Physical therapy helping long COVID patients

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – New research is helping pave the way for better treatment for those suffering from long COVID.

Physical therapy technology used for concussion is putting these patients on the fast track to recovery.

“Long COVID is a condition that surprisingly a large number of people have had after they’ve gotten the COVID infection. Some of the patients that we’ve seen in our research study have had some really debilitating effects from having long COVID,” said Brandon Davidson, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Denver.

According to the CDC, 1 in 13 adults in the U.S. has long COVID symptoms after first contracting the virus.

Some symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath and cognitive problems like memory and haziness lasting longer than three months.

Now researchers are utilizing neurological studies, similar to when someone has a concussion, as part of the treatment.

“Really that was our lead into long COVID. Because post-concussion syndrome looks a lot like long COVID,” Davidson said.

They focus on eye movements and tracking, along with head movement.

“We’ve taken a vestibular base rehab approach to treating people with long COVID and various other dysfunctions for having the virus and not recovering,” said physical therapist Dan Soot.

That means using specific sets of eye movement and tracking, along with cognitive brain type tasks in order to retrain the sensory system associated with balance.

“And we’re getting people 60 to 70 percent better on a six-week time frame. on average,” Soot said.

The cost of treatment can be covered through insurance because it typically qualifies under general physical therapy.

About the Author:

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.