WHAT IS LYMPHEDEMA?
Lymph is a protein-rich fluid that moves throughout your body in lymph vessels. It carries waste, bacteria, and viruses to your lymph nodes. Your lymph nodes then filter the fluid to remove these items from your body. Lymphedema is an accumulation of fluid that occurs when the Lymphatic system is compromised which causes swelling, usually in the arms and/or legs and occasionally in other parts of the body such as the head or neck.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF LYMPHEDEMA?
There are two types of Lymphedema; Primary Lymphedema and Secondary Lymphedema. Primary Lymphedema develops when the Lymphatic System is malformed during fetal development. Secondary Lymphedema (the most common form) occurs when the lymphatic system is damaged due to accidents, surgeries, cancer treatments, or certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, infections, poor circulation, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, stokes, and more.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF LYMPHEDEMA?
The most common symptom of Lymphedema is swelling in one or both arms or legs. The swelling usually develops gradually over time and can to extend to fingers and toes. Other symptoms can include poor skin integrity, wounds and discoloration of the skin over the swollen area, and reduced range of motion in the affected limb. Swelling present in the arms and/or legs that does not go away should always be monitored by your doctor.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT OF LYMPHEDEMA?
Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is the most successful course of treatment for Lymphedema which includes Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD), Compression Therapy, Exercises, Skin Care and Patient Education.
WHAT IS LYMPHEDEMA MASSAGE?
Lymphedema Massage also known as Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a gentle hands-on technique that encourages the natural flow of the lymph fluid through the body which reduces swelling and promotes healing. MLD is used to reroute the lymph flow around blocked areas into healthy lymph vessels, which decreases swelling by draining the fluid into the circulatory system. MLD is recognized as a primary tool in Lymphedema/Lipedema treatment in the arms or the legs.
Rebecca is a Certified Lymphedema Therapist, trained in Complete Decongestive Therapy, with over 135 hours of training at the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy.