Physical Therapy for Patients Recovering from Covid-19


The COVID-19 pandemic has innumerous physical, mental, and cognitive effects dissimilar symptoms varying from person to person. Many people have lost their lives due to complications arising from the coronavirus. However, patients recovering from Covid-19 who have suffered severe symptoms of this disease require rehabilitation with the help of multiple specialists, depending on the severity and impact of the illness.

What is Post-Covid Rehabilitation?

A customized program specifically developed to facilitate mobility and restore normal functionality is called rehabilitation. The residual effects of the novel coronavirus infection can be managed using rehabilitation promoting healing and restoring body functions. Physiotherapy plays a key role in this rehabilitative process facilitating early discharge, supporting the patient, and improving his physical and psychological abilities reducing the risk of readmission.

Many people who have been infected with the coronavirus are at a risk of long term impairment and disability. The extent of impairment is unknown, however, the need for rehabilitation remains clear while recovering and post-recovery from COVID-19.

Recovering from COVID-19

Rehabilitation aims at reducing disability and optimize functionality in individuals with health conditions post recovery from the coronavirus. 

COVID-19 has debilitating effects lowering muscle strength and agility and restricting joint and limb movements. Bed rest causes loss of muscle strength which poses the threat of developing muscle atrophy. Along with decreased strength, COVID-19 is responsible for causing inflammation in the heart and muscle lining which can trigger cardiac disease and failure.

Physical therapy

A physical therapist can help calculate and maintain the target heart rate by ensuring that the patient’s exercises are planned keeping their physical tolerance and level of fitness in mind. Muscle stiffness and pain is a common side effect seen in people recovering from the coronavirus. 

The post-corona state of the body is a fragile state where overexertion can worsen the symptoms. A physical therapist can help you track and monitor your heart rate while you follow a customized exercise regime. Your physical therapist can recommend specific core strengthening exercises and rep counts to make your rehabilitation safe and effective for you. The physical therapist is an expert when it comes to equipments required to facilitate your physical health and can think creatively to build a plan that caters to your specific needs.Physical therapy helps mobilize restricted joints and limbs and increases free range of motion by managing pain and reducing muscle stiffness through hands on manual therapy techniques. It should be noted that the post-COVID workout plan would be different from the workout out plan charted by a gym trainer for a normal person. The post-COVID workout plan will make sure that you challenge yourself while staying within the physical limits through right exercises.

Benefits of Physiotherapy in Post-COVID Rehabilitation?

Physical therapy can be carried out for a span of three to five hours in patients recovering from COVID-19 while ensuring their vitals remain stable. A physical therapist helps determine the muscle loss that can be caused due to heavy medications and bed rest. They can plan customized exercises and rehabilitative programs using various physical therapy treatments that target affected areas to prioritize strengthening muscles, joints, and improving overall heart health.

Physical therapy increases flexibility reducing stiffness and blood circulation which enhances healing within the body. The blood flow in the body provides more oxygen to the affected organs helping them restore functionality. This can be done through cardiovascular and core strengthening exercises that target building up muscle mass. Heart or lung damage are time sensitive issues that can improve with time if they receive immediate care and attention.

Physical therapy rehabilitation helps in optimizing health and functioning outcomes by improving recovery and reducing disability. Rehabilitation addresses and improves the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, and pulmonary impairments. Rehabilitation can be beneficial for the elderly who are more likely to  develop severe illness and complications helping them lead independent lives. The pandemic revealed the shortage of medical facilities, especially oxygen tanks and hospital beds. Physical therapy helps in early discharge from hospitals which unburdens the healthcare industry especially when the pandemic reaches its peak in a country or an area.

Physiotherapy Precautions during Post-COVID Rehab

It is crucial to track your vitals and not go overboard during exercises. Keep a pulse oximeter handy to monitor your oxygen level and heart rate before beginning your workout and during breaks. Ensure that you cover a variety of physio exercises as long as you are stable clinically. In the case of chest pain, dizziness, exhaustion, or palpitation, stop exercising immediately.

Lifestyle and  diet tips for improving mental and physical health should be followed. 

  • A proper REM sleep for 7 hours plays a critical role in recovery. 
  • Avoid sugary and alcoholic beverages as it reduces your sleep.
  • Follow a healthy and balanced diet after consulting a dietician.
  • Perform physio exercises regularly with regular doctor’s consultation.
  • Avoid consumption of caffeine during noon as it remains in your body for several hours and causes insomnia.

About the Author

Marilyn Jackson is a freelance web content writer helping solopreneurs and small businesses build their online presence through friendly, long-form and shareable blog posts. She has expertise in writing about the healthcare industry for many years. Other than writing, she enjoys travelling to adventurous places and explore new food.


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