Lymphedema

Complete decongestive therapy may help if you’re experiencing the following:

  • discomfort or pain in affected limb
  • feeling of fullness in the limb
  • tight-feeling skin
  • decreased flexibility in the affected joint
  • difficulty fitting into clothing in one specific area
  • ring, bracelet, wristwatch, shoe or sock tightness
  • fatigue
  • breast pain
  • fibromyalgia
  • infertility
  • painful periods
  • constipation/IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Lipedema
  • Post-traumatic Edema
  • Post-surgical Edema
  • Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Cyclic-Idiopathic Edema
  • Inflammatory Rheumatism
  • Migraine Headache
  • Sinus Headache
  • Scleroderma
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Toxicity
  • Relaxation

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a persistent swelling of a body part due to a blockage in lymphatic flow when nodes or vessels are damaged or abnormal. The swelling may result in pain, decreased range of motion, and/or weakness. This results in the abnormal accumulation of protein.

Types of lymphedema:

PRIMARY - from birth or developed later in life

  • Birth-developmental abnormality of the lymphatic system
  • Lymphatic vessels are impaired or missing
  • Praecox-appears in puberty and occurs mostly in females; typically, one leg is affected
  • Tarda- appears later in life, can be male or female, sudden onset swelling with no apparent cause

SECONDARY - lymph nodes were removed or lymph vessels damaged due to one or more of the following:

  • Surgery and/or radiation treatment of breast, gynecological, head, neck, prostate, testicular; bladder, colon cancer or melanomas
  • Trauma, injury or accident resulting in blocked/damaged lymph system
  • Infections-interrupt normal lymph pathway function
  • Tumors
  • Radiation Therapy

What is lipedema?

Lipedema is a persistent swelling of a body part due to accumulation of fatty tissue and fluid. This results in pain and also known as painful fat syndrome. It involves the hips, thighs, and ankles; the feet are not affected. Lipedema appears as a symmetrical ring of tissue around the extremity, and doesn't respond to weight loss. This is not a dysfunction of the lymphatic system but can contribute and initiate problems with lymphatic flow.

How do we treat lymphedema?

  • Hands-on, one-on-one, 60-75 min in comfortable private treatment rooms
  • Complete Decongestive Therapy consists of Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) and compression bandaging
  • MLD, soft tissue mobilization, scar mobilization
  • Compression bandaging and garments
  • Modalities, including cold laser, ultrasound, electrical stimulation
  • Therapeutic exercises, including range of motion, stretching and strengthening
  • Patient education to maintain decreased edema, posture re-education, body mechanics, skin care

Effects of Manual Lymph Drainage include:

  • Relaxation, analgesic, diuretic
  • Increased performance of lymphatic system
  • Increased lymph production
  • Re-routes fluid from congested area
  • Soften Connective Tissue

Follow-up to Manual Lymph Drainage includes:

  • Compression garment fitting and wear following lymphatic drainage
  • Skin care
  • Exercise to improve cardiovascular health and help decrease swelling in some cases
  • Patient education (instruction in proper diet to decrease fluid retention and how to avoid injury and infection)

Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) Goals:

  • Increased range of motion/flexibility
  • Decreased swelling
  • Decreased pain
  • Increased strength
  • Restore function and improve quality of life

Selfcare Tips: Lymphedema