ELORA – For many people who have had COVID-19, their symptoms persist for months after they test negative for the virus.
It is unknown just how many people have experienced “long COVID” symptoms, but they have become debilitating for many.
Recently, Eramosa Physiotherapy has developed a “long-hauler” COVID-19 rehabilitation program at its locations in Elora, Acton, Burlington, Cambridge, Georgetown, Guelph and Orangeville.
Jackie Sinkeldam, a registered physiotherapist and senior partner at Eramosa Physiotherapy, says the clinic has seen around five long COVID patients thus far.
“The important thing for people to know is that there is help available,” Sinkeldam said.
“Physiotherapy as a whole has an important role in recovery.”
Sinkeldam says even after people recover from the virus, it can be difficult to return to basic daily activities. This is often the result of de-conditioning.
“It is common for these patients to arrive very deconditioned,” Sinkeldam said. “This often causes a serious loss of mobility.”
She added, “The problem is that many people don’t know how to start a progressive rehab program..
“For many people (who have had COVID-19 or are experiencing long-haul symptoms) even getting out of a chair can cause them to lose their breath.”
Sinkeldam notes that COVID long-haulers may also experience “flare-ups”, where suddenly their symptoms appear again after having mostly subsided.
According to Sinkeldam, the thoracic spine area can become stiff in long-haulers. They have also seen residual neck stiffness in some patients.
Sinkeldam noted that neck stiffness in COVID long-haulers can potentially be caused by ventilator use. The clinic has utilized deep-breathing techniques to help combat this.
Other techniques used in long-haul rehabilitation include mobilizing stiff thoracic and rib joints after periods of inactivity, as well as thoracic stretching exercises.
The long-haul COVID rehab program is expected to evolve as the science and research evolves.
“It is important for us to recognize that the program will be fluid,” Sinkeldam said. “This is not something that is never going to change.”
For more information visit https://eramosaphysio.com.