The Critical Role of PT After COVID

We still have a lot to learn about the implications of COVID-19 and the long-term health effects of the virus.

One of the main wellness goals of COVID-19 survivors involves getting back to daily life. This process is a journey, during which physical therapy plays a significant role.

Whether a patient requires bed rest, hospitalization, or long-term ICU care, it’s likely they’ll need rehabilitative care to recover the strength, balance, and endurance needed to live an active and fully independent life.

The Effects of COVID

There have been over 88 million cases of COVID-19 reported to the CDC since January 2020,  ranging from mild to severe illness

With multiple variants, repeated occurrences, and a lengthy list of symptoms, many people diagnosed with coronavirus experience long stretches of inactivity and breathing complications. 

Over time, a loss of strength and stamina, the deterioration of musculoskeletal tissue (atrophy), and the shortening and hardening of muscles and tendons (contracture) can occur. With breathing difficulty they may tire more easily.

To prevent a decrease in one’s quality of life it is critical for COVID-19 patients to seek early rehabilitative care through personalized recovery and exercise programs managed by a licensed physical therapist. 

The Role of Rehab

Because the severity of COVID-19 is different with every patient, their individual rehabilitation journey will also differ. Those with minor illness may only need to recover strength and stamina for work. While those with severe illness, requiring an ICU admission, or those with “long COVID,” also known as “PASC” by the National Institute of Health, may require more treatment. 

Physical therapists may use interventions for improving breathing and lung capacity while also helping patients develop the strength and balance to perform everyday movements like standing and walking. While everyone’s needs are unique, the ultimate goal is always to help patients live their best lives.

All COVID-related rehab programs begin with a full personal and musculoskeletal evaluation to determine individual needs and goals. Physical therapists will also work with relevant primary care physicians and specialists to ensure rehab goals align with broader, long-term health goals. As we continue to live with COVID-19, the therapists at PTS remain committed to wellness and safety.

If you have questions about how physical therapy can help you or a loved one recover from the effects of COVID, please call PTS at 309.231.0676 for more information.

*Updated July 2022

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