AUSTIN, Texas — As the delta variant surges in Texas, physical therapists are also seeing an uptick in what they refer to as Long-COVID.
One Austin Woman says she didn’t have a severe case but she’s still dealing with pain 10 months later.
“There are a lot of things I cannot do,” Safina Sadruddin said. “I've tried going for hikes which I used to love doing. I can't do that anymore.”
Sadruddin caught COVID in December 2020. She says it wasn’t severe.
”No fever, just weakness,” Sadruddin said. “I couldn't get out of bed.”
However, by week three things changed. She couldn’t feel the right side of her body.
“My arms, I could not raise and then my legs would get numb,” Sadruddin said. “I even fell a couple of times because I couldn't move.”
Sadruddin has been making the same trip to the physical therapist for months. It’s become part of her routine.
“Safina came in originally with some pain,” Dr. Alyssa O’Krent Safina’s Physical Therapist at Texas Physical Therapy Specialists said.
She says cases like Sadruddin’s are becoming common. Physical therapists are referring to this condition as “COVID long haulers,” people who deal with pain and other issues even months after testing negative.
Now, Early research shows it can also happen with breakthrough infections in vaccinated people.
“Some patients are having mild cases, and then experiencing a lot of dysfunction and a lot of impairments,” Dr. O’Krent said.
That’s the case for Sadruddin. Ten months later her range of motion is back but she’s not back to normal and the pain hasn’t gone away. Dr. O’Krent says like in Sadruddin’s case, the earlier someone gets checked after having COVID the sooner they can get back to their former self.
“I'm 80% there,” Sadruddin said. “So 20 more percent. I'm hoping with the help, I can get back to where I used to be.”
As part of the core team for treating long-hauler patients, physical therapists at TexPTS are providing free post-COVID physical therapy screens and treatment that includes attainable goals with increased exposure that help patients build strength, stamina, and return to their normal lives.