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Post COVID-19 Rehabilitation

occupational therapist observing patient shoulder rotation exercises

Very little has been written about the rehabilitation needs of Covid-19 survivors after a long hospital stay or complications from the disease. Covid-19 can affect multiple body systems, including cardiac, neurological, and cognitive, and can cause mental health concerns and severe deconditioning.

Some people struggle returning to function after recovery from Covid-19. It can be difficult for patients to return to optimal activity because they don’t know how start or how to progress. Frustratingly, it’s easy to over-do exercise or activities without guidance, even if you were used to vigorous exercise before your illness. Our staff is uniquely positioned to help you regain as much function as possible, while following appropriate precautions to ensure your safety. Our approach entails:

Saunders Maple Grove Clinic

  • Cardiovascular endurance training – we start slow and progress as tolerated
  • Progressive, graded exposure to difficult activities/tasks – the key is adding a little at a time, with professional monitoring
  • Balance, coordination training – we are finding that many patients struggle with this, and we have many exercises and activities to challenge balance and coordination JUST ENOUGH, but not too much
  • Monitoring of vitals (e.g., O2, pulse, respiration, blood pressure) – we will monitor you closely to ensure good tolerance
  • Coaching on fear-avoidance; coaching on stress reduction strategies – fear and stress are a natural part of the recovery process for many of our patients
  • Other customized activities to meet identified needs (e.g., work simulation or modification/practice of activities of daily living)

Before beginning a rehabilitation program, we perform a thorough evaluation to ensure a good baseline and establish a safe program geared toward meeting YOUR SPECIFIC GOALS. We work with your physician as needed and send regular updates about your progress.

FAQs About Saunders’ Post Covid-19 Rehabilitation Programs

Q: Does my insurance cover Post Covid-19 Rehabilitation?
A: Most insurance plans cover physical therapy for functional problems like strength, endurance, pain, and cardiovascular/pulmonary problems, and these are the problems we would be treating. We can help you determine your insurance coverage if you call.

Q: Do I need a physician referral for treatment of Post Covid-19 symptoms?
A: While most insurances do not require a physician referral to start physical therapy we will verify your insurance coverage and their requirements. Please contact us to learn more. 

Q: Why is Saunders Therapy particularly well-suited for Post-Covid rehabilitation?
A: Prior to the pandemic, Saunders Therapy Centers specialized in progressive, graded exposure to painful or problematic activities, and customized training to improve function. We are experts at maximizing function. We have a large gym with a variety of exercise and job simulation equipment, with a great staff eager to help you get back to your best function. We are used to (and skilled at) working with clients with multi-factorial issues – not just a single body part.

Q: What can I expect in the evaluation?
A: At a minimum, your functional evaluation will include joint and muscle range of motion and strength testing, balance assessment, and exercise capacity assessment with a 6-minute walk test to establish a baseline. If your illness was work-related or involves significant work-related deficits, job-specific functional testing may be done. In some cases, a Work Hardening Program may be indicated.

Q: What type of treatment plan can I expect?

A: Most patients can reach full benefit by attending physical therapy sessions 2-3x/week, where you will work on a progressive program in our large gym, plus supplement in-clinic activities with a customized home exercise program. We can work with you on YOUR preferred schedule. Some people like infrequent visits and perform most of their exercises/activities at home, while others prefer (and need) more supervision with more frequent visits. You can expect to be followed by your therapist team for up to 6-8 weeks, depending upon your individual circumstances.

 

Neck Pain Treatment

Saunders Therapy Centers clinicians are experienced in treating the complexity of the spine and provide effective, case-specific management of acute and chronic neck (cervical spine) problems. Neck pain is often accompanied by headache, arm, or lower back pain. We are skilled at connecting the dots – your evaluation and treatment plan will address all the related symptoms, and you’ll be on the road to recovery in no time.

Our Process

Musculoskeletal Evaluation: Our consultation starts with a thorough exam that includes an assessment of your posture, muscle flexibility and strength, spinal symmetry, and a neurological assessment.

Treatment: Your individual plan of care may include hands-on techniques to restore spinal symmetry and normal joint motion, reduce muscle tension, increase flexibility, and restore myofascial mobility.

Functional re-training will help normalize posture and body mechanics, correct faulty movement patterns, and strengthen the deep core muscles of the cervical spine. 

When is Neck Pain Serious?

Neck pain is usually non-serious and resolves within 2-6 weeks. Rarely, neck pain should be considered an emergency, or needs further treatment before seeing a physical therapist. Here are some situations where you should seek immediate medical attention:

What Causes Neck Pain?

Cervical spine pain can be the result of a single event or trauma, or the result of a combination of factors including poor posture, declining physical fitness, and/or repetitive activities, including faulty lifting, bending, or twisting. Previous injury and family history may also be a contributing factor.

Therapy For Neck Pain

Physical therapists can immediately decrease neck pain with manual therapy, myofascial techniques, postural training, and restoring muscular length and strength through specific exercise.

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

physical therapist educating patient with model of shoulder joint

Saunders clinicians use sophisticated techniques to treat all disorders of the musculoskeletal system: bones, joints, muscles, nerves and connective tissues. We use hands-on techniques to promote pain relief and improved function. We are experts at detecting movement disorders and muscular imbalances, which are often the root cause of many orthopedic conditions – especially the problems that last a long time or keep coming back. Our focus is on long-term resolution of symptoms and self-management to decrease costs and encourage independence.

Good Orthopedic Physical Therapy Treatment Involves Manual Therapy, Exercise, and Education

Injury is inevitable – few people avoid any musculoskeletal pain during their lifetimes. Our focus is on helping your injury heal properly with good strength, range of motion, and balance, so that reinjury is less likely. Even if you need surgery for your condition, high quality post-surgical rehabilitation is key.

We won’t let your body heal stiff or weak, and will guide you in the first few weeks after your procedure to make sure you are adhering to safe guidelines for recovery.

You will find our clinical approach refreshing, compared to many PT clinics. You will see the same physical therapy team each visit. This results in fewer overall visits, since time is not wasted with inefficient progression of your treatment plan. Many of our patients have been to other clinics and tell us that our approach is much preferred. We pride ourselves on developing individualized plans of care – your hands-on care and exercise program will be unique. If you have been disappointed with your care in the past, or have given up favorite activities because of pain – give Saunders Therapy Centers a try.

 

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Treatment

A Saunders physical therapist can help determine the most suitable treatment plan for thoracic outlet syndrome. Our goal is to achieve pain relief as soon as possible, and then to restore normal motion, strength, and posture to prevent recurrence of your symptoms.

Whiplash Treatment

A Saunders physical therapist can help determine the best treatment for whiplash, based on a thorough evaluation and assessment of severity. Our goal is to achieve pain relief as soon as possible, and then to restore normal motion, strength, and posture to prevent recurrence of your symptoms.

Tennis Elbow Treatment

A Saunders physical therapist can help determine the most suitable treatment plan for your tennis elbow. Proper treatment to restore normal motion, strength, and function is essential to prevent recurrence of your symptoms.

Shoulder Pain Treatment

A Saunders physical therapist can help determine the most suitable treatment plan for your individual condition. Our goal is to achieve pain relief as soon as possible, and then to restore normal motion, strength, and posture to prevent recurrence of your symptoms.

Tension Headaches

With tension headaches, pain is usually experienced on both sides of the head, but can occur on only one side. Symptoms are often constant and do not change with activity or rest.

 

Functional Capacity Evaluation – The Saunders Method

occupational therapist encouraging client during work simulation as plumber

The Most Comprehensive Functional Capacity Evaluation in Minnesota

Saunders Therapy Centers’ evaluation is 3 days, 18 hours long!

Saunders’ mission is to identify and maximize the work-related functional abilities of those injured on the job. Communication is a hallmark of our service. We work closely with the client, physician, Qualified Rehabilitation Counselor (QRC), case manager, insurance adjuster, and employer to fully understand the unique requirements of each case.

Each of our clinics has a large gym area and equipment that allows us to perform unique FCEs, with the ability to simulate job-related activities for nearly any occupation. The clinicians who provide our FCE services are specially trained and very experienced. They understand industry, the workers compensation system, and the unique needs for evaluating clients with work-related injuries.

In addition to FCEs, we offer comprehensive services for injured workers, including work hardening and work conditioning.

FCE_functional_capacity_evaluation_client

Saint Paul Industrial Rehab Team Members

Our Method

We have found that the best way to evaluate a person’s endurance is to observe our clients in a work-like environment for multiple hours and days. Therefore, Saunders Therapy Centers’ FCE is three days long. After a 2-hour baseline assessment, during which we determine maximum capabilities, each client returns for 2 consecutive days of endurance testing, 8 hours per day.

We spend a great deal of time prior to every FCE to make sure we understand the purpose. The activities tested during the two, 8-hour  days are often very specific to a particular job. We can also perform a more generic FCE if no particular job goal is identified or we are being asked to identify general abilities. Our Functional Capacity Evaluation is appropriate for all types of injuries.

Advantages to the Saunders FCE include:

  • Customized activity selection results in highly relevant, valid results.
  • True endurance capabilities observed – no extrapolation.
  • Referral sources love our reports – Detailed description of evaluation goals, activities performed, and clear, non-ambiguous recommendations.

Realistic, Experienced, Non-Biased

Work Hardening – The Saunders Method

work hardening client performing warehouse simulation material handling

Regain Function and Return to Work with Saunders!

Saunders Therapy Centers’ mission is to identify and maximize the work-related functional abilities of those injured on the job. Communication is a hallmark of our service. We work closely with the client, physician, Qualified Rehabilitation Counselor (QRC), case manager, insurance adjuster, and employer to fully understand the unique requirements of each case.

Each of our clinics has a large gym area and equipment that allows us to evaluate work-related function and simulate job-related activities for nearly any job. We have excellent staff at all three locations – Bloomington, Maple Grove, and Saint Paul. The clinicians who provide these services are specially trained and very experienced. They understand industry, the workers compensation system, and the unique issues involved in work-related injuries. In addition to Work Hardening, we offer functional capacity evaluations (FCE).

Meet the Work Hardening Teams at Each Location

  Firefighter Work Hardening

“They are so good, I’ll probably never see them again! Beth, Cole, Caroline and the rest of the staff were extremely helpful and cheerful. They monitored my recovery and designed the program to meet the very specific needs of my job.” – Testimony from Luis

What is Unique about Saunders’  Work Hardening Programs?

At Saunders, your program will be CUSTOMIZED. We perform a 2-hour, comprehensive evaluation to determine your strength, function, and readiness for work. We then work WITH YOU to determine the ideal program. The activities you do, the length and duration of each session, and the overall length of the program are unique for your circumstances.

Work Hardening – What Exactly Will I Do?

Most people who are referred for Work Hardening have physical barriers that prevent them from reaching their work goals. Examples of these are stiffness, weakness, poor balance, or poor endurance….

What is the Work Hardening Evaluation?

Before beginning the program, each client participates in a 2-hour evaluation. We obtain a thorough injury history, work history, psychosocial screening and baseline functional assessment covering lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying,…

Realistic, Experienced, Non-Biased, Compassionate Treatment

Pelvic Health Physical Therapy

Pelvic Pain Education session between PT and patient

Individuals of all genders can suffer from aggravating or painful symptoms of the pelvic floor and related structures. Many people don’t realize that physical therapy is an option. The pelvic floor is made of muscles and tendons, and is an integral part of the musculoskeletal system, providing support to your vital organs, back and hips. Pelvic floor dysfunction can be the cause of many painful and annoying disorders.

Our Process:

Evaluation: Listening to your story is our top priority. A complete understanding of your symptoms and experience will guide our examination. A pelvic health exam may include a functional movement and posture assessment, range of motion and muscle strength testing, and soft tissue evaluation. Our pelvic health therapists can perform an internal pelvic floor muscle exam for all genders if appropriate and with your informed consent.

Treatment: Our treatment plans are built around your unique goals. We utilize many treatment strategies to ensure your physical therapy is completely customized to you. This can include guidance on current habits that influence the pelvic floor, toileting strategies, pain relieving techniques, stretching and strengthening therapeutic exercises, and manual therapy. We can perform biofeedback for assisting pelvic floor muscle coordination.

Patients often find a major improvement in quality of life after consultation with our physical therapists. At Saunders Therapy Centers, our experts can see you in any of our clinics – St. Paul, Bloomington, or Maple Grove.

Frequently Asked Questions About Saunders Pelvic Health

Pelvic Pain Education

Physical Therapy for Incontinence

Several types of incontinence can be helped with physical therapy techniques that can include myofascial treatment, biofeedback, and other interventions.

Back Pain Treatment

Man with Lower Back Pain

Saunders Therapy Centers physical therapists are experienced in treating the complexity of the spine and provide effective, case-specific management of acute and chronic back pain. Back injuries can be the result of a single event or trauma, or the result of a combination of factors including poor posture, declining physical fitness, and/or repetitive activities, including faulty lifting, bending, or twisting. Previous injury and family history may also be a contributing factor.

Back pain problems can be confused with, or related to, hip and leg pain, weakness, or numbness. Our clinicians are skilled at differential assessment and can treat most of these conditions with physical therapy. Try physical therapy before resorting to expensive tests and procedures!

Our Process

Musculoskeletal Evaluation: Our consultation starts with a thorough exam that includes an assessment of your posture, muscle flexibility and strength, spinal symmetry, and a neurological assessment.

Treatment: Your individual plan of care may include hands-on techniques to restore spinal symmetry and normal joint motion, reduce muscle tension, increase flexibility, and restore myofascial mobility.

Functional re-training will help normalize posture and body mechanics, correct faulty movement patterns, and strengthen the core muscles of the low back, hips, and entire spine. 

Man with Lower Back Pain

Therapy For Back Pain

Physical therapists can immediately decrease lower and mid back pain with manual therapy, myofascial techniques, postural training, and restoring muscular length and strength through specific exercise.

What Causes Back Pain?

Back pain can be the result of a single event or trauma, or the result of a combination of factors including poor posture, declining physical fitness, and/or repetitive activities, including faulty lifting, bending, or twisting. Previous injury and family history may also be a contributing factor.

When is Back Pain Serious?

Back pain is usually non-serious and resolves within 2-6 weeks. Rarely, back pain should be considered an emergency, or needs further treatment before seeing a physical therapist. Here are some situations where you should seek immediate medical attention:

Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) for Vestibular Disorders

Dizzy woman overwhelmed

VRT and Physical Therapy For Dizzy and Balance Problems

VRT is designed to help patients compensate for, adapt to, and reduce the symptoms of vestibular dysfunction. It involves a series of exercises and activities that target the vestibular system and its connections with other sensory systems, such as vision and proprioception (sensations from muscles and joints).

The goals of VRT include:

  1. Decreasing dizziness and vertigo symptoms.
  2. Improving balance and stability.
  3. Enhancing gaze stability and reducing eye movement abnormalities (nystagmus).
  4. Increasing confidence and reducing fear of falling.
  5. Improving overall functional activities.

VRT is typically prescribed and supervised by a physical therapist who has experience in vestibular rehabilitation. The therapy is tailored to the specific needs of each patient based on their condition and symptoms. The exercises may include various head movements, eye exercises, balance exercises, and habituation exercises.

Saunders Therapy Centers physical therapists are skilled at many VRT techniques and can help by performing many techniques and exercises or referring you to a specialist as necessary.

Dizzy woman overwhelmed

 

Physical Therapy For TMJ Disorders

Saunders physical therapists manage head and neck problems with a team approach that includes the dental professional, physical therapist and other medical professionals as needed. Working with other care providers may be essential for successful treatment of TMJ dysfunction. Temporomandibular joint disorders and facial pain can affect people of all ages, and are particularly problematic because they affect so many aspects of daily life such as eating, talking, and laughing! Don’t suffer in silence – our therapists can provide quick relief.

Years of Experience Successfully Treating…

 

  • Temporomandibular Disorders
  • Arthrogenous (joint) disorders
  • Myogeneous (muscle) disorders
  • Developmental Disorders
  • TMJ Dislocation
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Neck Pain
  • Headaches
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation

Frequently Asked Questions about TMJ Treatment

TMJ disorder treatment

If you suspect you have a TMJ disorder, we can help.

TMJ Treatment

The TMJ is the hinge joint that opens and closes your jaw. Sometimes, you can feel pain directly in the area around the joint, but there are other symptoms you should be aware of:

TMJ Symptoms

The TMJ is the hinge joint that opens and closes your jaw. Sometimes, you can feel pain directly in the area around the joint, but there are other symptoms you should be aware of:

TMJ Headache

Physical therapists can immediately decrease TMJ headache pain with manual therapy, myofascial techniques, postural training, and restoring normal jaw mechanics through specific exercise.

 

Physical Therapy for Headache Treatment

Craniosacral technique performed by skilled PT

The key to successful management of headaches is identifying the type of headache you have. There are several types of headaches, and it is common to suffer from more than one type. A thorough evaluation and treatment by a physical therapist can help you find relief. 

Our Process

Musculoskeletal Evaluation: A thorough evaluation will be performed on your initial visit to assess for possible postural contributions, muscle imbalances, myofascial restrictions, and joint dysfunction that may be contributing to your pain.

Manual Therapy: Manual therapy is a hands-on approach that addresses restrictions in the soft tissue, the myofascial system, and/or the spinal joints.

Therapeutic Modalities: Modalities, such as heat, cold, ultrasound, and cervical traction can be used to help with pain control in the initial or acute phase of your headache.

Therapeutic Exercise: Exercise to address muscle imbalances, correct spinal motion, spinal stabilization, and posture are an important part of your treatment.

Education on posture and body mechanics:  We will help you with body awareness and to understand the role posture and the way you move can affect your headaches.

Relaxation techniques: Your autonomic nervous system can play a role in maintaining muscle tension. When you are stressed, the sympathetic part of this nervous system is overactive and can contribute to your pain experience. Headache treatment involving relaxation techniques will help calm this system and help you with pain management.

Craniosacral technique

Since each type of headache responds best to a particular treatment, it’s important for your physical therapist to determine the type of headache you have. Saunders physical therapists are particularly good at this.

 

Tension Headaches

With tension headaches, pain is usually experienced on both sides of the head, but can occur on only one side. Symptoms are often constant and do not change with activity or rest.

Cluster Headaches

With a cluster headache, pain is very severe and always on one side of the head. Generally pain is experienced behind the eye and is described as pulsing.

Migraine Headaches

With a migraine headache, pain is experienced throughout the entire head, deep within, and is described as pulsing pain of moderate to severe intensity.