Understanding Lymphedema and Treatment Options
March is National Lymphedema Month. Kirsten Becker, PT recently completed the Manual Lymph Drainage (Vodder Technique) and Complete Decongestive Therapy Training program with Klose Training. This included Manual Lymph Drainage and Lymphedema bandaging.
What is the difference between EDEMA and LYMPHEDEMA? Edema is a symptom of the body’s normal response to an injury such as a sprain, etc. As healing progresses, excess fluid leaves the area and the swelling goes down. Lymphedema is a disease condition that occurs when the lymphatic system is impaired to the extent that the amount of lymphatic fluid in an area exceeds the capacity of the lymphatic transport system to remove it. The body itself cannot just reverse the swelling with elevation, because the lymphatic system is unable to transport it away. We can assist the body with manual drainage techniques to move the fluid away from a malfunctioning lymph system to an area of intact lymph nodes, or pathways to remove the fluid. We also can use short stretch bandages (Cotton flat knit – not ACE bandages) and bandaging to move the fluid from distally to proximally with the help of exercises/activity to move the fluid out of the body. Then we can use day or night time sleeves/compression garments to maintain progress after therapy has achieved improved function/reduced volume.
Typical treatment is daily wraps times 2 weeks in PT/OT, then reduced frequency and home wrapping/garments to maintain with home programs.
Contact us or your primary MD toward setting up an evaluation and treatment.