Lymphoedema can occur when the lymphatic system has been compromised. Either through damage, (surgery or radiation therapy) or a mechanical failure. Parts of the body will swell with the accumulation of protein-rich fluid (lymph fluid), usually the limbs, although breast, head, neck or the genital area can also be affected.
If you are affected by lymphoedema, management is essential. We can show you how.
Lymphoedema Management consists of
- SOZO measurement – a machine that gives us a baseline measurement of lymph fluid present in the affected limb, this helps us to keep track of how you are doing throughout your treatments.
- Bandaging and Compression Garments
- Bandaging may be required to reduce the limb size and remove excess lymph fluid. This will be done before you are measured for a compression garment.
- Compression Garment’s are worn to keep the affected limb from increasing in size. They apply pressure to assist the lymph flow draining back into the lymphatic system. Garments can be made to measure or off the shelf, ensuring the right fit for you and your maximum comfort.
- Skin Care – we will teach you about the importance of skin care. The dos and don’ts, and how to care for any wounds or insect bites.
- Treatment of your Lymphoedema – regular treatments are necessary to keep your swelling maintained. Treatment plans are set individually depending on your needs (Stage of lymphoedema, level of mobility, financial situation and availability). This can vary anywhere from weekly appointments to once every 6 weeks.
Treatment consists of
- MLD – manual lymphatic drainage (link to explanation page)
- Laser – Low Level Laser Therapy helps in the reduction of scar tissue, cording (post mastectomy), reduces fibrotic tissue and improves lymphatic flow
- Cupping Therapy – silicon cups can be used very gently on the skin as an excellent way to remove excess fluid and stimulate the lymphatic system. It also helps to soften fibrotic tissue.
- Taping – kinesio taping is sometimes applied at the end of a treatment. It can mimic the effects of MLD (manual Lymphatic Drainage), extending the treatment for days after. It also helps to soften fibrotic skin and break down scar tissue. Taping can be applied on its own or under your garment.
- Exercise – we can provide you with an exercise program tailored to your needs. Movement is very important to keep lymph fluid moving, encourage the lymphatic system and thus keeping the limb size down. This can be done in the comfort of your own home or alternatively the exercise physiologist at Central Coast Physiolates can assist you in a group class or one on one session in reformer Pilates.
- Home care – we will teach you how to manage your lymphoedema at home by helping with a daily routine to care for your affected limb and teaching you how to self massage.