The lymphatic system transports lymph fluid, waste and nutrients between the body’s tissues and the bloodstream. When there is a blockage, lymph fluid is unable to drain properly. Swelling can be reduced and prevented in the future with appropriate treatments. If you think you may be experiencing lymphedema, get in touch to set up a patient assessment.
Common Lymphedema Symptoms
- Swelling of an area of your arm or leg, or the entire limb (including fingers and toes). Swelling can range from mild to extreme.
- A heavy or tight feeling in a limb
- Low range of motion
- Aching or other discomfort
- Resistant infections
- Skin hardening or thickening in one area
Lymphedema Causes & Risk Factors
Lymphedema is most frequently caused by unknown factors. Radiation therapy as a part of cancer treatment, or cancer itself can also cause lymphedema. Other causes include surgery that impacts the lymph nodes and infection of the lymph nodes.
Effective Lymphedema Treatment
You should see a doctor if you notice swelling in an arm or leg (or both arms/legs) that is persistent and not going down. While lymphedema can’t be cured, it can be well-managed and the pain and swelling controlled. Treatment options include:
- Gentle exercises – Contracting the muscles in the affected arm or leg can help improve fluid drainage.
- Bandaging or compressing the affected limb – Bandaging the entire limb helps keep lymph fluid moving back toward the torso. Compression therapy can also help encourage proper drainage.
- Pneumatic compression – A sleeve for the arm or leg connected to a pump that regularly inflates the sleeve places helpful pressure on the limb.
- Massage – A massage technique called manual lymph drainage can help improve lymph fluid flow. But you should not pursue massage if you have a blood clot.
- Complete decongestive therapy – This treatment method combines various therapies with changes to the patient’s lifestyle.
If you have been experiencing swelling in one or more limbs, reach out today for assistance.