It’s incredible to think that a year ago, Covid-19 was just beginning to take hold in the UK. We’d not yet experienced a lockdown, the virus had only just been declared by WHO on 11th March as a pandemic, and we had no idea that ‘long covid’ would go on to be as severe or affect so many people.
Much has been learned since then.
Here at Air Physiotherapy we’ve supported a number of patients through their long covid recovery, and one such journey has recently been featured in the press! We’re grateful to Jasmine and Rebecca for giving their patient stories on our long covid treatment.
Jasmine described her long covid experience incredibly eloquently in an article featured in Stylist magazine.
Jasmine, a 31-year-old life coach and avid yoga practitioner, was one of the earliest people to contract Covid-19. She also has the unenviable accolade of having one of the longest-standing cases in the UK. Her rollercoaster journey through periods of feeling better to relapses of extreme fatigue, the physical pain in her lungs that she describes as a “firestorm”, and even PTSD as she struggles to come to terms with the mental health impact of the ongoing symptoms are traumatic and tough to read.
After months of trying to resolve how she was feeling, she describes coming to see us at Air Physiotherapy where she has been receiving the same treatment given to people who have lung disease as a ‘game changer’.
View the full article by clicking on the image below:
We first met Rebecca over video call in July 2020 following her enquiry via our website. Rebecca is a 46-year-old mum of two who was previously fit and well, and working full time.
Although she was never tested, Rebecca believes she had covid-19 in March 2020. She had all the typical symptoms – a dry cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell and she was extremely fatigued. Rebecca’s initial symptoms eased within a few weeks, but she was left with breathlessness and fatigue like she had never felt before.
This persisted for 4 months.
She was asking herself, ‘how have I gone from doing high intensity sessions with a personal trainer 3 times a week
to not being able to climb the stairs without having to stop halfway?’
Rebecca had tried to help herself by following some breathing exercises she found online but these hadn’t had any impact so far.
Coming to Air Physiotherapy for help
Before her first consultation, we asked Rebecca to film herself breathing whilst lying down relaxing and we also asked her to complete some questionnaires. These tasks aid our virtual assessment via video call.
During her first video consultation, Rebecca told us that her main breathing complaints were:
- ‘I’m unable to get a satisfying breath’,
- ‘I feel as though I can’t fill or expand my lungs properly’,
- ‘I have to sigh all the time or take catch-up breaths’, ‘
- I feel chest tightness and restriction’,
- ‘I feel shortness of breath doing the littlest things like unloading the washing machine’.
Rebecca’s breathing looked uncomfortable while she was talking and she had to regularly stop for big breaths of air. We call this ‘air hunger’.
Following assessment, we diagnosed Rebecca as having breathing pattern dysfunction. We explained that this can occur following covid-19, or indeed any infection or period of illness. It can also occur for a number of other reasons and is more common than people realise. Rebecca was relieved to learn that tailored breathing retraining exercises from us could help her, so we got her started on some treatment straight away.
The following week, we reviewed Rebecca again by video call. She had been practicing our exercises as we advised, and the frequency of her breathing symptoms had drastically reduced. She was able to talk in full sentences without stopping for air and the chest tightness had eased considerably.
There was still some work to do but for the first time Rebecca said she could see a light at the end of the tunnel in her recovery.
Looking to the future
Two sessions later, we spoke to Rebecca via video call and she had travelled to Switzerland for a break in the mountains. She had been hiking and bouldering with her husband and children and her breathing was feeling back to normal!
She had these kind words to say about her experience with us:
“I can’t thank Air Physiotherapy enough for helping me to finally sort out my breathing problems after a five-month struggle with Covid-19. I was beginning to think that I would never be able to breathe normally again but their kind and patient advice has helped me to get back on track. I have gone from not being able to take a complete breath to running and hiking again (even at high altitude). Thank you, Air Physiotherapy!”
Our sincerest thank you to both Jasmine and Rebecca for sharing their patient stories with us.
*not her real name