Blood flow restriction therapy (BFRT) is a method for developing muscle strength and hypertrophy in the athletic and clinical settings for people recovering from musculoskeletal conditions like neck pain, low back pain, and pain in the shoulders or legs. Through the combination of venous occlusion and low-load resistance training, it is thought to promote muscle development through a number of proposed mechanisms including: anaerobic metabolism, cellular swelling, and induction of type 2 muscle fibers. Muscle weakness and atrophy are common among people suffering from musculoskeletal conditions like low back pain and neck pain, causing delayed return to functional activity. In traditional resistance training, muscle development requires exercise loads of 70% of one-repetition maximum, but the stress placed on connective tissues and joints can be detrimental to the elderly and rehabilitation patients. However, BFRT with loads of 20% to 40% of one-repetition maximum has been shown in the literature to increase muscle strength, hypertrophy, and muscle repair. The rate of adverse effects has not been found to be greater than that in traditional high-load resistance training1. In conjunction with other treatment modalities, BFRT can be beneficial for keeping patients active.
1. Vopat B., et al (2020, June). Blood Flow Restriction Therapy: Where We Are and Where We Are Going. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31609881/