Benefits of Ischemic Compression Therapy

Despite not being among the most well-known techniques, ischemic compression therapy is very beneficial. Its methodology is very modern.
Benefits of Ischemic Compression Therapy

Last update: 10 November, 2019

When we’ve suffered an injury, specifically in the legs, ischemic compression therapy is key for recovery and the reduction of pain. In the next article, we’ll tell you more about it.

What is ischemic compression therapy?

Ischemic compression is a technique used in physical therapy. It’s characterized by deliberately blocking the passage of blood to the affected area. This produces a resurgence of blood flow once that pressure is released.

To understand it better, here’s an example: if you tie an elastic band around your index finger, the flow of blood to that area will be reduced. Your finger will initially swell and then redden. However, after releasing the elastic band, your finger will return to normal, in terms of its functions and appearance.

Ischemic compression is applied to trigger points. That is to say, in areas where there’s a lot of blood flow (for example, the legs). As the pressure reduces, the blood flow will normalize.

The process of compressing and releasing has positive effects on our body. It’s capable of soothing contractures, it heals wounds, and allows the muscles to relax.

Why opt for ischemic compression therapy?

Compression therapy is a very effective treatment for certain wounds, such as venous ulcers, vasculitis, or occlusive vasculopathy. However, before talking about this technique, let’s learn a little more about inflammatory processes.

Compression therapy has positive effects on the body.

When inflammation occurs in a certain area of the body due to a wound or an accident, it implies an alteration in blood micro-circulation. It can mean there are major capillary leaks and an increase in intravenous pressure due to gravity.

Thus, a phenomenon can develop that doesn’t allow cicatrization (or makes it harder) to occur. This can happen even when there’s nothing hindering the regeneration of tissues.

Compression therapy can fight against venous hypertension that delays the healing process. This is especially applicable in patients with obesity, immobilization, or any pathology in the blood.

This treatment aims to promote a venous return and to increase the ability of the body to heal the wound. Other effects of ischemic compression therapy are:

  • A decrease in capillary leakage.
  • Increase in the local lymphatic drainage.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Increase in arterial flow.

While you may think that having something compressing your leg is painful, the truth is that this process serves to accelerate recovery. Although it may be slightly uncomfortable. But, as the area heals, you’ll experience gradual relief.

Ischemic compression therapy for cervical pain

We’ve already talked about how ischemic compression therapy can reduce pain and favor wound healing. However, it’s also worth noting that it’s an excellent treatment for cervical problems.

Currently, a sedentary lifestyle causes many health consequences including cervical pain. Did you know that cervicalgia is one of the most common rheumatological and muscular problems?

The descending trapezius is the muscle that’s most affected by the pressure caused by the head and shoulders. Within the spectrum of cervical pain, we have myofascial trigger points. These can be found in different locations (within the area) and generate pain with the slightest touch.

The problem with these points is that they trigger motor dysfunction. For example, not being able to move the head freely or hyperalgesia (an increase in pain sensitivity). Ischemic compression therapy provides great results in cases where patients suffer from cervical trigger points. Moreover, there’s another technique that can also serve as a compliment: acupuncture.

Ischemic compression therapy has very good results with cervical trigger points.

Ischemic compression therapy in office workers

Due to the benefits of this therapy, many companies are now offering it to their employees. Ideal for office workers who are suffering from pain or neck and shoulder problems.

In these cases, the objective is to reduce pain and avoid more serious ailments. This results in fewer absences and more concentration at work.

Generally, and in order to see results, the treatment is given once a week and lasts for two months.

Undoubtedly, ischemic compression therapy has several advantages. Ideal not only for those who have suffered an accident or who have an illness but also for people who frequently experience muscular pain. Have you tried ischemic compression therapy yet?

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  • Rojo, R., Gamboa, G., & Soto, M. A. (2016). Efectividad de la terapia combinada de compresión isquémica con estiramiento poscontracción isométrica para la recuperación del rango de movimiento cervical en el tratamiento de puntos gatillo. Fisioterapia.