• PhysiosforME

Reflections on Covid 19

As the Physios for ME team reflect on the last six months we realise that we have produced a lot of content with a focus on post viral fatigue syndrome related to Covid-19.

We wanted to write this post to reassure people with ME that we have not forgotten our primary aim, which is to educate and inform physiotherapists regarding ME, and to support and advocate for people with ME. You’ll know from reading our bios that we have close personal experience with ME, so we will never lose sight of our priorities.

At the start of 2020 we discussed as a team how we could better push our messaging out to the wider physiotherapy community; how do we reach physiotherapists who are not involved directly with ME services? We know that people with ME may encounter physiotherapists in any number of services, both NHS and Private Practice, and with education on ME limited for our profession we had to find a way to reach a larger number of our peers.

We have therefore unashamedly seized the opportunities that Covid19 provided. Identifying post viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) and avoiding a “deconditioning” approach for these patients is really important for those struggling post-Covid, but we made sure to tag on all of our messages about ME in the process. So far we have;

- produced four educational podcasts about PVFS and ME, which have been watched

by over 3000 people;

- took part in four national and international webinars to over 700 physios and other

allied health professionals,

- published an article on the same topic for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Frontline magazine which reaches over 50,000 physios in the UK.

Covid 19 has enabled us to spread the word about ME much further and louder than we have managed before, and hopefully made physiotherapists from all areas of practice take note of the issues.

We are not alone in seeing the opportunities presented by the Covid pandemic. Other ME researchers and professionals across the world are also taking a similar approach. For example, The Open Medicine Foundation (including Professor Ron Davis at Stanford) is undertaking a research project aiming to unlock the triggering mechanisms of ME through the study of post Covid 19 patients.

It should not have taken a global pandemic for people to sit up and take note of the struggles of people with ME. But we can at least bring about some positive change from the chaos of Covid.

If you have any further suggestions of how we can continue to advocate for improved understanding and physiotherapy treatment for people with ME, please do contact us via our twitter feed, Facebook page or email.

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