What is Lymphedema? It is most often associated with breast cancer, or other types of cancer that have resulted in the removal of lymph nodes in certain areas. When these lymph nodes are removed, in some cases but not all, swelling can occur in the limbs or even in the trunk, neck, or face. There are also cases of other types of surgeries that have possibly damaged lymph noeds inadvertendtly, again resulting in swelling of a limb or other body part. The last type of lymphedema to speak of is a combined insufficiency of both the vascular system and the lymphatic system. Because the lymphatic system parallels the veins and arteries of our body, if one system, namely the venous system becomes compromised, the lymphatic system tries to compensate and over time becomes overworked and compromised itself, resulting in continued swelling in one or both lower extremities.
One of the most effective treatments for swelling associated with the lymphatic stystem is complete decongestive therapy, or CDT. This involves compression garments of some type, exercise, skincare, self-care education, and MLD or manual lymphatic drainage. Manual lymphatic drainage is a special type of massage that is employed using gentle, subtle hand movements that are consistent with the lymphatic system anatomy and physiology. At Momentum Physical Therapy, we have therapists who are certified in lymphatic draninage techniques and can help with any of the issues described above. Please contact our office to set up an evaluation for your specific problem.