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What are the Different Lymphedema Treatments?

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  • Written By: K. Gierok
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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Lymphedema is a condition in which high amounts of lymph fluid flow into and remain trapped in the limbs of the body. One of the most effective forms of lymphedema treatments is exercise. Those who are diagnosed with lymphedema and who start an exercise program should be sure to start slowly and gradually increase intensity as their strength and endurance increases. In addition, a type of massage known as manual lymph drainage has also been found to be effective in treating the symptoms of lymphedema. In some cases, compression of the effected limbs is also used as as effective form of lymphedema treatment.

One of the most effective lymphedema treatments is exercise. Exercise has been found to be not only an effective way to remove lymph fluid from the limbs, but can also be an effective way to increase range of motion. For best results, those who have been diagnosed with lymphedema should start with light to moderate exercise and then gradually increase intensity as strength and endurance increases. In some cases, a physical or occupational therapist may be recommended, especially those who have severe lymphedema, or who are new to exercise.

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Massage has also been found to be one of the most effective lymphedema treatments. Manual lymph drainage, which is a particular type of massage specially designed to promote the drainage of lymph from the affected limb, has been found to provide the greatest success. For best results, those who have been diagnosed with lymphedema should consult with a professional who is skilled in manual lymph drainage, though, in some cases, affected individuals can learn some basic techniques themselves. Lymphedema patients who are currently experiencing a skin infection or have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, cancer, or blood clots should avoid any types of massage, however.

Another of the most common lymphedema treatments is wrapping and compression of the affected patient's limbs. Wrapping affected limbs aids in the release of lymph from the limb, and moves it back towards the torso. When receiving lymphedema wrapping, individuals should be sure that the fingers and toes are wrapped the tightest, with the wrapping gradually decreasing in compression as it moves up the affected limb. A pneumatic compression sleeve is a mechanical piece of equipment that simulates the effects of lymphdema wrapping. This form of treatment is a great choice for those who do not have access to professional wrapping, and cannot do it on their own.

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