Tallahassee physical therapy clinic seeing patients trying to work past long-haul COVID-19
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Researchers are still learning more about why some COVID patients struggle with long-term symptoms, but local physical therapists say they’re seeing more people come in to get help.
According to the CDC, one-third of COVID patients could be dealing with long-term effects, including fatigue, shortness of breath and joint pain.
Some patients are coming to Tallahassee Orthopedics and Sports Physical Therapy just a few weeks after recovering from COVID, noticing ongoing issues with fatigue or having problems moving.
Others say they don’t notice up to a month after having no symptoms and then start noticing that normal, every day chores are increasingly more difficult and they need help.
Jamie Averett is taking each step in stride.
“I was diagnosed with a dysautonomic disorder called POTS, which really has changed the course and trajectory of my life and my family’s life,” Averett said.
POTS is a rare blood circulation disorder that causes extreme fatigue, fainting and, as Averett describes, the feeling of a heart attack.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, it could be triggered by COVID-19.
Averett was hospitalized with COVID in January of last year. For almost a year, daily chores like folding laundry, or even getting out of bed, was a challenge.
“Just those everyday pieces of being a parent and engaging with her life is one of the things I cherish most,” Averett said.
Averett has been going to TOPST since April and says the progress of simple exercises has helped get her life back.
“Just being able to go shopping with my daughter, who is in high school this year. We went homecoming dress shopping last weekend. I would not have been able to do that before,” she said.
Averett is not alone.
“That I’m not able to lift like I was going to before or move like I was going to before, I’m a little bit weaker, I’m having some more joint pain,” said Jenny Maphis, TOSPT Regional Director.
Maphis says they’re seeing more COVID long-haulers seeking treatment.
“They’re able to walk now further along, they’re able to get where, therapy is challenging the limits of them every day, helping to push them to be a better, stronger person,” Maphis explained.
Averett says the effects of POTS don’t go away and she’ll likely need therapy for the rest of her life.
But each small step is never taken for granted.
“Even though I have bad days, my good days are good days and I’m so grateful for those.”
In an effort to raise awareness for the impacts of long-term COVID symptoms, TOPST is now offering free PT screenings for long-haulers.
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