What are the treatments for Lymphedema?
Manual lymphatic drainage- a hands-on technique performed by the therapist and then taught to the patient or family members. This technique gently stretches the skin to promote the flow of fluid from swollen tissues back to healthy parts of the body.
Compression wrapping- A specialized technique using short stretch compression bandages on the affected arm or leg. These bandages help to minimize fluid build-up and prevent the limb from refilling.
Exercise- Specific exercises to improve the flow of excess fluid and to improve overall strength and endurance for daily activities.
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is swelling in a part of the body most commonly in the neck, arm, leg or abdomen and is caused by a build up of fluid in the tissues. When left untreated, Lymphedema can worsen in time however with treatment it can be improved significantly.
What causes Lymphedema?
There are two types of lymphedema. Primary lymphedema occurs when the lymphatic system is not properly formed. This type of lymphedema can be present at birth or can show up later on in life. It can progress slowly or appear suddenly. Secondary lymphedema is a type of lymphedema that results from trauma, surgery, tumor, or radiation.
How do I recognize Lymphedema?
- Heaviness in a limb
- Achy feeling
- Clothing fits tightly
- Skin that becomes stretched and indented or hardened
- Pain, numbness, or tingling in the swollen area
- Slow healing