Most people recover completely within a few weeks from COVID. However, some people, even those who had it in a milder form, continue to have symptoms after they have recovered.
Long COVID is a term used to describe the effects of COVID-19 that continue for weeks or months beyond the initial illness. According to World Health Organization (WHO), Long COVID develops in people who have had a history of SARS CoV-2 infection, generally 3 months after the beginning of COVID-19 symptoms that continue for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by another illness.
1 out of 10 of all cases will have symptoms for at least 12 weeks. Long COVID is a multi-system illness with over 200 symptoms that can occur in a variety of combinations and fluctuate in both predictable and unpredictable flare-ups and remission patterns.
Extreme exhaustion (fatigue), post-exertional symptom exacerbation (PESE) problems with memory and concentration (brain fog) are some of the most common symptoms of Long COVID.
Fatigue is a feeling of extreme exhaustion and is the most common symptom.
Post-exertional symptom exacerbation (PESE) is a disabling and often delayed exhaustion disproportionate to the effort made. The activity that can trigger this worsening of symptoms can be something that was easily tolerated before, such as:
Other common symptoms include:
What is the Rehabilitation strategy for Long COVID?
The goal of rehabilitation is to provide a collection of therapies that will help people operate better in everyday activities, recover or adjust, reach their full potential, and participate in education, job, enjoyment, and important life roles.
Although rehabilitation for individuals recovering from COVID-19 is different for everyone and should be done under the guidance of an expert, the WHO recommends that Long COVID rehabilitation includes educating people about resuming everyday activities conservatively, at an appropriate pace that is safe and manageable for energy levels within the limits of current symptoms, and exertion should not be pushed to the point of fatigue or symptom exacerbation.
The role of exercise in the rehabilitation strategy for Long COVID includes:
Pacing is a safe self-activity management method that has been effectively used to avoid PESE and symptom triggers.
STOP trying to push your limits. Overexertion may harm your recovery.
REST is your most important management strategy. Do not wait until you feel symptoms to rest.
PACE your daily activities and cognitive activities.
Although there are many benefits in exercising, exerting yourself without adequate rest can do more harm than good in your recovery journey. Follow these tips to maximize your routine:
1. Learn about your energy reserve/reservoir
2. Learn how much energy you have
3. Learn how to use the 4 Ps to help you plan your activities
4. Learn how to save energy
5. Learn to rest between activities
Breathing exercises might help your lungs recover after contracting COVID-19. Breathing exercises can help you deal with worry and stress while also restoring diaphragm function and increasing lung capacity. Breathing should be easy and silent; if you can hear yourself breathing, you're probably working too hard.
Our specialized Physiotherapy programme is designed to treat various symptoms of Long COVID.
The programme can be run online via our secure telehealth platform or in person at our centre under the supervision of our experienced physiotherapist who will conduct a thorough assessment and derive a treatment plan based on individual impairment and functional capacities.
Before you start the programme, it is important that you go through an initial screening with a licensed Medical Doctor to ensure that you are suitable to begin a recovery programme.
If you would like us to recommend a suitable doctor who can perform this screening, do reach out to us.
For more information call us on +91-11-42120200 or book an appointment.
Written by: Anurag Ghildiyal (Physiotherapist)
A Delhi University National institute graduate, Anurag is a seasoned Physiotherapist specializing in musculoskeletal domain with expertise in low back pain and neck pain cases. He is a crusader for the ideology of the movement as the medicine of the future.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he functioned as a tele- rehabilitation expert, guaranteeing that treatment and care are available for everybody in difficult stretches.
Come to our Physiotherapy clinic in Defence Colony, Delhi for a chat with one of our expert physiotherapist to plan the right Physiotherapy treatment for you to get rid of pain in no time.