blood flow restriction recovery physical therapy

Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

Are you recovering from an injury? If so, you may be a candidate for blood flow restriction treatments. This may seem counterintuitive – you might ask yourself, “Why would I want to restrict my blood flow? Isn’t it good for blood to circulate?” While these are valid points, blood flow restriction treatments can actually pose several benefits, especially in athletes. Treatments are usually done during exercise, using compression to restrict circulation in the affected area(s). This is done in order to promote hypertrophy (increase in muscle mass) and prevent disuse atrophy (decrease in muscle mass). If you are interested in learning more about blood flow restriction and how it may benefit you, contact Recovery Physical Therapy today!

How exactly does blood flow restriction work?

The compression devices used during blood flow restriction treatments are similar to blood pressure cuffs. The pressure created by these compression devices is high enough to occlude blood flow at 50-80% within the affected muscles.

Blood flow restriction is based on a popular theory that the treatments lead to a “local hypoxic event,” meaning the tissues in the affected area will be temporarily deprived of oxygen. While this may sound intimidating, the local hypoxia actually helps in accumulating more metabolites, in order to regulate the body’s anabolic response system (also known as the way in which the body gains muscle protein) during exercise. Essentially, restricting the blood flow in the affected area helps to build more muscle protein.

Additional physiological responses to blood flow restriction include:

  • Increased anabolic growth factors
  • Fast twitch fiber recruitment
  • Muscle fiber synthesis
  • Heat shock proteins
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Decreased expression of myostatin

Will blood flow restriction benefit me?

At your initial appointment, one of our NYC area physical therapists will conduct a physical evaluation, analysis of medical history, and discussion of symptoms, in order to determine if blood flow restriction will be the best course of treatment for you.

Blood flow restriction has been known to treat almost any upper or lower body injury, and it can also be used as a form of rehabilitation following surgery. The compression device itself measures the amount of pressure that is recommended for the affected area, in order for the patient to successfully execute each targeted exercise and gain the desired effects.

When performing the exercises, the intended goal of blood flow restriction is to tire out the affected area, in order to stimulate the body’s natural healing and tissue-building processes. After treatment, muscle soreness may occur for the next day or two, and “limb fatigue” may occur for 20-30 minutes but should disappear shortly.

Contact Recovery Physical Therapy today:
If you are recovering from an injury or surgery, and you are interested in potentially participating in blood flow restriction treatments, don’t hesitate to contact our NYC area physical therapy office today. Our licensed physical therapists are highly trained in performing this treatment and they would love to discuss how it may benefit you personally. Contact Recovery Physical Therapy today to schedule an evaluation and get started on the path toward pain relief, increased strength, and overall functional improvement!