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5 Lymphedema Physical Therapy Tips For Newly Diagnosed Patients

Old woman training with physio

Lymphedema therapy

Lymphedema is a long-term condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues, usually in the arms and legs. Although there’s no cure, it’s possible to control the main symptoms of swelling and fluid buildup through Lymphedema therapy.

To guide you, especially if you have recently been diagnosed with lymphedema, here are 5 lymphedema therapy tips.

1.     Know you are not alone: Up to 10million Americans, and hundreds of millions worldwide, suffer from lymphedema and lymphatic diseases. Organizations, such as LE&RN, LANA, NLN and ACOLS are dedicated in the fight against lymphedema and finding a cure. You’re not alone. And there are many resources, help guide sand ways to connect with others through these organizations available.

2.     Seek a lymphedema therapist: Specialized lymphedema therapists can teach you about techniques and equipment that can help reduce lymphedema swelling. Lymphedema clinicians are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement and treatments. You can contact one directly for an evaluation.

3.     Get some exercise: Movement and exercise are very important to improve your overall fitness and help you avoid a weight gain that can increase your risk of lymphedema. Working with a clinician, you can develop a safe and sensible exercise program that will avoid straining the affected limb and help you reduce the risk of developing lymphedema following surgery or infection.

4.     Prop up swollen arm or leg when sitting or lying down: Prop up your arm or leg on a pillow anytime you sit or lie down. Try to keep the limb above the level of your heart whenever you can. If your leg is affected, try not to cross your legs when you sit. Don't sit in one position longer than 30 minutes.

5.     Ask your clinician about compression treatment: Compression treatment reduces swelling caused by a buildup of lymph fluid (lymphedema). It puts pressure on the area of swelling. The pressure needs to be even but firm on the tissues in the area. There are different ways to apply compression. They include bandaging and garments. The pressure helps the trapped lymph fluid to flow through the lymph vessels. The compression garment or bandages also act as an extra force for the muscles to work against. This helps the fluid to drain out of the area.

Dayspring, from Koya Medical, is the first active dynamic compression treatment for upper and lower extremities designed for movement and mobility while promoting lymph fluid flow — so you can get the treatments you need while continuing your daily living. Ask a clinician if Dayspring active compression treatment is right for you. Did these tips help guide you in managing your lymphedema?

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