2. Shortness of Breath. Individuals recovering from COVID-19 may present with inspiratory muscle weakness leading to decreased ventilation of the lungs, decreased ribcage expansion, and over time progressive deconditioning.
Solution: Patients may benefit from inspiratory muscle training (IMT), such as utilizing diaphragmatic breaths, to not only strengthen the muscles of respiration, but also improve autonomic nervous system activity and provide a cardiorespiratory training effect.
3. Musculoskeletal Weakness and Pain. Global pronounced muscle weakness and pain is a common finding for patients post COVID-19. This global muscle weakness is environmentally induced (bedrest during healing, confinement during quarantine period) and is a result from the body’s reaction to COVID-19 viral infection (fever, muscle wasting, etc.)
Solution: Individuals who present with global muscle weakness may benefit from a strengthening routine which optimizes current performance and increases physical muscle mass back to previous levels. PTs can educate patients in good postural alignment to reduce stress/pain through areas of the body.
4. Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. Patients recovering from COVID-19 may experience problems in many major body systems, including the pelvic floor. Did you know the pelvic floor relies on the diaphragm to help regulate the abdominal pressures of the trunk? The respiratory system and the pelvic floor work in conjunction with one another, to manage abdominal pressure.
Solution: Through pelvic floor PT, patients are able to improve respiratory and pelvic floor strength, coordination, and motor control. These groups of muscles also assist patients with breathing, posture, and movement, making daily activities easier.