Blood Flow Restriction Therapy 

Blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy is a new approach that can be added to a conventional orthopedic rehabilitation program.  BFR therapy uses a medical grade tourniquet to limit the blood flow to muscles resulting in an environment that forces larger, faster muscle to fire.  This stimulates a high-intensity training workout for those with pain or post-surgical restrictions and/or weakness who would otherwise not tolerate the intensity of the workout.  BFR therapy is used frequently in higher level rehabilitation settings including the military and professional athletics, and now Performance is bringing it to you!

How will it help me?

 

Current research shows that the use of blood flow restriction with low-intensity training can result in up to a 20% increase in muscle growth over a 6-week program. This is statistically similar to high load training, however, with significantly less stress to joints and healing bodies. Those who are currently unable to perform difficult training can still have significant muscle growth and increase strength with less aggressive exercises.

What should I expect? 

 

The tourniquet is applied to the patient's leg or arm and is inflated to their individualized pressure to cause the best environment for muscle growth. The tourniquet will stay inflated while the patient performs low-level exercises causing the muscles to fatigue quickly. As this process is taking place, the patient will feel a burning sensation similar to a heavy lifting activity, the limb will also become red in color and become enlarged due to the veins swelling. The tourniquet is deflated between exercises while the patient rests. Sessions typically take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour and are done in conjunction with traditional physical therapy intervention.

How does it work?

 

The blood restricting cuff will cause an increase in pressure outside of the muscle cells. The fluid will fill the cells and increase how quickly muscle building nutrients get into the muscle and offset any muscle wasting that occurs with injury and inactivity. Using the muscles in this state will increase the amount of lactic acid in the area and decrease the amount of oxygen the muscles can use. This forces the body to use bigger and stronger muscles to perform the same exercises and increase chemicals that cause muscle growth and improved healing of damaged structures.

Who could this benefit?

Blood flow restriction therapy is seen to be very beneficial for those post-surgery or who are unable to tolerate high-intensity training. Other injury or ailments include:

  • ACL

  • Arthroscopy

  • Rotator cuff repair

  • Achilles tear

  • Hip Osteoarthritis

  • Knee Osteoarthritis

Alert your physical therapist if you have a history of

  • Cancer

  • Blood clotting disorders

  • Hypertension

  • Sickle cell anemia

  • History of a blood clot

  • Current infection

 

For more information on blood flow restriction request an appointment or call  401.726.7100 and ask to speak with a physical therapist to learn more. 

 

 

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