At North Texas Orthopedics & Spine Center, our physical therapists are dedicated to using the latest evidence-based rehabilitation techniques as well as the most advanced treatment options. As part of this dedication, they are proud to offer blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy to help patients get back to the activities they love.
What Is Blood Flow Restriction Therapy?
Blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy, also referred to as blood flow restriction training, is a physical therapy technique that combines low-intensity exercises with blood flow occlusion to create results similar to those achieved by performing moderate to high intensities of resistance exercises. This technique helps patients who are recovering from an injury, condition, or surgery gain significant strength, muscle growth, and endurance changes without stressing their joints or tissues that are healing.
How Does Blood Flow Restriction Therapy Work?
Blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy uses a compression device similar to a blood pressure cuff. The cuff, or tourniquet, is placed on the proximal end of either a limb of the upper extremity or a limb of the lower extremity. The tourniquet is then inflated to a specific pressure that causes complete venous occlusion while still allowing arterial inflow. This means that the tourniquet is allowing the blood to flow into the limb through the arteries, but it is restricting the return flow out of the limb through the veins.
The cuffed limb is then used to perform resistance exercises at a low intensity with high repetitions and short breaks between. Since these exercises are being performed with reduced blood flow, the muscles are working with a reduced oxygen level. This makes the body think it is working harder than it is. It also produces an increase in hormone production, helps build muscle protein, and promotes hypertrophy, or muscle growth.
What Are the Benefits of Blood Flow Restriction Therapy?
Blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy provides rehabilitation patients with many benefits. In addition to reducing the stress placed on joints and healing muscles, it also does the following:
- Enhances strength and muscle growth
- Increases muscle strength and size
- Minimizes loss of muscle mass following surgery
- Prevents muscle atrophy
- Promotes healing
- Rebuilds muscle without using a heavy load or high-intensity exercises
Is Blood Flow Restriction Therapy Safe?
When blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy, or blood flow restriction training, is monitored by a trained blood flow restriction specialist, it is a safe, low-intensity form of resistance training. However, it is not a suitable rehabilitation technique for everyone, such as those with poor circulatory systems or those on medications that increase the risk of a blood clot.
Our physical therapists have undergone extensive training to offer blood flow restriction training and are dedicated to ensuring patient safety. They will perform a physical evaluation, look at your medical history, and discuss your injury and symptoms with you to determine if blood flow restriction training is the right treatment for you.
Who Can Benefit From Blood Flow Restriction Therapy?
Blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy can help build muscle and strength in postoperative patients as well as in patients who are not able to tolerate a high load or high-intensity exercises. It can also help patients that have or are recovering from one of the following injuries or conditions:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury
- Bone, joint, or muscle trauma
- Chronic pain
- Muscle weakness
- Rotator cuff injury
To learn more about blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy or our other available physical therapy services, please call (817) 481-2121 or click on the Appointment Request button to request an appointment with one of our physical therapy experts.