Lymphedema is a condition that most commonly causes swelling in the arms or legs, but it is also possible for it to occur in the abdomen, chest, or face. It is caused by disruption or blockage of the lymphatic system due to cancer, surgery, radiation, infection, and in some instances, genetics.
At Moon Physical Therapy, we have Honolulu, Mililani, and Kailua physical therapists on staff who can help. If you are suffering from this condition and you are searching for safe and effective treatment methods, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.
How do we treat lymphedema?
There are a variety of treatments for lymphedema that may be used depending on the severity of the condition. At Moon Physical Therapy, we offer a combination of passive and active therapy treatments, including:
Aquatic physical therapy is a great intervention to utilize in the treatment of lymphedema. Treatment focuses on stimulating the deep lymphatics, important in increasing lymphatic flow, and in many situations aquatic-based interventions are performed with greater ease to the patient as compared to land based interventions. The physical properties of water, buoyancy, viscosity, hydrostatic pressure and temperature benefits the patient in a variety of ways:
- Buoyancy, or the body’s tendency to float, makes movement more comfortable.
- The viscosity of the water, or the resistance, creates a better balanced workout btw all muscle groups and helps to strengthen weak muscles faster without increasing pain, and in turn lends to encouraged mobility in the central lymphatic system.
- The warmth of the water stimulates and relaxes muscles, which increases range of motion and flexibility. Hot water should be avoided with edema.
- The hydrostatic pressure acts like a substitute for a compression garment/sleeve (no need to wear sleeve) and helps to reduce edema. Stress is also reduced when an individual with lymphedema is in the water.
In short, the movements in the water are resistive, assistive/supportive, compressive, massaging, relaxing and comforting.
Your physical therapist will provide a gentle, hands-on massage of both the affected body part and adjacent areas. Manual techniques are used to move the fluid from the swollen, blocked region of the lymphatic system into the parts that are still functioning. By doing this, the fluid is able to be transported throughout the circulatory system.
Our highly trained Honolulu, Mililani, and Kailua physical therapists will provide you with medically supervised exercise programs that are designed to strengthen muscles and improve the function of the lymphatic system. These exercises are light and gentle, focused on encouraging circulation and regaining mobility to the affected limb.
Your physical therapist may suggest bandaging the entire limb, in order to encourage the lymph fluid to flow evenly throughout the lymphatic system. With wrapping, the bandage typically is at its tightest around your fingers or toes and loosens up as it moves up your arm or leg.
Schedule your appointment today!
Lymphedema can be painful and debilitating, but Moon Physical Therapy is here to help. Your treatment plan will be determined upon thorough physical evaluation, analysis of medical history, and discussion of symptoms, in order to determine which therapies will work best for you. Lymphatic treatment in Honolulu, Mililani, and Kailua is limited, and our practice is equipped with the best methods and technologies for treating your condition.
If you have been diagnosed with lymphedema, contact Moon Physical Therapy today to find out how our specialized lymphatic therapy program will help reduce your symptoms and improve your daily life. Don’t live in discomfort – find relief with us!