Former Chief Editor of the number one orthopedic technique journal, Dr. Brian Day, MD, specifically mentions the Delphi device in his editorial. Dr. Robert LaPrade, formerly of the Steadmon Philipon clinic in Vail, Colorado, the expert on knee multi-ligament repair, also mentions the same Delphi device used in our Carol Stream clinic.
"I still have knee pain and my ACL surgery was two years ago." -AHR past patient
Since 2000, when researchers Cook and Koltyn coined the term, “exercise induced hypoalgesia”, doctors and physical therapists have pushed exercise as an effective method for reducing a patient’s pain.
More recently, additional information came to light, which should get your attention if you are currently experiencing any pain or discomfort.
The research has shown that the addition of BFR to resistance training for the lower leg produced a significant reduction in pain levels, when compared to low intensity exercise alone for the lower leg.
We see this effect every day in our office with patients who can’t physically play soccer, basketball, or football to their specific needs.
One such collegiate football player came to our office with a nagging ankle issue. He wasn’t able to run an “out route” from the backfield and, on a dime, cut when he reached the sideline and sprint upfield. Due to his ankle mobility issue, he was rounding his runs and ran out of bounds each time. Frustrated, he came to our office to work on his ankle, but what we ended up figuring out along the way shocked us both.
Two years prior, this athlete suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on the same leg. Even two years after the surgical procedure, he still reported tenderness and the occasional pain episode in the knee. Not convinced that the affected leg had healed fully, we investigated further to find out significant discrepancies between the left and right leg on this athlete. He had still not yet gotten his affected leg back up to 100% his pre-ACL strength baseline. And yet he was cleared to play.
With some moderate amount of swelling in his ankle joint, we decided to pursue a rigorous course of manual therapy, soft-tissue work and BFR to minimize any muscle deficits, since he was unable to continue to perform his team’s usual in-season weight lifting program.
Enter BFR and the rest of the story….
We began using BFR three times a week at a consistency of 3-4 exercises per session. The athlete reported that he had never experienced such rigorous exercises previously and greatly appreciated the intensity, as it felt like he was getting “back to where” he needed to be to play again.
About the fourth session in, this athlete reported that his anterior knee pain, the ache and tenderness was gone. Not just reduced, but gone, completely. He had a grin on his face from ear to ear and was ecstatic at the current state of his knee.
After a few more sessions, he was back on the field, cutting and helping his team make it all the way to the quarterfinals of the National tournament. His contribution to the team was immense and we are extremely proud of his mentality and his ability to work hard for his team.
So what’s the take home message here? BFR is an effective strategy to reduce pain even in areas outside of the targeted tissue. As mentioned in our case study, our athlete eliminated his knee pain when he came to us for an ankle mobility issue.
Now, there is no doubt that a heavy resistance and strengthening program would have gotten him to his desired state at some point, but unfortunately, athletes and clients fall into the “Doom Loop” all too often.
The Doom Loop goes like this: A region or part of the body hurts, so you don’t use it (so as to not hurt it further), and since you don’t use it very often, then when you do go to use it, it hurts and doesn’t feel normal - so you don’t use it anymore! And the cycle goes on and on and on…
When BFR enters the picture, it offers a safe, effective method of interrupting the “Doom Loop” by getting you moving again safely. Simple range of motion exercises with BFR is a great place to start, and also slowly starts to reverse the effects of a lack of mobility on that problematic area. Once tolerance has been built up, we slowly add bands and weights to the exercises to really create an amplified effect on muscle.
Since our office utilizes the Gold Standard BFR device, called the Delphi Personalized Tourniquet System, you can be rest assured that the device is safe and extremely effective. In fact, nearly 90% of all the research studies conducted on BFR use the same Delphi device we use right here at our Carol Stream clinic.
In fact, some of the world leaders in surgical procedures have authored editorial papers specifically mentioning and encouraging outpatient use of the Delphi device for post-operative conditions such as ACL, meniscus, labral repair, rotator cuff surgery, and many others.
If you, or someone you know, has previously had a surgical procedure done BUT still is experiencing tenderness and discomfort, like our football stud was, then please call our office today to see if BFR is right for you. Call (630) 480-0113 now!
"We have to get our athlete's into BEAST MODE during physical therapy & recovery, otherwise, we are NOT challenging skeletal muscle nearly enough." -Johnny Owens, DPT Owens Recovery Sciences
When we first introduced Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) to our patients, invariable, the question came up: "What is this doing?"
Blood flow restriction is a novel, albeit not new, concept whereby arterial blood is restricted (not occluded) via a pneumatic tourniquet (similar to a standard blood pressure cuff) into a limb for a brief period of time.
By reducing the amount of oxygenated blood entering into the limb, either the arm or the leg, the affected limb quickly becomes stressed due to the lack of oxygen...
This stress has a significant effect on skeletal muscle, which oftentimes has become resistant to increasing in size and therefore strength. The stressful feeling in the limb with the tourniquet on feel eerily similar to the experience when we were kids and rode our bikes everywhere. Well, if you were like me, you rode your bike EVERYWHERE. Well, the feeling of riding a bike up a steep, steep hill was not one which many particularly enjoy.
That heaviness felt in the thighs while riding up a steep, steep hill are almost exactly the feelings that can be felt in the legs during a BFR session.
Needless to say, our patients have grown skeletal muscle, increased metabolic efficiency and seen tremendous progress by using BFR. Most importantly, upon completion of the rigorous BFR Plan of Care, every single patient has returned (safely) to their specific activity - running, weightlifting, football, lacrosse, soccer - you name it.
BFR has truly become a game-changer when it comes to proper rehabilitation and performance goals. But don't be fooled but other products on the market right now. The Delphi System we use at our office is a medical grade surgical tourniquet device, passing all the medical standards to be used in an operating room.
Unfortunately, not all devices are created equally. There are a lot of cheaper options on the market, which yield poor results (sadly). If you want to use a cheaper BFR device, our office is not the place for you.
Who is BFR for?
BFR is PERFECT for patients is perfect for 2 types of individuals; post-operative patients and recently injured individuals.
Post-operative BFR :
Unfortunately, traditional "PT" and "Chiro" treatment use colored bands and dumbbells, which are NOT enough to create stress in a limb that has undergone a surgical procedure. Picture a knee-ACL patient, with tons and tons of muscle atrophy (decrease) in the thigh region. Will a 3 pound ankle weight for 12 week REALLY help that person re-gain strength? We don't think so either. Enter the tourniquet. With the same 3 pound weight, BUT only 20% blood flowing into the limb, now we can metabolic stress muscle and therefore INCREASE it. Now we have improved muscle function and we are on our way to getting that person back to their sport/event/activity.
Acute Injuries & BFR:
Frequently, the phrase, "There's nothing we can do until the swelling goes down" is uttered around sports injuries. Picture the tweaked knee, the swollen ankle or the irritated shoulder. When an injury occurs, the swelling, which is the local inflammatory process, is actually a part of the healing process around the injured tissue. We don't really want to hurry that process up! However, the dichotomy here is that we also do not want to lose our hard-earned skeletal muscle. In some cases, this hard-earned muscle mass took YEARS to achieve, and, sadly, within 24 hours of not using it, the muscle begins to "waste" away (atrophy). What if there was a way we could maintain the muscle mass but not affect the tissue healing process? Enter BFR. With BFR, we can achieve something truly remarkable. We can place a tourniquet on the limb for ~20 minutes and mitigate skeletal muscle loss. Pretty cool (as long as you have the gold-standard BFR device, which we do!)
If you, or someone you know, has suffered with knee pain, hip pain or shoulder pain, BFR could be the vital approach to getting you back to your previous activity levels. It happens all the time at our office.
BUT, before you finish reading this, I need you to know that BFR is NOT for everybody. It is intense. You will experience complete muscle failure. This can leave individuals feeling totally uncomfortable - temporarily. Once the cuff is deflated, the feeling goes away. BUT, the warning needs to be heeded. This is NOT for individuals who enjoy sitting on a table getting massages and stretches for 45-60 minutes per session.
This is for those of you, who want to get better, so that you can get back out onto the field, court, rink, or trail and simply GET AFTER IT.
If that's your goal, we can help.
Call our office TODAY to schedule a BFR Demo just for you - (630) 923-5049.