Lymphedema is tissue swelling in the arm, chest, head and neck, leg or trunk. It occurs when surgery or radiation removes or damages lymph nodes. This can damage the flow of lymphatic fluid.
Physical and occupational therapists at the lymphedema clinic work with your surgeons and medical specialists. They are trained to provide treatment for lymphedema and issues that may occur as a result of surgery.
What to Expect From Lymphedema Therapy
Therapy can treat and manage lymphedema to help you return to an active lifestyle. However, lymphedema can be a chronic issue. Without treatment, it can get worse over time. A physical/occupational therapist works with each patient to customize a treatment program.
- Manual lymphatic drainage to mobilize and remove fluid from the affected area through a non-invasive, manual therapy technique
- Multi-layer bandaging to reduce swelling and help soften the skin and tissue in a swollen limb
- Flexibility, strength training and aerobic exercises to improve lymph drainage
- Patient education where patients learn to manage lymphedema at home
- Compression garments that reduce swelling during daytime activities
- Compression pumping (in select cases) in which state-of-the-art pneumatic pumps help circulate lymphatic fluid
No two patients are the same. Your physical therapy treatment includes self-help technique instruction. So you learn to manage the condition on your own.
How to Get Started With Lymphedema Therapy
You need a referral to the lymphedema clinic from your physician.
“I am amazed how beneficial lymphedema therapy was. The outcome was visible and evident that the treatment plan was designed to meet my health condition. I never imagined there was help for edema since I had it for many years. Not only were the benefits physical, but also there were emotional benefits – I love the way my feet, ankles and legs look! Many thanks!”
“I am very thankful for AAMG Physical Therapy. They were so patient with me explaining the different exercises to improve the strength of my arms after my breast surgery. I’m much more flexible, and it has made all the difference in bettering the pain level after surgery. I recommend ALL breast patients receive some sort of physical therapy.”