Effective Ways To Improve Blood Circulation
“The most common symptoms of poor circulation include pain, tingling, numbness and muscle cramps”
Poor blood circulation is a condition that occurs when the blood flow to a particular area is reduced, but poor circulation cannot be termed as a condition by itself, as it results from other health issues.
Hence, it is important to deal with the underlying causes such as atherosclerosis, thrombosis formation,diabetes mellitus, varicose veins, Raynaud’s disease, obesity, renal diseases etc. rather than focusing on the symptoms. Compromised circulation can even occur due to other reasons such as any injuries or wounds which lead to inflammatory changes, prolonged immobility due to lack of physical activity or increased water retention and blood flow changes etc.
The most common symptoms of poor circulation include pain, tingling, numbness and muscle cramps. However, other unique features can be seen as well, depending on the underlying condition
Physiotherapy To Enhance Circulation
This includes the use of ice packs, vapocoolant sprays or cold compression units. An ice massage can be done over the affected area which causes an initial vasoconstriction of the blood vessels and gradual vasodilation, thereby mobilizing blood flow This kind of therapy mainly helps to control inflammation, edema and pain.
This is primarily used in order to control pain, increase the arculation and promote healing. The heat causes blood vessels to dilate, thereby increasing the blood flow to the area. It can be administered superficially using hot packs or with a wax bath. For a deeper affect other modalities like infrared lamps and UV lamps can be used.
A massage stimulates the flow of blood and lymph vessels, thus enhancing circulation. The techniques include stroking, deep effleurage, kneading, percussions etc. These techniques are carried out in a relaxed environment. The person is positioned in supine and the massage techniques are then carried with the force being directed mainly towards the lymph nodes. This helps to drain out the lymphatic fluid and increase the blood flow in the area.
This is a unique pattern of taping – the tape is cut in the form of a fan and is spread and applied over the affected area to facilitate lymphatic drainage thus, minimizing any swelling. An inch of the tape is left uncut which is then applied to the area where the fluid has to be drained while the rest of the tape is cut lengthwise and applied over the swollen area, to facilitate the flow of the fluid towards the lymph node. The process is gradual and the size of the tape depends on the area affected.
Stretching can help by mobilizing the blood flow in the body. Stretches for the shoulder muscles, biceps, triceps, forearm, chest and back muscles can help to improve circulation of the upper body, while stretching the hip muscles, quads, hamstrings and calf muscles can improve the circulation of the lower body.
Muscle Strengthening Exercises
These exercises gradually help the muscles to become stronger, thereby helping in pumping the blood back to the heart and preventing any retention of fluid. Bicep curls, triceps dips, core muscle strengthening, lower limb toning and strengthening using either dumbbells, weights, therabands, physio balls or gym equipment can be done. however, care has to be taken to co ordinate breathing with the exercise in order to prevent valsalva manoeuver which results in an increase in the intrathoracic pressure.
Exercises such as walking, cycling, swimming, jogging etc. help improve the overall systemic circulation of the body.
Exercises done in water also help in improving overall circulation because the buoyancy of water acts on the body, making one feel lighter and more active.
These exercises are mainly required for bed ridden patients. The techniques such as elevation of the legs using pillows (to counter the effects of gravity), ankle pumps (allows calf muscles to pump the blood from the lower limbs), crepe bandage or pneumatic cuffs (to prevent excess fluid from accumulating), massage and basic passive or active movements. All these can be to prevent edema and maintain proper circulation.
- While opting for any treatment care should be taken with regard to the underlying cause
- A proper check on the vitals is necessary throughout treatment
- In some cases, a look at the complete blood picture becomes necessary so as to set the parameters of the exercise
- An aerobic testing should be done prior to treatment