Lymphedema is caused by lymph node damage that prevents proper drainage of your lymph fluid. This damage may result from cancer or other medical treatments. However, many physicians are now suggesting that lymphedema patients seek local physical therapy treatments, e.g., physical therapy Louisville KY.
Your circulatory system includes both your vascular and lymphatic systems. While your blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to the different parts of your body through your veins and arteries, they also remove waste from these areas. The Lymph system filters and drains the lymphatic fluid, which contains blood cells and water. This vascular and lymph system removes poisons and toxins, such as carbon dioxide, from the body. It also moves the waste your blood picks up and lymph nodes filter through your kidneys and urinary systems. These processes also control your body temperature.
Symptoms of Lymphedema
Although lymphedema is often diagnosed using an MRI or CT scan, ultrasound or lymphoscintigraphy, several key symptoms of this disease. Individuals with lymphedema may experience less range of motion and increased limb heaviness. They may also see more swelling in their limbs. These individuals often feel joint pain and changes in the skin, including tightness.
Lymphedema also increases individuals’ risk of infection, including skin infections, and sepsis. They may also experience reductions in their vascular and lymphatic circulation. This disease may also cause swelling in the breast or chest and pitting in arm tissues.
Importance of Physical Therapy
Physical therapists who treat lymphedema are specially trained in how to manage the lymphatic system. They understand how to conduct complete decongestive therapy, including manual lymphatic drainage, compression treatments, exercises focused on decongestion and proper skin care.
This therapy encourages more natural drainage of lymph fluids using gentle hands-on techniques. These professionals also develop a comprehensive treatment plan for lymphedema and its symptoms and risks. They also train their patients in how to manage their disease at home.
Drastically Decrease the Symptoms
The goal of physical therapy for lymphedema is to optimize the resorption of lymph fluid back into the lymph nodes. However, these therapies can also alleviate some of the symptoms of the disease, such as swelling throughout the body. The reduction of fluid can also relieve joint swelling and pain.
Patients’ circulation can also be improved as the fluids are massaged, compressed or worked out of the body. This non-surgical treatment is the first-line treatment for this disease and should be sought as soon after diagnosis as possible to reduce and eliminate the symptoms that impact the quality of a patient’s life. Patients can search for physical or pelvic floor therapy near me and review clinics that offer lymphedema treatments.
If the lymphedema is severe, doctors may suggest compression stockings, massage and sequential pneumatic pumping. Specific skin care may also be suggested. The most severe cases may require surgery to build new outlets for drainage and removal of swollen tissue.
Learn more about the benefits of physical therapy on lymphedema by searching for a lymphedema clinic near me.