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How To Manage POTS Symptoms: Compression Boots for POTS

Updated: Apr 2

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a condition that affects the autonomic nervous system, causing an array of symptoms like dizziness, blood pooling, rapid heart rate, and fatigue upon standing. POTS is a condition categorized as Dysautonomia–the dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system. Managing POTS can be challenging, but technological advancements have introduced innovative solutions to enhance the quality of life for those living with this condition. Compression boots, often associated with recovery after intense physical activity, have gained recognition as a potentially beneficial tool for POTS management. In this blog post, we will explore the role of compression boots in POTS treatment, how they work, and their potential benefits.


Table of Contents:


Understanding POTS Syndrome

POTS Syndrome is a condition characterized by a significant increase in heart rate when transitioning from lying down to standing up. This can lead to various debilitating symptoms such as lightheadedness, fainting, heart palpitations, gut issues, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, and extreme fatigue. While there is no cure for POTS Syndrome, various treatment strategies aim to alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals affected by this condition. Lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and medication are commonly used approaches, but these measures are not enough for many suffering individuals.


Compression Boots for POTS Syndrome

Compression boots, also known as pneumatic compression devices, have long been used in sports and medical settings to aid recovery and improve blood circulation. In recent years, these devices have gained attention in the POTS Syndrome community for their potential to manage some of the condition's symptoms. Many POTS patients are already familiar with compression socks, a standard symptom management treatment for POTS. Compression socks are a valuable tool in a POTS patient’s toolkit, but compression boots offer a customized approach, allowing an individual or doctor to select specific strength levels for treatment. Compression socks are a passive form of POTS symptom management, while compression boots provide active management.

A man using compression boot therapy.

How Do Compression Boots Work?

Compression boots consist of inflatable chambers that are wrapped around the legs. When activated, these chambers apply pressure in a sequential or peristaltic manner, starting from the ankle and moving upward toward the thigh. This mimics the natural action of muscle contractions and helps to promote blood flow by pushing blood back toward the heart.


Peristaltic Compression: Peristaltic compression devices use a single chamber or cuff that inflates and deflates in a wave-like motion.


Sequential Compression: Sequential compression devices have multiple chambers or cuffs positioned along the limb that inflate and deflate in a sequence. The compression boots utilized at Better Brain & Body use sequential compression.


The Benefits of Compression Boots for POTS Syndrome:


1. Improved Blood Circulation: POTS patients often experience blood pooling in the legs when they stand. Compression boots can help alleviate this problem by encouraging blood flow back to the upper body, reducing the severity of symptoms like dizziness and fainting.


2. Reduced Fatigue: Enhanced blood circulation (blood flow) can also reduce fatigue, a common and debilitating symptom of POTS. By improving the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscles and organs, compression boots may help patients feel more energized.


3. Enhanced Muscle Pump: POTS patients may struggle with weak leg muscles, exacerbating their symptoms. The rhythmic pressure provided by compression boots acts as a passive exercise for the leg muscles, potentially strengthening them over time.


4. Relaxation and Stress Reduction: Many users of compression boots report a feeling of relaxation and stress reduction during and after use. Using compression boots can be akin to receiving a lower body massage. This therapy could particularly benefit POTS patients, as stress can exacerbate symptoms.


5. Reduced Swelling: Some individuals with POTS may experience swelling in their lower limbs due to fluid retention. Compression boots can help reduce swelling by promoting lymphatic drainage and fluid movement, potentially relieving discomfort and edema.


6. Enhanced Orthostatic Tolerance: People with POTS often struggle with maintaining an upright posture due to orthostatic intolerance. Compression boots may aid in increasing orthostatic tolerance by mitigating the effects of blood pooling and reducing symptoms like heart rate increase and dizziness upon standing.


7. Enhanced Venous Return: Pneumatic compression devices are designed to facilitate the movement of blood and lymphatic fluid by applying controlled pressure. This action can help the veins in the legs return blood to the heart more efficiently, reducing the workload on the cardiovascular system. This enhanced venous return can benefit POTS, where blood pressure regulation is often compromised.


8. Convenience: A compression boots treatment ranges between 20 minutes and one hour. Most commonly, patients will benefit from a quick 20-minute session. Additionally, the compression boots used at Better Brain & Body are wireless and can be integrated into your treatment protocol alongside other therapies.



Important Considerations

While compression boots offer several potential benefits for POTS patients, it's essential to keep a couple of considerations in mind:


1. Consult a Healthcare Professional: Before starting any new treatment, including compression boots, it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional knowledgeable about POTS. They can provide guidance on whether compression boots are suitable for your specific case and offer recommendations on usage.


2. Individual Variability: POTS is a complex condition with varying symptoms and triggers. What works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, it's important to approach the use of compression boots with an open mind and a willingness to assess their effectiveness individually.


POTS Syndrome & Compression Boots Takeaway

Compression boots represent an exciting innovation in the management of POTS. While they are not a cure, they offer potential benefits in improving blood circulation, reducing fatigue, and enhancing overall comfort for individuals living with this condition. However, it's crucial to use them under the guidance of a healthcare professional and as part of a comprehensive POTS management plan. As research in this area continues to evolve, compression boots may become an increasingly valuable tool in the journey towards managing POTS and improving the quality of life for those affected by it.


If you are looking for non-invasive treatments for managing POTS in Charlotte, NC, Better Brain & Body is the place for you! Dr. Alicia Brown is a leading functional neurologist in treating Dysautonomia and POTS. Are you curious to see how compression boots may help you? Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with Dr. Brown by filling out our contact form or call us at 704-752-8100.


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