Losing muscle due to age, genetics, malnutrition, being sedentary, or requiring bed rest can be particularly frustrating because of the loss of strength that comes with it. In severe cases, you might need help accomplishing tasks that you could once do independently. You know that physical therapy can help you meet your fitness goals, but what if you’re still struggling?
Here at Crom Rehabilitation in Houston and Pearland, Texas, our physical therapists Roy Rivera, Jr., PT, PhD, DPT, Jordan Boyd, PT, DPT, and Jonathan Koborsi, PT, DPT specialize in blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy to combat muscle loss. Within the realm of physical therapy, BFR therapy is the ultimate muscle-building modality.
One thing about muscle is you can build it back up again after you lose it. Here’s how BFR therapy can help:
Much as it may go against what you might already believe, restricting blood from flowing out of your muscles for just a short time results in several benefits that contribute to an increase in your muscle mass. The goal of BFR therapy is to restrict the flow of blood in your veins, which carry blood out of your muscles, while allowing arterial blood flow to continue.
When done correctly, BFR therapy lets blood pool in targeted muscles without flowing out of them. When this happens, the inside of your muscle becomes a hypoxic environment. This means that the tissues are, for a short time, deprived of oxygen.
Oxygen deprivation in this controlled instance is not a bad thing. In fact, it leads to:
Growth hormones largely drive the growth and development of your muscles. With more of them present in a muscle after BFR therapy, you can rely on more muscle growth.
Muscle hypertrophy is a fancy word for increased muscle mass, which involves the growth of individual muscle cells and an increase in their number. It’s the opposite of muscle atrophy, which makes muscles smaller. During muscle hypertrophy, you can see an increase in the size of various targeted body parts.
Of course, when your muscles grow larger, they tend to grow stronger too. BFR therapy helps restore your strength to at or above the level it was before you experienced muscle loss.
While BFR therapy is effective at building muscle on its own, the physical therapists at Crom Rehabilitation often use it in conjunction with exercise. You wear a BFR cuff while completing simple, low-load exercises and lifts. With the assistance of BFR, you can achieve similar results to a high-impact workout with far less work on your part.
Our physical therapists frequently use aquatic therapy using the Mirage NEO by H2O for Fitness, which allows you to complete exercises underwater with a low impact on your joints.
BFR therapy may be an option if you’ve experienced a loss of muscle mass and resulting weakness. To learn more about BFR and other types of physical therapy, schedule a consultation over the phone or online at Crom Rehabilitation today.