The goal of Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) is to reduce blood flow just enough to create positive changes. It is performed with tourniquet pressure monitored with Doppler ultrasound during low-load exercise to create the same resistance training adaptions which typically only occur at very high loads/resistance.
This modality is highly suited for rehabilitation to safely and quickly increase strength and muscle size without overly stressing healing tissues. In other words—BFR enables patients to make greater strength gains while lifting lighter loads, thereby reducing the overall stress placed on the limb. BFR is not limited to rehabilitate athletes recovering from injury. Postoperative individuals may also benefit from this type of therapy.
BFR is increasingly being adopted by many rehabilitation professionals for its proven efficacy and effectiveness in improving muscular size and strength with low-load exercise in both healthy and clinical populations. BFR can also reduce postoperative pain when used as a part of a pre-operative rehab protocol.
BFR has demonstrated an ability to confer protective adaptations against periods of ischemia which occur with the usage of surgical tourniquets. Muscle pain following usage of surgical tourniquets is a common complication following many orthopedic surgeries, including total knee replacements. Using BFR with Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) improves post-ischemic muscle function and provides protective effects on skeletal muscle following IPC.
IPC is the use of intermittent periods of ischemia followed by reperfusion. The pre-operative use of IPC can assist a patient in quicker improvements in muscle strength and overall function, and should be considered for pre-operative care.
All of the Makovicka Physical Therapy clinics have staff trained in BFR. Contact one of our experts to learn more about BFR and how it can help you.
Benefits of Blood Flow Restriction
Efficient and effective modality
May be used after total knee replacement
Improve muscle strength faster