What is lymphedema?
Lymphedema is chronic swelling caused by a buildup of lymph, a clear fluid in your tissues. It is a condition that happens when your lymphatic system can’t function normally. In some cases, the condition occurs as a side-effect of surgery or radiation therapy, but it also occurs in otherwise perfectly health people – which makes it impossible to predict who’s going to develop lymphedema.
Symptoms of lymphedema
Some early signs include:
- Swelling that can be sudden, gradual, or episodic
- Clothing, rings, or shoes may feel tighter
- Heaviness, tightness, or fullness in the area
- Aches, pains, or pins & needles in the area
- Stretched, tight skin
What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?
The best treatment for Lymphedema is manual lymphatic drainage performed by a therapist certified in decongestive therapy. This treatment includes:
- A very specific, gentle massage technique to help flush out the swelling, direct fluid to other lymphatic pathways, and unblock or soften hard tissue
- Compression therapy using bandages, wrapping, or stockings, to help reduce and contain the swelling
- Exercise prescription to promote lymphatic flow
- Skin care education on how to avoid infection in the affected area
Your bottom line
Manual lymphatic drainage can be effective at treating the symptoms of lymphedema, but it takes a team to truly manage this condition:
- Your family & friends
- A certified therapist
- Your family doctor
- Sometimes a naturopath, dietician, or fitness expert
With the right approach, many people with lymphedema lead full and active lives.
Our therapist providing Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Alison is an experienced and skilled therapist. She’s also certified in Manual Lymphatic Drainage, effective at reducing swelling after injuries, surgery, and lymphedema.