Blood Flow Restriction Rehabilitation

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Call us at 814-467-3465 for more information about blood flow restriction rehabilitation at CSSMCW.

What is Blood Flow Restriction Rehabilitation?

Blood flow restriction (BFR) rehabilitation is a new way to rehabilitate muscle injuries by reducing blood flow, using a tourniquet cuff, while exercising. Using this technique, you can exercise with significantly lighter weight while still creating muscle growth and strength comparable to heavy weight training. BFR can be incorporated into traditional physical therapy sessions, just as other techniques or equipment might be.

Who benefits from Blood Flow Restriction Rehabilitation?

BFR can safely be used with most types of muscle injuries. Most commonly, it is used for patients recovering from:

  • ACL injuries and tears
  • Achilles tendon injuries
  • Fractures that haven’t healed properly
  • Rotator cuff injuries

What happens during Blood Flow Restriction Rehabilitation?

First, we determine the amount of pressure that’s right for you. We use a specialized monitor to look at several variables, including the size of your limb, the density of the soft tissue in your limb, your blood pressure, and the placement and width of the of the tourniquet cuff.

Then, the tourniquet cuff (that looks very similar to a blood pressure cuff) is placed on your injured limb. The cuff will periodically reduce blood flow to your limb, while you will perform specific exercises based on your rehabilitation plan. Even though you are lifting a light weight, your muscle will begin to feel like it is working very hard. This feeling is the build-up of lactate and is the desired response of this training. It is important that you complete the total number of sets and repetitions prescribed in order to maximize this response. You may also begin to sweat and feel your heart rate rise similar to a heavy workout. This is common and expected.

What are the effects of Blood Flow Restriction Rehabilitation?

After you have completed your exercise session and you have built up sufficient lactate, many positive effects can occur. These include an increase in growth hormone and other positive muscle growth factors. There will also be an increase in your muscle’s ability to grow. A therapist may discuss with you proper nutrition guidelines to maximize these effects.