A new, cutting-edge rehab tool is now being used at Atrium Physical Therapy! A patient, “D.E.” had both knees replaced over a period of 2 years. Since the surgeries, he was unable to get the strength back in his legs due to pain. He said “My knees hurt so much . . . I couldn’t push hard enough to get stronger.” He is now using a technique that's getting a lot of attention in the physical therapy community.
"It feels like I’m lifting more than I've ever lifted. My legs feel like they will explode - like I've walked 500 flights of stairs. But then I feel fine and now so much stronger" said D.E., a Las Cruces resident who is going through Blood Flow Restriction rehab at Atrium Physical Therapy.
Johnny Owens PT, of San Antonio Texas, researched and applied this technique on Wounded Warriors at the Center for the Intrepid, at the San Antonio Military Medical Center Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. Owens is published extensively in the peer-reviewed literature. His work has been reported in 60 Minutes, Time magazine, NPR, Discovery Channel and ESPN. In addition to the clinical staff at Atrium, Owens has trained and certified Physical Therapists in professional sports teams, universities, rehab facilities, and private clinics.
BFR rehab is the brief and intermittent blocking of venous blood flow using an FDA approved pressure cuff. To get a growth and strength response in muscle, patients need to lift a heavy load. The value in using BFR is that the body responds to light resistance as if you are lifting a heavy load. It’s not the most comfortable treatment, but patients identify the difference quickly and are eager to continue with the treatment in their next session. “I have strength in my quads that I haven’t felt since long before my knee replacements.” said “D.E.”, a BFR patient at Atrium Physical Therapy. “What’s more, I had a previous injury to one of my legs before, which left me with a very weak calf muscle. I’m now using that calf with much more strength.”
A large and growing body of scientific evidence supports BFR effectiveness and safety. “We are careful to caution that BFR is not for everyone,” said Dennis Prickett, Physical Therapist and co-owner at Atrium Physical Therapy. A trained therapist reviews the risks, and a physician is consulted when necessary. “This is not as simple as putting a strap around the limb and making it tight. If done incorrectly or using improper equipment, an injury may result. That’s why we use the only FDA approved personalized tourniquet system for BFR available.” Atrium is the only certified physical therapy clinic in the state of New Mexico to use this system.
“We are so excited to offer this to our patients. This is a treatment modality with a very large amount of scientific literature to support it. Its potential to transform many people’s lives - to get them stronger and back to normal - is tremendous.”