Post-COVID Symptoms: Does Physical Therapy Help?

May 19, 2021

Jamie Miller

by Jamie Miller
PT, DPT, CKTP | Litchfield Park Location

Testing positive for COVID-19 has impacted everyone to one degree or another, whether us or someone close. However, a full recovery has been a completely different issue for many. Labeled as long-haulers, no, they don’t drive heavy cargo across the country, but they are heavily burdened by symptoms that persist for months, driving them to utter frustration and exhaustion. Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection (PASC) may affect up to one in three people infected with COVID-19.

What is Post-COVID Syndrome or PASC?

It’s becoming more apparent that a subset of people who’ve “recovered” from COVID-19 can experience symptoms that linger well beyond testing negative for the virus. This condition has begun to be referred to as Post-COVID Syndrome or PASC. The virus can damage the lungs, heart, and brain, which increases the risk of long-term health problems. Just as COVID-19 itself can come with a range of symptoms, so, too, can Post-COVID Syndrome.

Patient expresses shoulder pain to physical therapist.

Most Common Post-COVID Syndrome Symptoms Include:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain
  • Brain fog, including an inability to concentrate and impaired memory
  • Loss of taste and/or smell
  • Smell or taste distortion
  • Sleep issues

Cases have shown that symptoms can last anywhere from a few weeks, to months, to even years for some people. These lingering symptoms can undoubtedly impact the quality of life, but there are options to help mitigate these effects.

What is the Foothills Post-COVID Syndrome Rehabilitation Program?

Woman works through obstacle.

This program is created specifically for each patient. Our professionally trained Physical Therapist, working with your physician, will take your symptoms, activity level, and goals into consideration to tailor a rehabilitation program that is specific to you.

Whether you are looking to return to work, get back to physical activity, or get back to your normal activities, this program aims to NEGATE the long-term effects of COVID-19. Our primary goal is to restore patients to their prior level of function, reduce muscle wasting/atrophy due to de-conditioning, and improve cardiovascular and pulmonary function.

Post-COVID Rehabilitation Includes:

  • An initial evaluation with your therapist to evaluate your current baseline and discuss your personal goals.
  • Using diaphragmatic breathing and therapeutic breathing techniques that will help with physical fitness/exercise.
  • A 6-8 week conditioning program covering both aerobic and resistance training, balance and fall training exercises.

Do I need a referral?

Arizona is a jurisdiction that allows direct access to physical therapy services. This means that you are able to be evaluated and treated by a physical therapist without a prescription from your physician or healthcare professional. However, some insurance companies may require a physician referral to have therapy costs covered.

If you tested positive for COVID-19 over 28 days and are still experiencing symptoms, we recommend speaking with your healthcare provider to see if a guided COVID recovery program could be beneficial for you. Long-haulers need to get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, try to limit stress, and eat healthfully.

How do I make an appointment?

The following Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy locations are currently treating Post-COVID Syndrome:

Litchfield Park 



Sun City West

We’re committed to keeping our patients, employees, and community safe. For our current Cov-19 Policies click here.

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