How to Ease Off Your Long Covid Fatigue?

This fatigue is beyond tiredness and affects daily activities including personal care, leisure activities and employment. Even basic jobs like dressing up and climbing stairs can be tiresome and exhausting.

Long Covid is a new phenomenon and the exact long-term implications are unknown,” says Louise Norris, senior occupational therapist at St James’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, who led the research.

We became concerned after seeing increasing numbers of patients who were having difficulty carrying out everyday activities because of fatigue. Fatigue was also affecting their return to work.

One of the key roles, and skills, of occupational therapy is to help people get back to their everyday activities.  We’ve previously helped those with other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, learn techniques to manage their fatigue and felt we could use that experience to address the needs of those with long-term fatigue post Covid.

So, he and his colleagues at St James’s Hospital and Trinity College Dublin began developing a pilot project for occupational therapy called Fatigue Management Education programme (FaME-PC).

The programme involved 53 patients (73% female), with a median age of 51, who had self-reported fatigue that was affecting their ability to take part in everyday activities.

The post-Covid symptom duration between 12 weeks and 12 months was reported by 36 (68%) participants but 13 (25%) participants reported post-Covid symptom duration even after 12 months. At the start of the study, 52 participants (98%) reported moderate to severe fatigue and 38 participants (72%) reported moderate to severe breathing difficulties. Difficulty with concentration and memory, also called the brain fog, was found in almost half of the participants.

Thirty-nine (74%) participants had symptoms caused by moderate to severe disruption to return to work, 34 (64%) had engagement in leisure activity and 31 (58%) had completed day-to-day activities, such as preparing meals, driving or going for a walk. The participants took part in three 1.5-hour-long group-based interventions delivered online by an occupational therapist over a 4-week period.

These focused on self-management techniques to address everyday fatigue and brain fog.  Topics covered included energy planning, dealing with stress and sleep hygiene.

The participants were shown how to identify their body and brain’s limit – allowing them to take a break before they reached the point of exhaustion. The aim was to equip the participants with techniques they could practice in their day-to-day lives as much as possible.

Questionnaires about fatigue and energy levels, quality of life and concerns about well-being were filled in by the participants before the study and two weeks after the 4-week programme.

The preliminary analysis of these results showed improvements in all three areas: fatigue, quality of life and well-being concerns. But, the pilot project has been extended and data collection is ongoing.

Louise Norris says, “There is an urgent need to find new and better ways of managing post-Covid fatigue and its wide-ranging, and in some cases, devastating, effects on people’s lives.

Initial results from our pilot programme are highly promising. They show equipping patients with a range of practical techniques can result in meaningful improvements in fatigue and quality of life.  Patients also have fewer concerns about their wellbeing.

Source: Medindia

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