manage their symptoms on their own.
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This requires an individualized approach tailored to the specific patient. No matter the condition, physical therapy always designs programs around patients’ individual needs. Treatment for long COVID is no different.
If you believe you may be experiencing long COVID, you should first see your doctor for a diagnosis. Once you receive the diagnosis, you should seek out a clinic in your area that provides physical therapy for post-COVID rehab. Because the condition is new, not all therapists may be providing it yet, so be sure to confirm before making an appointment.