Lymphedema is a condition in which the lymphatic system of the body is unable to properly move the fluid from the subcutaneous tissues back into the bloodstream from the body to eliminate. This leads to swelling, and can occur anywhere in the body, but is most commonly seen in the extremities. Lymphedema is unlike normal edema or swelling, in that it is made up of protein rich fluid (lymph) that can only be drained by lymphatic vessels.
This condition can be managed with careful and consistent treatment, which may include: multi-layer compression bandages, manual lymphatic drainage, exercise, and skin care. Our very own Dr. Robby Trimbo has over 10 years of experience treating Lymphedema, and has completed specialized training and credentials in Lymphedema management.
WHAT IS LYMPHEDEMA?
It is an abnormal accumulation of lymph fluid within the tissue spaces of the body. It commonly develops as a result of lymph node surgery or radiation therapy, but generally can occur from a blockage in your lymphatic system, a part of your immune and circulatory systems.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF LYMPHEDEMA?
The main symptom is swelling in an arm or leg that may be accompanied by pain or discomfort. Swelling can cause heaviness and aching in the area affected, but if untreated can lead to increased risk of infection and wounds.
HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?
Unfortunately, lymphedema is a permanent condition. However, with early intervention the risk of developing lymphedema can be decreased. In many cases (particularly axillary node dissection or sentinel node biopsy), the onset of the lymphedema can be delayed. However, if lymphedema develops, the amount can be minimized.
CAN IT BE TREATED?
Lymphedema can be successfully managed with proper therapy. Therapy includes the use of multi-layer compression bandages, manual lymphatic drainage, exercise, and skin care; with progression to a compression garment once the lymphedema has achieved maximum reduction.
WHAT DOES PHYSICAL THERAPY LOOK LIKE EARLY ON?
A referral to physical therapy is the first step followed with a PT evaluation. Initial circumferential measurements are taken at the evaluation. It is very important to obtain objective baseline measurements in order to compare to future measurements as the swelling decreases with treatment.
GOALS OF INTERVENTION?
The goal of this program is to educate patients with lymphedema on their condition. Following treatment, which consists of multi-layer compression bandages for swelling reduction, and once maximum reduction is achieved, the patient is empowered with the tools to manage their lymphedema, and are transitioned into an independent management program.
WHY GO TO TRUEMOTION FOR LYMPHEDEMA THERAPY?
Our Physical Therapist Dr. Robby Trimbo has completed specific training in lymphedema management and has advanced knowledge, skills, and over 10 years experience treating Lymphedema.
To determine whether swelling is truly Lymphedema requires a discussion with one’s health care provider. It is important to rule out swelling that may be caused by other organ systems prior to the onset of Lymphedema treatment.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Lymphedema and are seeing treatment options, give us a call to schedule your appointment today!
Disclaimer: This is not in replacement of medical advice. If you have any questions about this or other conditions we always recommend seeking the advice of your physician regarding medical conditions or treatment.