• Caitlyn Smith- Physiotherapist

Covid 19- what does this mean for our body?

Did you know that Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists can do more than treat Musculoskeletal dysfunction?

Physios and EPs also have a large role in cardiorespiratory function. The Cardiorespiratory system is the heart and lung system. It is responsible for taking in oxygen, sending it around to our organs and muscles in the form of blood and removing any bi-products the body doesn’t need, like carbon dioxide. Covid-19 has been shown to impact this system.

Most people who contract COVID-19 recover within the next few weeks. Unfortunately, there are some people who are still suffering various symptoms after the virus has left their system. This has been named “Long COVID”, “Post COVID syndrome” or “Post COVID conditions” by health professionals and the broader public. The symptoms of long COVID vary, fluctuate in severity and can relapse.

This condition is diagnosed if the symptoms last longer than 3 months post infection, and cannot be explained by any other diagnosis. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction and fatigue.

It has been shown that Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists can play an important role in rehabilitating those living with long COVID. They are able to assist with finding a happy medium between too much or too little activity.

World Physiotherapy has recently released some great information for Physios and the general public about how best to rehab long COVID.

What to expect for the rehab journey?

  • Exercise should commence with a stop, rest, pace model to ensure post exercise exacerbation symptoms are well managed.

  • Returning to everyday activities should be done conservatively and at a safe and manageable pace to maintain energy levels.

  • The aim of rehab is to stabilize symptoms and calm symptom fluctuations, reduce symptom severity and improve daily functioning.

5 key safety messages:

• Post-Exertional Symptom Exacerbation:

  • You will need to be screened for symptom exacerbation before commencing any exercise program with us at Gen Health to ensure your safety and comfort. This includes immediate exacerbation or in the days following the appointment.

• Cardiac Impairment:

  • Your therapist will need to exclude cardiac impairment before using physical activity (including exercise or sport) as rehabilitation interventions with continued monitoring.

• Oxygen Desaturation:

  • Your oxygen saturation will be monitored before, during and after any exercise for signs of reduced oxygen saturation in response to physical activity interventions.

• Syncope (feeling faint or light headed):

  • Before recommending physical activity, individuals will be screened for this and will continue to be monitored for signs and symptoms of orthostatic intolerance in response to physical activity interventions.

If you or someone you know is experiencing long COVID symptoms, we would encourage you to chat to us at Gen Health and your GP for best management advice.