BLOOD FLOW RESTRICTION TRAINING IN REHABILITATION: A USEFUL ADJUNCT OR LUCY'S LATEST TRICK?

Review written by Dr Teddy Willsey info

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

In order to be an evidenced-based practitioner, one must maintain a healthy amount of skepticism when presented with new ideas, emergent technology, and seemingly miraculous methods of intervention with murky physiological explanations. It is up the discretion of the individual practitioner to decide whether implementing the latest approach promising easier and quicker results is an effective use of their time and resources. Over the past half-decade, blood flow restriction (BFR) has undergone a meteoric rise from obscurity to acceptance in the medical community. The purpose of this viewpoint article was to appraise the evidence behind BFR while outlining its usefulness, methods of action, indications, contraindications, and application guidelines.

METHODS

This viewpoint article cites 57 articles as it breaks down the plausible evidence surrounding BFR. The paper starts with a discussion of the commercial influence that exists in physiotherapy. Evidence supporting the latest modalities can sometimes be difficult to discern, as study design and data analysis may be influenced by the commercial enterprise manufacturing and selling the devices. Despite their long-tenured stronghold on physical rehabilitation, the use of passive modalities appears to be on a slow decline. Research in the field of physical rehabilitation continues to point to exercise and education as the two most effective methods of intervention.

RESULTS

BFR is the latest modality gaining traction in physical rehabilitation. Although it seems too good to be true, the practice of exercise under partial limb occlusion is holding up to research. The primary benefit seen with BFR is muscle hypertrophy

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