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Columbus physical therapy program helps COVID long haulers get back on their feet

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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) – As new variants of COVID continue to emerge, some people who no longer have COVID are still living with the symptoms.

Researchers say up to 50% of those who get COVID-19 will experience symptoms longer than four weeks and even up to one year after infection.

For Bob Johnson, things like playing golf is a luxury. After testing positive for COVID on September 1, Johnson says things like his senses and energy levels haven’t been the same.

“I still can’t smell anything. Taste is a little bit different – it’s not all the way where it was before,” Johnson said. “My energy’s still not where it used to be – get tired a little bit quicker than before.”

According to Laura Sherwood, a physical therapist at St. Francis Rehabilitation Center, those symptoms are signs of long-term COVID. She says many people don’t realize how severe it can be.

“They think that, ‘This is normal. I just had the virus – I’m trying to get back to normal’,” Sherwood said of COVID patients not realizing they may be long-haulers.

Sherwood says the St. Francis Rehabilitation Center in Columbus offers a two-part screening exam.

The first part examining your vitals and the second part of the screening test measuring things like how many times you can sit to stand in thirty seconds.

Johnson says his post-COVID symptoms have begun to wane. But for some, the road to recovery is very slow. Sherwood says the severity of COVID’s chronic aftermath can vary.

“Breathing and the fatigue probably is the worst,” she said. “It’s like just walking into the building – they’re short of breath.”

But people struggling to fulfil basic life duties should seek help.

“Most people realize it’s important whenever they can’t do what they normally used to be able to do prior to having the virus,” Sherwood said.

If you’ve had COVID and think you could be struggling with chronic COVID symptoms, call the St. Francis Rehabilitation Center at 706-256-0825 for a free screening.

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