What is Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) for Post Operative Rehabilitation?

Blood flow restriction is a technique that utilizes specialized blood pressure cuffs to reduce (but not completely eliminate) blood flow to muscles of the arm or leg. By reducing blood flow, your muscles are forced to exercise in a more fatigued state thereby allowing you to achieve a high-intensity workout with relatively light weights.

What Are The Benefits of BFR? BFR allows you to aggressively exercise early on in rehabilitation. It helps to stave off muscle atrophy and increase muscle mass in a low-load environment. This type of training is ideal with acute injuries or post-operative conditions where one cannot tolerate heavy weights or high loads. With BFR, exercising intensely using low-loads can accelerate the development of muscular strength and produce improved outcomes following injury or surgery.

Are There Risks? For healthy adults, there are no risks. For people with mild blood pressure problems, you will need to consult your doctor to assess whether or not you can use BFR safely. You should NOT use BFR if you have circulatory issues, history of blood clots, heart disease/insufficiency, severe or uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, varicose veins, pregnancy, less than 12 years of age, open wound or incision, infection, cancer, or lymphedema.

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