How You Can Manage Your Lymphedema Symptoms With Physical Therapy

Lymphedema is swelling in the joints. The fluid that collects is protein-rich and is typically removed from your body through your lymphatic system. Fluid accumulation may occur in your extremities, such as your arms and legs, but your chest, neck, genitals and abdomen can also start accumulating fluid. Fortunately, physical therapy can help. Before searching for lymphedema physical therapy treatment, these are some things patients should know.

Causes of Lymphedema

The most common cause of lymphedema is lymph node removal during cancer surgeries, trauma, infection, cancer or radiation treatments, cardiovascular diseases and heredity. Parasites, such as worms, can also block or clog the lymph nodes.

In addition, there are several risk factors for the development of lymphedema, including old age, obesity and arthritis.

Symptoms To Pay Attention To

Lymphedema symptoms include range of motion restrictions or weakness. This restriction may be due to swelling of the arms, legs, fingers and toes as well as in other areas of the body. Swelling in the abdomen and chest may make them feel heavy and tight, but your limbs may also feel this way. In addition, fibrosis, or skin hardening and thickening, is another sign.

Individuals may also experience joint pain, consistent infections or tissue pitting. They may find that their clothing and jewelry are tighter than before. Finally, they could experience challenges doing regular activities or daily tasks.

For those who receive cancer treatments and surgeries, symptoms of lymphedema may not occur for several months or years. A doctor should be consulted if the swelling is persistent. In addition, a physician should oversee any person who receives a lymphedema diagnosis. Finally, a doctor should see anyone with dramatic swelling increases.

PT Strategies That Help

When individuals look for physical therapy in San Antonio, TX , search for those who have lymphedema-specific treatments. Physical therapists may provide compression garments. They should also provide clear instructions on their use if they send them home with their patients. These professionals may also suggest that patients elevate their limbs and complete mild exercises that improve lymphatic flow. Modafinil pill

People who experience severe swelling may need more aggressive treatments. For example, their physical therapists may use a form of massage that encourages manual lymphatic drainage. They may also receive personalized exercise programs that target specific nodes. These individuals will likely receive compression bandaging and training on hygiene to reduce infection risk.

Physical therapists carefully monitor the swelling and create exercise programs that do not strain the limb with lymphedema. Due to the risk and frequency of infection, these professionals also monitor their patients’ limb and skin health and train their patients to eat properly and care for their skin and nails.

What To Look for in a Physical Therapist

The first thing individuals should look for is someone who has extensive experience with treating lymphedema. This condition can be dangerous and should be treated properly. These professionals must complete specialized training programs and gain advanced knowledge in this area. Patients need someone with years of success with these types of health challenges.

Physical therapy is highly specialized. So individuals who need PT should look for specific lymphedema, sports injury or TMJ physical therapy , depending on their diagnoses.

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