Posted: 4th April 2019
Posted in: News
What is lymphoedema?
- Lymphoedema is a progressive chronic condition, causing swelling of one or more limbs.
- The swelling is caused by a build-up of fluid in the tissue spaces as a result of damage/removal to the lymphatic vessels and/or lymph nodes.
- The lymphatic system is a network of vessels/nodes around the body that acts as the body’s drainage system. It removes any excess fluid and waste products produced by other cells and vessels in the body and redirects it to the heart where it can be circulated throughout the body
Lymphoedema can be divided into two categories:
- Primary/idiopathic (cause unknown)
Risk factors for secondary lymphoedema include:
- Removal or radiation of the lymph nodes
- Tumours blocking the flow of lymph fluids
- Post-surgery inflammation
- Poor nutrition
- Older age
What are the signs and symptoms?
- Swelling in the arms or legs, can be the entire limb or only parts of the limb
- Heaviness or tightness of the limb
- Hardening, thickening or tightness of the skin à this can create ulcerations of the skin that are susceptible to infections
- Loss of range of motion à this can affect walking ability and balance
- Reoccurring infections
- Burning sensation
- Pins and needles
- Painful joints
A thorough medical assessment by your GP is essential if you are experiencing any of the above signs/symptoms. From here, your GP can recommend an appropriate medical pathway.
How can we help?
We at Generation Physio & Allied Health can assist in several ways to help prevent and maintain symptoms of lymphoedema and improve quality of life.
- Manual lymph drainage: This involves soft tissue massage to the affected limb with the aim of directing lymph fluid away from the tissues and towards the heart to be circulated back around the body as normal
- Compression garments: To provide constant compression to the tissues and prevent fluid build-up, redirecting it away from the affected limb/s
- Exercise: a combination of aerobic and strength exercises can be beneficial in improving cardiovascular fitness, fatigue and to prevent build-up of fluid in the limbs and improve lymph flow
Combining appropriate medical treatment and allied health intervention can ensure you have the best possible outcome from the symptoms of lymphoedema. Our team can assist in creating a holistic and individualised treatment program to help improve everyday life. Please call 1300 122 884 to make an appointment and start feeling better today!