Rehabilitation is unequivocally recognised to improve functioning, breathlessness, muscle strength and quality of life. We don´t presently know what the needs will be for people recovering from COVID-19. However, we can surely estimate that there will be significant rehabilitation needs, particularly for those with other underlying diseases. We are also beginning to understand more about the health issues of people with Long COVID. These are people, often young and healthy, who may have contracted COVID-19 weeks or even months before but are still displaying symptoms. In one study of 143 Italian COVID-19 sufferers. As many as 87 per cent still had at least one symptom six weeks later.
The severity of the initial infection appears unrelated to the possibility of a lingering illness, making it difficult to predict who will have long-term problems. Because the SARS-CoV-2 virus can attack many different organs of the body, the symptoms of Long COVID-19 are diverse.
Some suffer from a deep sense of fatigue unresolved by rest or sleep; for others brain fog and concentration are problems. In some cases, there may be residual neurological issues such as headaches and dizziness and persistent loss of smell or taste. For many, breathing problems and coughs can persist for months and, if someone was unwell with a severe initial COVID-19 infection, it is highly likely they will be suffering from muscle weakness, of the limbs and the breathing muscles. Physiotherapy can be effective for many of these problems, which is why the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is campaigning that everyone has a #RighttoRehab.
At HC Marbella we are developing multi-disciplinary programmes of care for people post COVID-19. If you want to talk further about any of these issues, you can find me at Atlantic Clinic, HC Marbella or call me directly on (+34) 699 501 190.
Rachel Garrod (Ph.D. Physiotherapist) specialises in physiotherapy for older people with chronic respiratory disease and other chronic illnesses.
Tel. (+34) 699 501 190