How Physical Therapy Can Treat Long-Haul COVID

June 28, 2021

It’s been over a year since COVID-19 began spreading in the U.S. As the world continues to learn more about the virus’s impact on the body, we’re also becoming keenly aware of how physical therapy can help in post COVID-19 recovery. 

For what are being referred to as “long-haul” patients and those who spend prolonged periods in the ICU, physical therapists can help patients return to the physical activities they were able to do before becoming ill from the virus. At Alliance, we have a team of physical therapists who specialize in COVID recovery programs and they’re available virtually as well as in clinics across the country. 

Physical therapy can support long-haul COVID recovery

If you or someone you know is still suffering from long-haul COVID symptoms, it may come as a surprise to know that physical therapy can help. If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:


  • Fatigue or difficulty completing basic daily routines.
  • Difficulty getting back to regular exercise routines.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Inability to return to work.
  • Changes in balance or frequent dizziness.
  • New joint pains or muscle weaknesses from inactivity or extended periods of time in bed.
  • Long-term symptoms like: Difficulty with thinking and concentration (i.e. “brain fog”), depression, muscle pain, headaches, intermittent fever, fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)

You could benefit from a comprehensive and tailored physical therapy program. Alliance Physical Therapy employs experienced physical therapists who can help you return to physical activity and exercise after recuperating from COVID, are experiencing deconditioning from staying sedentary during quarantine, or experiencing long-term consequences of COVID. 

What to Expect from our COVID Recovery Program

Subjective Patient Evaluations

In terms of evaluating a potential long-haul COVID patient, it’s important for your PT to identify what your prior level of function and physical capacity is so you can establish clear and realistic goals. 

They’ll want to know if you’ve been hospitalized, if you spent time in the ICU and if so, how many days, and whether you were on a ventilator or had any respiratory support. 

Physicians are seeing myocardial infarctions, myocarditis, and even strokes occurring in some long-haul COVID patients. That’s why it’s also critical to speak to your medical background, medical history, and what your experience has been like while they’ve had COVID-19. 

Equally important is the knowledge of if you’re on beta blockers or any cardiac medications that could affect a clinician’s ability to be using heart rate as an indicator or a monitor and a measurement for physical activity.

Objective Patient Evaluations

Objectively, your physical therapist will have to monitor your vitals, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, and perceived exertion. Additionally, your PT will want to perform a full system analysis, testing your range of motion and any restrictions on joints and flexibility. Overall, your PT should provide a thorough evaluation of what you’ve experienced, what you’re currently facing, and where you’d like to be as soon as possible. 

We offer research-based physical therapy programs from highly educated and trained clinicians to assist with your continued recovery. We use a variety of customized approaches to help maximize your ability to recover and get back to your own personal goals. 

Our long-haul COVID recovery program treats:

  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, respiratory recovery
  • Decreased mobility and ability to walk
  • Overall weakness and generalized deconditioning
  • Pain, joint stiffness, and other musculoskeletal conditions
  • Balance and neurological challenges
  • Worsening of comorbidities
  • Phased return to activity to safely perform daily activities and more.

Contact an Alliance physical therapist today for long-haul COVID recovery

If you’d like to start treatment, virtual care visits can begin as soon as you’re matched with one of our virtual PTs. We are here to support respiratory recovery when and where patients need us most.

To be treated in the clinic or at home, patients must have medical clearance according to CDC guidelines:

  •  At least 72 hrs without a fever
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (shortness of breath   and cough)
  •  Minimum of 10 days since your symptoms started

Contact us today to start your road to recovery!