Bhopal: Though the integral role of medical specialists, nurses, pathologists and other health workers in treating critically-ill Covid-19 patients is known, little has been said about the very important role played by physiotherapists in assisting these patients towards full recovery. Physiotherapists not only assist medical specialists in the course of the treatment but also have a definite preventive role for non-Covid patients.
Most Physiotherapists spend their maximum time in ICU treating Covid-19 patients. During this time, being a physiotherapist we have to remain in close contact with the patients to teach them breathing exercises to help expel mucus that has been building up in their lungs.
The most crucial role which we physiotherapists generally play in aiding the recovery of a Covid-19 patient is in facilitating easier breathing through inspiratory muscle strengthening exercises and removing excessive mucus from the respiratory tract.
All these procedures require physiotherapists to remain in close contact with the patient, who is likely to continuously cough while he or she is taught breathing exercises and positioning. Hence, the physiotherapist involved in the procedure need to remain extra cautious and wear high quality PPE kits.
There are some Covid positive but asymptomatic patients as well in the ICU. These could be the patients of neurological surgery or an orthopedic surgery who need postoperative physiotherapy to truly recover, as one does after a major surgery usually. We cannot delay any patients physiotherapy just because they have Covid-19, as it will deteriorate their co-morbidities and make them more vulnerable to the disease.
Physiotherapy also helps in the common problems which even people not infected with Covid-19 are facing, like neck, back and shoulder pain. A physiotherapist can educate the people about the ergonomically correct postural patterns to reduce the load on the spine and joints. Regular exercise maintains the joint integrity and the blood circulation which prevents the muscles and joints from getting stiff.
In the near future, there will be a great demand for physiotherapy treatment for people recovering from Covid-19. Globally, the role of Physiotherapists has increased in prestige during the Covid-19 crisis. The demand for health will continue to grow in the coming months. We have to make ourselves prepared for that and being a dynamic individual we are ready for it.