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Treating Lymphedema – how manual lymphatic drainage can help

  • 5
  • August 12, 2019

Different ways of treating Lymphedema

Treating Lymphedema can be a challenge. However, there are a number of interventions that might help.

On the one hand, there are simple changes you can make such as incorporating light exercise into your daily routine. Then there are other options such as Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT). CDT can be extremely effective but some people find it a little complicated to carry out.

Other options for reducing the symptoms of Lymphedema include the use of compression garments.

Each of these treatments can be used in different ways depending on your unique circumstances. And sometimes, a combination of treatments is necessary.

But here, we would like to touch upon the role that Manual Lymphatic Drainage can play in your recovery. And discuss how it can help with the condition.

Treating Lymphedema

Treating Lymphedema

A background to Lymphedema

Sometimes the lymph system can become damaged or blocked. If this happens it can cause swelling in the tissue of the body.

Lymphedema will typically appear either in the arms or legs. It is, however, a condition that can affect any part of the body.

Lymphedema is a chronic condition that is likely to worsen over time. It is therefore imperative to tackle it as soon as you see symptoms.

Symptoms of Lymphedema

The condition occurs when lymph vessels aren’t properly able to drain lymph fluid away. This can lead to a number of tell-tale symptoms. These can include, but are not limited to; –

  • Swelling in the arms or legs, or feet and toes
  • Achey feelings in the limbs, or a feeling that the body is being restricted
  • The skin getting harder or thicker
  • A decrease in the range of motion of joints such as shoulders or elbows.

How Manual Lymphatic Drainage can help

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a type of massage that uses slow, repetitive movements. The pressure, although light, can be varied slightly depending on the condition of the underlying tissue.

The majority of MLD will be carried out with the client lying down. There are some instances (if the lymphedema is in the head or neck), where you will be asked to sit for the treatment.

Typically, the therapist will start by working on healthier lymph nodes. They will then work progressively towards releasing blockages in the more problematic areas.

It’s a highly effective means of reducing fluid build-up. Basically, the aim is to move the fluid into healthier areas from the swollen areas.

The frequency of treatment will depend on the severity of the swelling. Although, in the early stages, it is not uncommon to have 2 or 3 sessions within a short period of time.

An experienced practitioner will be able to assess if the underlying tissue is softening. They’ll also be able to assess if the swelling is reducing at an appropriate rate.

It is this ability of the therapist to respond to your specific needs that makes MLD so effective in treating Lymphedema.

A word of caution

As with many types of treatments, there may be some circumstances where MLD is not advisable. With such a specialized type of treatment, it is important to be absolutely sure that you are in the hands of a qualified professional.

If you have any questions about how this treatment can benefit you. Or you would like to book an appointment. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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