Lymphedema and manual lymphatic drainageJune 20, 2015
Lymphedema is a condition of localised fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a impaired flow of the lymphatic system. The condition can be inherited although it is frequently caused by cancer treatments and by parasitic infections.
The lymphatic system is a network of lymph vessels throughout the body, it’s purpose is to collect excess lymph fluid with protein, lipids and waste products from the tissues. This fluid is then carried to the lymph nodes, which filter waste products and contain infection fighting cells called lymphocytes. The excess fluid in the lymph vessels is eventually returned to the blood stream. When the lymph vessels are blocked or unable to carry lymph fluid away from the tissues swelling (lymphedema) is the result.
- Primary lymphedema is caused by genetically related impaired lymph vessels and or lymph node development.
- Secondary lymphedema is when tissue swelling due to mechanical insufficency of the lymphatic system by narrowing or obliteration of the lymph vessels or nodes.
Signs and symptoms: Swelling in one or both arms and legs, depending on the extent of localised damage of the area.
- heaviness or fullness
- achy pain in the affected area
- skin discolouration
- wart like appearance -hyperplasia, hyperkeratosis, papillomatosis and eventually deformity elephantiasis
The most common treatments for lymphedema are manual lymphatic massage, compression garments or bandaging.
Compression bandaging enhances the pumping action of the lymph vesssels by providing resistence for them to push against, this encourages the lymphatic flow and helps to soften fluid – swollen area’s. Exercise, resistence work has been helpful to decrease edema in some patients.
Surfcoast massage performs and is fully trained in manual lymphatic drainage in Torquay/Jan Juc for patients that have these conditions. Lisa can be contacted on 0438668878 to make a booking or you would like further information please do not hesitate to contact us.