Richmond-area rehab program helps COVID long haulers get back on their feet

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Doctors have said exercise and rehabilitation can help those suffering from the long-term effects of COVID-19 recover faster. Brenda Smith, Chesterfield, is living proof.

Nine weeks ago, she couldn’t drive, go to the grocery store, and could barely walk. The 77 year-old woman can now walk miles on the treadmill and do squats with a weighted-ball ball.

Smith says it’s all thanks to theSheltering Arms Post-COVID Rehabilitation Program.

“I am so thankful for this place,”Smith said. “When you come here you get encouragement, you get hope,”

Smith is a COVID long-hauler.

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“I couldn’t move my legs without screaming,”She said. “I was in so much pain. I had so much inflammation in my legs and my feet.”

Even months later, her symptoms were still severe.

“Loss of memory, loss of hair, loss of smell,”Smith said. “My biggest problem was weakness in my legs.”

After several weeks of hour-long sessions with physical therapist Jason Seltzer at Sheltering Arms Bon Air Center, she’s back on her feet.

“At the beginning, she couldn’t even do half those exercises,” Seltzer said.

Seltzer, who is the administrator of the Sheltering Arms offers a post-COVID rehabilitation programSmith has made great strides, according to. He said that any illness can be treated. rehabRecovery is possible only if you are willing to work hard.

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“I think a lot of people in the community are still in a position where they don’t know what to do with their symptoms,” Seltzer said.

He told WFXR’s sister station the therapy is personalized depending on a patient’s needs.

“In some patients, it is really focusing on breathing work,”He said.

It doesn’t really matter what program it is, but function is the main focus.

“I really think it is important to tailor what we do in therapy around what a person does in their daily life. To me that exercise looks like picking something up off the ground and putting it on a shelf over their head,”Smith took a weighted object and lifted it above her head, he said.

Smith still has one session to go, and she said that she feels good.

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“Power to overcome is a great motto for them because they really work toward that goal,”She said.

Smith acknowledges that COVID can be very damaging to a person, but she believes most people can overcome it. She said they have to be willing fight for it.

If you’re interested in the Post-COVID Rehabilitation Program at Sheltering Arms, it’s suggested that you talk with your physician. You can also call to make an appointment. You can call 804-764-1000. You can also book an appointment online

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