Physiotherapy and Long Covid

Despite seeing the worst of covid over the past few years, covid remains ever prevalent in our day-to-day lives. Even now, with the recurring resurgences of infections, how we manage the symptoms of covid is still relevant. Let’s consider the role of physiotherapy and long covid.

In the wake of a recent infection from the coronavirus disease, many individuals continue to exhibit symptoms well past the acute period of the illness.

Most patients recovering from covid may put ongoing symptoms down to a stubborn cough. These long term symptoms can be due to something the world health organization refers to as long covid.

There is also some statistically significant evidence that links long covid to the possibility of chronic fatigue syndrome for some people.

In this blog, we explore the role of physiotherapy and long covid and how physiotherapists can assist with the lingering symptoms.


What is Long Covid?

Long covid is characterised by persistent symptoms extending beyond the acute phase of the illness.

Long covid symptoms affect people of all ages and fitness levels. Despite if the initial infection was quite mild or a very severe case, long covid can be a side affect for anybody. It is also worth noting that those with other illness and conditions can have symptoms of long covid. 

While most of the recovery from long covid still remains unknown, physiotherapy has proven to shown benefits on returning people back to fitness and function.


Long Covid Symptoms 

Long covid manifests in different ways, affecting various systems within the body. Primarily, the respiratory system may be compromised, leading to difficulties in breathing. This in turn will cause breathlessness, affect fitness and reduce exercise tolerance 

Musculoskeletal issues such as joint pain and muscle weakness are also symptoms of long covid. There may be a reduction in flexilibility, soreness in normal movements and a reduction in physical capacity to complete tasks. 

Prolonged fatigue has also been shown as a symptom of long covid. This may present in the form of persistent tiredness, low energy and reduced tolerance to normal activities.


How Can Physiotherapy Help?

With a lot of long covid symptoms relating to a persons physical capacity,  physiotherapy helps to return people back to pre-illness fitness levels.

Physiotherapy for long covid begins with a thorough assessment of physical condition. This helps guide the development of a tailored rehabilitation program. Each persons’ experience with long covid is different. An assessment identifies specific symptoms and challenges faced by the individual.

The goals of physiotherapy can be short term in improving comfort but also to facilitate long-term recovery of function.

Respiratory Function

With long covid primarily affecting the respiratory system, physiotherapy can play an important role in assisting individuals with breathing difficulties.

Through targeted exercises, breathing techniques, and respiratory exercises, they aim to improve lung function and uptake of  oxygen.

Respiratory interventions address short term breathing difficulties and also help build endurance over time.

Physiotherapy and Fatigue

Physiotherapy can help individuals address fatigue management and reduced exercise tolerance. With physiotherapy, graded exercises, endurance training and strategies for pacing are used with the aim to restore stamina and energy levels.

Physiotherapy assessments help to determine the appropriate physical exercise to challenge the individual to build up their energy levels while not causing overexertion.

Long covid and Musculoskeletal Persistent Symptoms

While many patients who have had covid experience joint pain and weakness during the initial stages of infection. These persistent symptoms can linger well past this and can give rise to longer term musculoskeletal issues.

Similar as you would see physiotherapy for a sore back or a sporting injury, physiotherapy can incorporate a combination of manual therapy, exercises, and stretching routines to address these challenges brought about by long covid.

Through specific tailored rehab programs, physiotherapy can improve mobility, promote fitness, reduce pain, and restore function.

Educating and Empowering Patients

In addition to hands-on treatments, physiotherapy equips individuals with the knowledge to manage their condition. Physiotherapists can help people understand the nature of long covid and the natural progression of the illness. They help with the effective self-management strategies to help patients take control of their recovery.

Physiotherapists can provide advice on how to modify day to day tasks to make them more manageable, strategies and appropriate treatment to maximise how much most patients can do and ways symptoms can be effectively managed.

Education is a great way for people to understand how they are affected by long covid and what the best steps are to help overcome illness.


Conclusion

Although the lingering symptoms of long covid can be quite overwhelming, physiotherapy can help guide people through their recovery.

Physiotherapy is a great way to help people combat the long term effects of covid by improving their overall health. Physiotherapy can create a supportive environment to help people manage the ongoing symptoms in their personal life.

Not only can physiotherapy and other allied health professions promote significant improvement physically, but also allow them to build the confidence in a person’s life to return to their normal lives post covid syndrome.


If you have been diagnosed with with long covid, or suspect that you might be suffering from ongoing symptoms of covid, contact us on 0298753760 or make an appointment through our website.


Physiotherapy and Long Covid

If you need physical therapy to relieve
your pain, and would like some more
information, feel free to contact us!

Give us a call on (02) 9875 3760 or email
info@wphphysio.com.au. We would
be more than happy to help you.