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Therapy for Lymphedema

Woman stretching Lymphedema is a condition in which the lymphatic fluid does not follow its normal path of drainage. This can occur due surgical removal of lymph nodes, radiation treatment, trauma, and prolonged edema of any cause (such as chronic venous insufficiency). One can develop lymphedema many years after the surgery or injury, making it an important condition to be aware of. Ask your doctor if you have any concerns. Lymphedema commonly occurs in the limbs, but can occur in any part of the body. At Confluence Health, we have both Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists who specialize in this area.

Common signs of Lymphedema include:

  • Feeling of fullness, tightness, or pressure in the affected area
  • Sensation of swelling or an increase in size of the limb or affected area
  • A feeling of heat in the affected limb or area

Common treatment techniques can involve:

  • Manual lymph drainage (a specialized light massage)
  • Individualized gradient compression bandaging
  • Use of compression garments
  • Instruction in skin care
  • Instruction in self-drainage techniques
  • Specific therapeutic exercise

If you have concerns about lymphedema, be sure to ask your physician if you would benefit from a referral to a lymphedema therapist. After a thorough evaluation, your therapist will provide an individualized assessment and treatment plan, helping you to stay healthy and active.

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