Lymphedema is a condition that most commonly causes swelling in the arms or legs, but it is also possible for it to occur in the abdomen, chest, or face. It is caused by disruption or blockage of the lymphatic system due to cancer, surgery, radiation, infection, and in some instances, genetics.
At Appalachian Physical Therapy, we have certified Harrisonburg, Broadway, and Pinehurst physical therapists and occupational therapists on staff who specialize in the treatment of lymphedema. If you are suffering from this condition and you are searching for safe and effective treatment methods, contact our office today to schedule a screening.
How do we treat lymphedema?
There are a variety of treatments for lymphedema that may be used depending on the severity of the condition. At Appalachian Physical Therapy, we offer a combination of passive and active therapy treatments, including:
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). This is a special type of manual therapy, used specifically for patients with lymphedema. Through MLD treatments, your physical therapist will provide a gentle, hands-on massage of both the affected body part and adjacent areas. MLD works by moving the lymph fluid from the swollen, blocked region of the lymphatic system into the parts that are still functioning. By doing this, the fluid is able to be transported throughout the circulatory system. Additional massage treatments may be used in conjunction with MLD as your physical therapist deems fit.
- Therapeutic exercise. Our highly trained Harrisonburg, Broadway, and Pinehurst physical therapists will provide you with medically supervised exercise programs that are designed to strengthen muscles and improve the function of the lymphatic system. These exercises are light and gentle, focused on encouraging circulation and regaining mobility to the affected limb.
- Wrapping. Your physical therapist may suggest bandaging the entire limb, in order to encourage the lymph fluid to flow evenly throughout the lymphatic system. With wrapping, the bandage typically is at its tightest around your fingers or toes and loosens up as it moves up your arm or leg.
- Compression. Compression is similar to wrapping, in that it helps to prevent the re-accumulation of lymphatic fluid. However, it has some slight differences. Pneumatic compression is a special sleeve that is worn on the affected region that is connected to a pump. This pump will periodically inflate, putting pressure on the limb, and allowing the lymph fluid to circulate away from the affected area. Compression garments, such as long sleeves or stockings, can also be worn when exercising the affected limb to encourage additional flow of the lymph fluid during physical activity. Your physical therapist may suggest a custom-made compression garment, which he or she will assist in fitting.
- Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT). This is an intensive approach that our Harrisonburg, Broadway, and Pinehurst physical therapists generally use for severe cases. It combines multiple therapy treatments with lifestyle changes, in order to provide healing and prevent against further damage to the lymphatic system. This treatment is not required for everyone, and may not be recommended for those with certain health conditions. Your physical therapist will let you know if you are in need of CDT.
Schedule your appointment today:
Lymphedema can be painful and debilitating, but Appalachian Physical Therapy is here to help. Your treatment plan will be determined upon a thorough physical evaluation, analysis of medical history, and discussion of symptoms, in order to determine which therapies will work best for you. Lymphatic therapy in Harrisonburg, Broadway, and Pinehurst is limited, and our practice is equipped with the best methods and technologies for treating your condition.
If you have been diagnosed with lymphedema, Contact Us Today at Pinehurst, NC & Harrisonburg & Broadway, VA Centers to find out how our specialized lymphatic therapy program will help reduce your symptoms and improve your daily life. Don’t live in discomfort – find relief with us!