Physical therapy rehabilitation for COVID-19 recovery

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Entornointeligente.com / COVID-19, or the coronavirus, has placed unprecedented pressures on our healthcare system. Thanks to front-line healthcare workers, many who were seriously ill have survived. With the passage of time, however, post-recovery effects are becoming evident.

The National Institutes of Health has warned of the potential increase in “long COVID”, which refers to the post-acute stage of SARS-CoV2 infections.

Some long COVID symptoms include difficulty breathing, weakness and fatigue, palpitations and dizziness, all which can have potential impact on mobility and return to full function. Long COVID symptoms can be present, not just in individuals who are hospitalised but also in those who are recovering at home. Locally, we have just started to talk about improving the health status of those who may have persistent symptoms after COVID-19 infection.

The good news is that physical therapists, working closely with the medical team, can help with recovery from these COVID-19-related symptoms. Physical therapists spend at least four years in training to become experts in the design and delivery of exercise prescriptions and are familiar with the management of respiratory symptoms as well as movement-related problems. Their medical skill set is particularly relevant in the context of COVID-19 where rehabilitation needs may be amplified by underlying health conditions, as well as diminished health associated with the ageing process.

In the hospital setting physiotherapy plays an important role in the acute phase of COVID-19 hospitalisation by offering both respiratory and mobility care. Respiratory physiotherapy uses specific interventions to reduce shortness of breath, improve lung capacity and even to aid in reducing the impact of respiratory symptoms on mental health.

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