Blood Flow Restriction Training in Physical Therapy

Blood flow restriction training is a strengthening technique of physical therapy occasionally used by a physical therapist to help gain muscle strength after an injury or surgery. It is done by restricting the blood flow to a muscle and then performing low-level exercises so that the muscle will achieve the results of high training exercises.

This method is appropriate in the situation when high training loads are not appropriate such as after surgery or in case of significant muscle loss it helps to achieve strength with low-intensity exercises which can be gained by high-intensity training

How to Do It

For performing blood flow restriction training follow the steps

  • Place the cuff around the muscles to be strengthened
  • Pump the cuff to the desired pressure
  • Most commonly the pressure is 180mm of Hg or multiplies it to 1.5 times of your resting systolic pressure
  • Contract the muscles which are to be strengthened
  • For example, if you want to strengthen your quadriceps muscles then place the cuff around your thigh and perform a set of short Arc quad
  • Hold this contraction for 5 seconds
  • Released the contraction
  • Repeat this training 15 to 20 times

You may take a rest of 30 seconds before each repetition

It is a training which is of low intensity but of high repetitions so mostly two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions are performed during each session

After the completion of exercises remove the cuff and allow the blood flow to normalize. your muscle may be red and feel tight after training because of blood restrictions

Conditions Treated

As it is a physical therapy technique so it is used to treat the disorders of the musculoskeletal system after any muscle injury surgery or illness muscle weakness is normal you may benefit from blood flow restriction training to strengthen your we can muscles it is used in several disorders such as in

  • Muscle strains and sprains
  • General weakness of muscles
  • Hip, knee, or ankle surgery or after any musculoskeletal system injury where weakness is present
  • Upper extremity surgery or lower extremity surgery where 
  • After upper or lower extremity fracture
  • Neurological conditions which involve muscle weakness
  • Any condition which can lead to weakness in muscles and we can’t perform high-intensity exercises to recover the weakness

It is a passive modality used by physical therapists when a patient can’t perform high-intensity training and no other option is left for achieving the muscle strength
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