Living With Lymphedema? Physical Therapy Could Help You Live More Comfortably
Are you or a loved one living with lymphedema symptoms? Lymphedema is a swelling disease caused by an excessive buildup of lymph fluid in the upper or lower extremities.
In some cases, people with these symptoms may be aware that they have lymphedema, but in others, the condition may need to be diagnosed.
The lymphatic system is an important part of your immune and circulatory systems. It is a network of vessels that transports lymph fluid to the body’s core. Lymphedema can develop when that system is not functioning properly.
Because the fluid cannot drain properly if your lymphatic system is blocked, you may experience swelling in your arms or legs. Improper drainage causes a buildup of lymph fluid in your arms and legs, which can be dangerous if left untreated.
Fortunately, if you are living with lymphedema, there is a safe way for you to manage your symptoms: physical therapy. Make an appointment with MD Neuro-Rehab & Wellness Center today and let us help you find the relief you deserve!
Differences between primary and secondary lymphedema
There are two categories of lymphedema: primary lymphedema and secondary lymphedema.
Both of these conditions are difficult to deal with, but they occur for different reasons.
Primary lymphedema may either be inherited, or develop on its own. Primary lymphedema does not always have a clear cause. Your primary care physician may order additional imaging tests to examine your lymphatic system and rule out any potential problems. MRI scanning, CT scanning, Doppler ultrasound, and lymphoscintigraphy are examples of these tests..
Secondary lymphedema takes place as a result of a disease or disorder. It can also occur after a person has been treated for cancer; during surgical treatments, lymph nodes are frequently weakened or removed entirely. Lymphedema can also be caused by a surgical procedure that involves the lymph nodes.
The most common causes of secondary lymphedema include:
- Radiation treatment for types of cancer
Lymphedema can often take months or even years to develop as a result of cancer treatment.
Symptoms of lymphedema typically occur in the arms and legs. Pain levels vary from moderate (noting slight changes or sensations in your limbs) to serious (noticing extreme changes or feelings in your limbs, to the point where they may be difficult to use).
The following symptoms of lymphedema are pretty common, and if you’re experiencing them, it’s important to contact a therapist as soon as possible:
- Restricted range of motion
How can a physical therapist help relieve lymphedema symptoms?
At this time, there is not a cure for lymphedema, however, physical therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for the symptoms that come along with this condition.
Our physical therapists at MD Neuro-Rehab & Wellness Center in Pikesville are trained movement experts who can alleviate your discomfort and teach you how to manage your symptoms at home using a variety of strategies.
There are numerous complications to consider when it comes to conditions that include persistent swelling. Circulatory issues, infections, and the risk of injury are among them.
Our physical therapists at MD Neuro-Rehab & Wellness Center in Pikesville will conduct a thorough examination of your condition and develop a personalized lymphedema treatment plan for you.
The severity of your symptoms, as well as your physical exam and medical history, will determine your treatment plan. The focus of lymphatic care plans will be manual therapy and pain relief exercises.
One of our physical therapists will design an exercise program for you that will include gentle muscle contractions to restore function and increase your range of motion. Exercise of the affected limb(s) frequently promotes lymph fluid drainage.
Physical therapists may use manual therapy to help you manage your pain and symptoms. Manual lymphatic drainage is a type of manual therapy that is frequently used to treat lymphedema.
Lymph fluid flow to the upper and lower extremities is aided by manual lymphatic drainage. Additional massages can be added to help improve circulation and promote relaxation.
If you have lymphedema, we strongly recommend that you seek treatment and follow up with your doctor and physical therapist regularly to ensure that your condition does not worsen.
Wrapping, compression, or complete decongestive therapy may be added to your treatment plan as your physical therapist deems appropriate.
Contact us today to learn more about treatment for lymphedema
Lymphedema may be interfering with your life right now, but it does not have to be that way forever. Physical therapy is a safe and effective option to help you manage your symptoms with comfort and ease.
If you’re living with lymphedema and looking for relief, your journey begins right here.
To schedule an appointment at our clinic, please call us at (443) 360-5527 or click here. MD Neuro-Rehab & Wellness Center can assist you in reducing the effects of your lymphedema and improving your quality of life!