"Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) is a technique that combines low intensity exercise with the occlusion of blood flow to increase muscle mass and strength. To stimulate these muscular adaptations, a belt or cuff is applied like a tourniquet to the proximal portion of an extremity to occlude blood flow.
Our therapist will begin treatment by applying a cuff to the upper arm or thigh, above the site of the injury. The cuff will be tightened to a specific pressure to occlude venous flow while allowing for arterial flow. A Doppler ultrasound will be used to ensure that the cuff is applying appropriate pressure personalized to the patient. The therapist will then lead the patient through a customized series of low load, low intensity exercises.
BFR can be especially useful in treating patients post-operatively or for patients rehabilitating an injury that is painful with high loads or high intensity exercise. BFR can also be used as a preventative measure for individuals needing to increase muscle mass and strength to better tolerate day-to-day life, work, or recreational activities. Ultimately, BFR is a tool to make hypertrophy and strength gains when it wouldn"t otherwise be possible. Once enough improvement has been made with BFR, we will transition the patient to traditional strength and functional training.
Side effects of BFR may include tingling, numbness, or discomfort during the treatment. Delayed onset muscle soreness and minor bruising can also occur. When indicated, BFR can be a very effective way for a patient unable to tolerate high intensity resistance training to improve muscle mass and strength."
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