COVID-19 Rehabilitation

Our evidence-based brain health and physical rehab program for former COVID-19 patients focuses on helping people regain their cognitive and physical abilities after the illness to improve quality of life. We understand the numerous challenges facing this patient population. Our first and most important actions that we take is to LISTEN and BELIEVE what you say.  We want to learn about you and what is going on in your life and the challenges you are facing. We also focus on patient education and helping each individual manage their daily activities. Contrary to traditional physical therapy rehab programs that gradually progress each patient.  Covid-19 Rehab turns that 180 degrees. The science is now showing the best and often most difficult step is to Stop, Rest, and Pace.  For active individuals this can be challenge and we will be with you literally every step of the way to support and encourage you and help you in your recovery. While most people make a full recovery from COVID-19, some can develop cognitive challenges and prolonged physical symptoms that don’t go away over time. They have, unfortunately, become known as “long haulers. These symptoms may include fatigue, general muscle weakness and balance problems, breathing issues, cognitive problems such as loss of short-term memory, forgetting words, difficulty with attention, or processing information that is now referred to as brain fog. Post Covid-19 patients just don’t feel right and struggle with getting “back to normal,” whatever that may be. Some may have visited different health care providers that either do not believe these symptoms or haven’t been able to offer any solutions. We understand this frustration and are here to help.

The Atlantis Physical Therapy Approach to Covid-19 Rehab

After listening to our patients and doing extensive research, it has become clear that there are multiple systems in the body that are affected by the Corona Virus. This requires a comprehensive approach based on evidence-based treatment programs combined with years of clinical expertise. Following the current guidelines, protocols, and research of the CDC, World Health Organization, and leading health care institutions we have developed a multi-pronged approach to create personalized treatment programs to help relieve these symptoms and improve our patients’ overall health and functioning.

Health Assessment

We start with detailed health assessments based on the current recommended standard of care for post Covid-19 patients to accurately and thoroughly document health status and history. This foundation establishes a baseline to measure improvements in our customized treatment plans. These areas include:
  • Neurological/Cognitive Status
  • Physiological Status
  • General Strength and Balance
The functional status and abilities of each patient will determine the plan of care that will focus on breathing/respiratory improvements, fatigue and strength, along with cognitive performance.

Breathing and Respiratory Function

Thankfully, the 02 levels of our patients are good, yet it is difficult for them to catch their breath, whether it's simply walking, doing daily tasks, or trying to exercise. The fatigue experienced doesn’t go away after resting. Just going to the market or running errands takes everything out of them. Playing with the grandkids is not an option. Unable to exercise the body can become deconditioned and it’s frustrating. The good news is research is pointing to the muscles involved in breathing have been damaged from the virus. We say this is good news because we have therapies and tools based on WHO guidelines for Covid-19 recovery that can be used in the rehab process to strengthen these muscles. These therapies have long been approved and used for other health problems including COPD, blood pressure, stroke, asthma, heart failure, and neuromuscular diseases. They have also been used by elite athletes to enhance sports performance. Think about exercising or strength training before Covid-19 and how you would get muscle fatigue at the end. Chances are your breathing muscles were fatigued first thus unable to deliver the blood flow and ultimately the oxygen needed to your limbs in order to sustain your performance. By training these muscles, it allows the body to perform better and reduce fatigue. The thought is the same thing is happening with the recovery of Covid-19 patients. Once you begin improving the function of your breathing muscles, you will then be able to increase your overall strength and balance and reduce fatigue. If your legs and core are not strong, it affects your ability to balance and increases the risk of falls.

Strength and Balance

Atlantis Physical Therapy is known for our comprehensive strength and balance program, especially targeted to our senior population. Using a variety of specially designed equipment and aids, we incorporate our rehab treatment with real-life simulations to address deficits in a safe manner. Our balance program also assesses any vestibular or ocular impairments that may affect balance. Additionally, SMARTfit, our state-of-the-art evidence-based dual-task system provides another level of treatment that combines motor and cognitive training to improve strengthening and balance. In fact, it has only been in recent years that researchers have linked cognitive performance and balance issues.

Brain Health and Performance

Those with ongoing neurologic issues refer to it as “brain fog” with symptoms that may include:
  • Lack of concentration
  • Feeling fuzzy or sluggish in their thinking
  • Lack of mental clarity or confusion
  • Inability to recall words
  • Headaches
Researchers are working around the clock to learn more about the causes of these ongoing symptoms that are affecting a significant portion of the population. However, if you, a friend, or a loved one suffer from the ongoing effects of the coronavirus, all you care about is getting help. Until recently, the medical community has not had a lot of options to resolve these symptoms. But now, the good news is Atlantis Physical Therapy has a variety of treatment programs that can help.

Identifying Treatment Areas for Brain Fog

Cambridge Brain Sciences (CBS), a leading web-based platform for the assessment of cognitive function recently released a year-long study in the Lancet that pinpoints the nature and extent of cognitive deficits that predominately affect problem-solving, attention, and speed of processing information. This is of particular importance because we regularly use this platform and are able to run the same assessments on our patients.

Click here to try a sample cognitive assessment and book an appointment

(Note: This is an online test hosted on the CBS Site)
Now, that we have research that shows which areas of the brain are affected, we have the tools to address these issues through our vestibular, ocular, and dual-task training system called SMARTFit. We are proud to say that we are the only Torrance and South Bay facility to offer both the Cambridge Brain Sciences cognitive assessment and SmartFit programs.

Dual Tasking: The Next Level in Increasing Brain Neuroplasticity

The SMARTFit dual-tasking system offers a fast track to significantly enhance the mental and physical performance we use in everyday life. This is achieved by using gamification coupled with a technique known as dual tasking, which is the simultaneous combing of cognitive and motor tasks to increase the neuroplasticity in the brain. The predesigned cognitive-motor exercises and learning programming can be fine-tuned to meet the exact development needs of each person regardless of age or ability, which is ideal for those recovering from the long-term effects of Covid-19. The SMARTfit system is easy to learn, but difficult to master. Dual tasking has been shown to increase cognitive enhancements for concussion, age-related decline, early Alzheimer’s Disease, stroke, autism, Parkinson’s Disease and other conditions. Research partners for SMARTfit include Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, USC, Harvard Health, and Rancho Los Alamigos.

Why is Post-COVID Recovery so Important?

Patients that are hospitalized receive limited therapy services, with the primary goal to maintain mobility. Upon discharge, post-COVID-19 patients continue to require certain skilled services that address decreased endurance and fatigue, pain, muscle wasting, and often neurological deficits that have been referred to as brain fog. There is also strong evidence, as cited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to support that physical activity improves or maintains cardio respiratory and muscular fitness, bone and functional health, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases, and cognitive decline.

Our Goal is to Break the Cycle of Inactivity

Our Post-acute Covid-19 Rehab Program at Atlantis Physical Therapy is designed according to the needs of each patient with the goal of helping them return to a productive life at home or work, increase activity levels, and general social functioning. Our highly experienced therapists can discuss the best pathway forward for each individual based on impairments and functional capacity. If you or someone you know is recovering from Covid-19 and experiencing fatigue, loss of function, or brain fog due to the effects of the coronavirus, call us today to schedule an evaluation to determine how we can help. Call us today at 310.325.7404.