Symptoms of Lymphedema
Symptoms of lymphedema include swelling in the arms, legs and other body parts; recurrent infections; a feeling of heaviness, and sometimes pain and/or tightness; and leaking of lymph fluid. The amount of swelling may fluctuate at different times.
Causes of Lymphedema
Lymphedema occurs when the lymph system is damaged or blocked. Fluid builds up in soft body tissues and causes swelling. Lymphedema usually affects an arm or leg, but it can also affect other parts of the body, and is often a permanent condition that can cause long-term physical, psychological, and social problems for patients if not treated or managed.
Treatment components include:
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
A gentle massage technique utilized to stimulate the lymphatic vessels and channel the excess lymph fluid towards healthy lymph nodes.
Short stretch compression bandages are used to wrap the affected limb to prevent re-accumulation of lymph fluid. Once the size of the affected body part has stabilized, compression garments are acquired.
Gentle exercise is utilized to improve lymphatic flow and improve the client’s functional mobility of the affected limb.
Patients and/or families are instructed in self bandaging and self massage techniques. They are also educated on appropriate skin and nail care.