Lymphedema refers to swelling of an area, most commonly an extremity, due to the accumulation of fluid from the lymphatic system. Lymphedema ranges from mild to severe, and it can result in various unwanted symptoms that affect life. If you have lymphedema, you may want to seek physical therapy near me, as it can be effective in managing symptoms.
Symptoms to Pay Attention To
Lymphedema occurs when there is damage to the lymphatic vessels or nodes. It is more common in individuals who have cancer, such as if a tumor is blocking off a vessel or if there has been a surgical removal of a node. As a result, excess fluid is unable to filter out, and it accumulates.
Lymphedema is more common in the legs and arms, although it can occur in the neck, abdomen, chest wall, and genitals. Some symptoms to be aware of include:
- Inflexible or tight joints
- Swelling of the affected area
- Tight or thick skin
- Red or puffy skin
- A feeling of heaviness in the affected area
- Lack of visibility of the tendons and veins in your feet or hands
These symptoms can cause additional problems. If the swelling is moderate or severe, and there is joint tightness, it can be difficult to move, so range of motion is reduced. The swelling can make it challenging to wear certain clothing or jewelry, as they do not fit around the swollen extremities.
Another complication with lymphedema is that it increases the chances of infection, particularly skin infections. Even minor scratches can lead to more serious infections, in which symptoms include redness, increased swelling, pain, and fever.
Murrieta physical therapy can help reduce and manage many of the symptoms associated with lymphedema.
PT Strategies That Help
Physical therapy can help whose who have lymphedema in various ways. One strategy is manual lymphatic drainage, in which the physical therapist gently massages the affected area to move the fluid out. Another way to move the fluid is by using sequential pneumatic compression. The therapist may also apply compression bandages to achieve the same effect.
Exercise is another great way to increase the movement of fluid. A physical therapist can walk you through customized moves, taking in consideration the severity of the condition and your overall physical condition.
Along with hands-on approaches, physical therapists also provide education for their clients. Your therapist may recommend special compression sleeves or socks as well as other clothing to improve your comfort.
You may be given exercises to do at home as well as other tips to manage the condition. Because preventing infection is important, your therapist may discuss proper skin care and wound management.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for lymphedema. There are some surgical options for those with severe lymphedema, but they should only be considered if more conservative approaches, such as physical therapy, have been unable to reduce symptoms.
Lymphedema management is in fairly high demand. If you are a physical therapist and have experience with treating lymphedema, search for physical therapy jobs in California.