Post-Acute COVID-19 is an emerging phenomenon among individuals with previous COVID-19 infection. Also known as “COVID-19 Long Haulers”, only a few published studies have examined the long-term effects (up to 6 months) following COVID-19 infection.
What is a COVID Long-Hauler?
A COVID LONG HAULER is a COVID-19 survivor who has, in theory, recovered from the worst impacts of COVID-19 and has tested negative. However, they are still experiencing long-term symptoms that often linger for weeks or months, and/or develop out of the blue months after the initial onset and that this proportion was higher in women. Even people who are not hospitalized and who have a mild illness can experience persistent or late symptoms.
Most recent data highlights that that 76% of patients with previous COVID-19 infection reported at least one symptom at 6 months after symptom onset and that this proportion was higher in women. Even people who are not hospitalized and who have a mild illness can experience persistent or late symptoms.
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Common Symptoms of COVID Long-Haulers:
The most common signs and symptoms that linger over time but are limited to include:
- Muscle weakness
- Joint pain
- Sleep disruptions
- Brain fog
Other long-term complications including cardiac, pulmonary, and neurological sequelae are also possible, especially among individuals who were most critically ill. This is likely as a result of inflammation and “cytokine storm”.
- Myocardial inflammation
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Pulmonary dysfunction as measured by imaging and/or pulmonary function test.
- Decreased carbon monoxide diffusion capacity
- The diminished function of respiratory muscles.
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Interstitial thickening
- Sensory dysfunction
How can Physiotherapy Help
Physiotherapy and rehabilitation medicine should be at the forefront of managing care of this affected population. Physiotherapists are trained healthcare professionals that have the knowledge and skills to develop individualized treatment plans according to the patient’s needs, taking into consideration their long-term symptoms and comorbidities.
Physiotherapy for COVID Long-Haulers includes:
- BREATHING- Long Haulers often experience respiratory symptoms. Physiotherapy can help by teaching breathing exercises that help increase respiratory volume and the strengthening of respiratory muscles.
- MOBILIZE- Our highly educated physiotherapists can help mobilize stiff thoracic and rib joints after periods of inactivity
- STRETCHING- A physiotherapist can help introduce and track the ongoing progress of thoracic stretching exercises.
- STRENGTHENING- Physiotherapy can help COVID Long-Haulers strengthen and build postural musculature.
- DEVELOPMENT- Our team develops patient centered goals to help patients return to their pre-illness activities of daily living, occupation, and sporting activities
Where is the COVID Long-Hauler Rehabilitation service offered?
The COVID Long-Hauler Rehabilitation service is located at each-one of Eramosa Physiotherapy locations located across Southern Ontario. To find the location nearest you please visit our Locations Page Here.