What is Compression Therapy for Athletes?
Hi everyone, in this post, we would like to briefly discuss the role that compression plays in the elements of Recovery, RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) and in particular the difference between Passive and Active compression.
Compression = anything that influences improvement to circulation.
How does passive compression therapy differ from Active Compression Therapy?
- Passive Compression - Compression Stockings
Compression Socks and sleeves are usually 8–40mmHg of pressure, and some are graduated in their pressure. Compression stockings are used for all stages of Chronic Venous Insufficiency, including varicose veins, edema, stasis skin changes and venous procedures. They may also be used in preventing and treating Post-Thrombotic Syndrome. (Edema is what occurs when athletes train and compete.)
According to Vascular surgeons that we work with, Passive Compression does work however it has a limited affect on improvement in recovery due to the low and static nature of the pressure and the active compression (Intermittent Pneumatic Compression) is favoured over static compression.
Intermittent pneumatic compression
Intermittent pneumatic compression is a therapeutic technique used in medical devices that include an air pump and inflatable auxiliary sleeves, gloves or boots in a system designed to improve venous circulation in the limbs of Athletes after training or competition to eliminate swelling and metabolic waste. It is also used in medical situations to treat Edema, DVT and Pulmonary Embolism. (Edema is what occurs when athletes train and compete.)
In use, an inflatable jacket (sleeve, glove or boot) encloses the limb requiring treatment, and pressure lines are connected between the jacket and the air pump. When activated, the pump fills the air chambers of the jacket in order to pressurize the tissues in the limb, thereby forcing fluids, such as blood and lymph, out of the pressurized area. A short time later, the pressure is reduced, allowing increased blood flow back into the limb.
The primary functional aim of the device “is to squeeze blood from the underlying deep veins, which, assuming that the valves are competent, will be displaced proximally.” When the inflatable sleeves deflate, the veins will replenish with blood. The intermittent compressions of the sleeves will ensure the movement of venous blood.
There are 2 Intermittent compression modes -
- Peristaltic Compression Devices
Peristaltic compression devices compression devices utilize sleeves with separated areas or pockets of inflation, which works to squeeze on the appendage in one zone or point at a time. When one zone is finished, it deflates and the next chamber inflates.
- Sequential compression devices
Sequential compression devices (SCD) utilize sleeves with separated areas or pockets of inflation, which works to squeeze on the appendage in a “milking action.” The most distal areas will initially inflate, and the subsequent pockets will follow in the same manner.
Recovery Systems intermittent pressure range is from 0-240 mmhg, (6 x that of a compression sock) and because there is medical support for Peristaltic and Sequential for Recovery, we choose to have both of them available in our treatment modes.