COVID-19’s lingering symptoms
As we learn more about COVID-19 and how it affects the body, researchers have discovered that some symptoms may persist even after an infected individual is no longer contagious. Professionals at Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan who are assisting with the recovery of COVID-19 patients have recently reported that patients are facing neurological, cognitive, and musculoskeletal deficits, even after their discharge. They are finding that all patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are going home with some degree of debility, which may include weakness in their legs, hands, and fingers.
These weaknesses make simple activities—like dressing, showering, cooking, and caring for family—very difficult (1). Other professionals have mentioned the concerns of deficits in other areas as well, including decreased lung function and exercise capacity (2). A trend of increased cognitive deficits have also been prevalent, as people are going home with complaints of increased confusion, difficulty forming memories, and delirium (1).
It is important to note that the impact of both physical and cognitive deficits are more pronounced in those who are older, those who spent more time on a ventilator, and those with neurological complications and other comorbidities (1). Most startlingly of all, it has been predicted that the impairments developed due to COVID-19 have the potential to persist up to 1 to 2 years post infection (3).
The importance of rehabilitation
As the number of families affected by COVID-19 continue to rise, our team at Capital Chiropractic & Rehabilitation Center is here and ready to help where we can. The International Classification of Function, Disability and Health has emphasized the importance of rehabilitation after COVID-19.
In particular, healthcare professionals in China and Italy highly recommend training of the breathing muscles for those suffering post their discharge from their acute stay due to COVID-19, as there have been studies that confirm increased function, endurance, quality of life, and reduced depression with this type of training. (4)
What do we do?
As movement specialists, we can help in a great way to those who need it. We can coach patients on effective form for diaphragmatic breathing, strength building, increased endurance, increased range of motion, joint mobility, and more. Recently, we have even added a soothing treatment tool called the Hypervolt percussive massage instrument that promotes circulation and improves range of motion. We also offer them for retail! See it in use in our clinic:
We are all affected during this pandemic, including those infected with COVID-19 and those not infected. For those living with the lingering physical consequences after a COVID-19 infection, we’re here to help. Armed with current research and expert, compassionate care, we aim to stand strong and assist our community to live their best lives, one step at a time.
*Please note: we require all patients who have had COVID-19 (or who have had exposure to COVID-19) to follow the appropriate quarantine timeline before seeking treatment in our clinic.
- Urban, K. (2020, July 14). Rehabilitation Care is Needed for Many COVID-19 Patients. Retrieved August 05, 2020, from https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/body-work/rehabilitation-care-needed-for-many-covid-19-patients
- Jennifer Couzin-FrankelJul. 31, 2. (2020, August 04). From ‘brain fog’ to heart damage, COVID-19’s lingering problems alarm scientists. Retrieved August 05, 2020, from https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/07/brain-fog-heart-damage-covid-19-s-lingering-problems-alarm-scientists
- Scott Rooney, Amy Webster, Lorna Paul, Systematic Review of Changes and Recovery in Physical Function and Fitness After Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome–Related Coronavirus Infection: Implications for COVID-19 Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy, Volume 100, Issue 10, October 2020, Pages 1717–1729, https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzaa129
- Sheehy, L., 2020. Considerations for Postacute Rehabilitation for Survivors of COVID-19. JMIR Public Health and Surveillance, 6(2), p.e19462.
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