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RiverView Offers Blood Flow Restriction for Strength, Muscle Building

Hospital news | Monday, September 19, 2022

RiverView Health Physical Therapist Caitlyn Michno, recently received certification in Blood Flow Restriction (BFR).

BFR is an advanced form of strength training and muscle building, Michno shared. It utilizes a compression sleeve, like a blood pressure cuff, to challenge the muscles metabolically. This metabolic challenge allows the patient to have significant gains in strength and muscle size with little physical work. It also has the added benefit of helping with bone growth, tendon repair, muscle healing, and cardiovascular capacity by changing the metabolic environment in which the muscles work.

“We can use BFR to prevent the muscle size and strength loss that would typically occur after an injury,” she stated. “Because of this, BFR is an excellent tool for patients who have a limited weight-bearing status, limited tolerance for lifting weights due to pain, and athletes who are looking to quickly return to their sport.”

With her new certification and skills, Michno can determine if BFR is appropriate for the patient, what dosage to use, and can monitor the progression of BFR activity to maximize a patient’s physical therapy outcomes. Michno is also a proponent of safety. If done incorrectly, BFR can be unsafe and potentially cause injury.

Evidence shows BFR training can boost athletic training and may help patients with chronic pain or other conditions build muscle more easily, as long as it is performed correctly.

The practice originated in the 1960s in Japan and became recognized in the US in 2012. Many large medical systems, professional sports teams, and collegiate sports teams utilize the therapy as part of their physical training and injury recovery programs.

According to Michno, physical therapy sessions can be BFR-focused or BFR can be integrated with other treatments. The practice is billed under commonly used therapy codes; therefore, utilizing it during a therapy session is not an additional cost.

For more information on BFR, talk to your primary care provider or call RiverView’s Rehab Services Department at 281.9463.

Pictured above: Caitlyn Michno, DPT