physical therapy in Canandaigua

What is Lymphedema?

by lakecountrypt, June 27, 2018

Lymphedema is a chronic medical condition that affects thousands of Americans every year. Lymphedema creates significant inflammation and swelling throughout the body, usually within the arms or legs. The effects of this swelling can range from mild to severe. At Lake County Physical Therapy & Sportscare, we can help you with managing your lymphedema symptoms. With physical therapy in Canandaigua, we will provide treatment options for you that will address the intense pain and swelling that you experience on a daily basis.

 

Symptoms

 

In the more extreme cases, the swelling can disfigure the affected area. Some of the other symptoms of lymphedema include:

 

  • Restricted motion
  • Aching
  • Discoloration
  • Hardened skin.

 

The elderly, the obese, and those suffering from rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis are at a higher risk of developing lymphedema.

 

Causes

In most cases, lymphedema is caused by either experiencing a serious injury to the lymph nodes or through the use of various cancer treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy. For cancer patients, lymphedema can develop years after the initial cancer treatment. In some rare cases, lymphedema can be caused by a person’s genetics. If the lymph nodes are damaged or removed entirely, there will be a major disruption of normal lymph drainage. The body uses lymph fluid to transport waste material throughout the body. Any disruption in the lymph nodes will cause a buildup of lymph fluid, leading to swelling and inflammation.

 

Treatment

 

Dealing with the effects of lymphedema can be a challenging task. Here are some things that you can do to make living with lymphedema easier:

 

Maintain a healthy weight: obesity puts excessive pressure on the lymph nodes which can disrupt the normal flow of lymph fluid. Eating healthier and remaining active can relieve this pressure and help ease the symptoms of lymphedema.

 

Gentle exercises: your physical therapist can provide you with several gentle exercises and stretches that can assist with draining the lymph fluid. The goal of these exercises is to alleviate pain and to regain mobility.

Bandages: using bandages will help prevent lymph fluid from building up, which will decrease inflammation and swelling. When initially starting out, your physical therapist should be the one to apply the bandages. However, they can teach you the correct technique so you can apply the bandages yourself.

Compression garments: as with using bandages, compression garments will keep the lymph fluid moving through the body and prevent fluid build-up.  You can ask your physical therapist about which compression garment is right for you.


Unfortunately, there is currently no cure that will fully eliminate lymphedema. However, there are several treatment options for managing lymphedema symptoms. One of the more successful treatment options is called Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). This procedure uses a specially designed massage technique disperses the lymph fluid. Here at Lake County Physical Therapy & Sportscare, our team of professionals is certified to use MLD with our patients. For those suffering from lymphedema, utilizing manual lymphatic drainage with our physical therapy in Canandaigua can have a positive impact on reducing pain and regaining functionality.

Are you suffering from lymphedema? Are you looking for physical therapy in Canandaigua? Click here to schedule an appointment.