Physical Therapy and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Recommended for Patients With Long COVID

By Dr. Chris Brehm, PT, DPT

In previous blogs, I wrote about how physical therapy, vestibular therapy, and pulmonary rehabilitation are well positioned to help patients recover from residual COVID 19 symptoms.  Since then, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines about how providers should treat patients with post-COVID conditions.  Within these guidelines, the CDC stated that “creating a comprehensive rehabilitation plan may be helpful for some patients [recovering from] COVID 19 and might include physical and occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, vocational therapy, as well as neurologic rehabilitation for cognitive symptoms.”

Although these guidelines are continuously changing as more information becomes available, the CDC created a long list of clinical considerations to properly manage these persistent symptoms. 

Late effect COVID 19 symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Impaired daily activities

A patient may have any of these symptoms in addition to others not listed here, even in the absence of laboratory or imaging findings.  The CDC emphasized how important it is for providers to “listen to and validate patient complaints and symptoms.”

The new CDC guidelines emphasize what I’ve talked about previously – PTs are perfectly positioned to treat patients experiencing post COVID conditions that are musculoskeletal in nature such as fatigue, muscle pain and weakness, impaired daily function and mobility.  Our pulmonary rehabilitation program is perfectly positioned to treat patients experiencing post COVID cardiorespiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, deconditioning.

At Lifeline we strive to make a difference every day in our patients and their communities.  We have refined our physical therapy and pulmonary rehab program to create a post COVID program to address our region’s needs.  Initiating or resuming a program after a COVID 19 diagnosis should be done under the supervision of a therapist to ensure safe progression and prevent worsening the condition.  Contact us or visit our website at to see if we can help you.

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