We can help you manage your lymphedema.
Lymphedema is chronic swelling, normally of an arm or a leg. It occurs most often in women after damage or surgical removal of lymph nodes in the treatment of breast cancer. Lymphedema can occur after any treatment involving the lymph nodes, including prostate cancer in men.
When lymph nodes have been blocked or removed, the remaining lymph system has a decreased ability to remove excess fluid. This can occur shortly after cancer treatments, or as long as 20 years later.
If left untreated, the swelling can worsen over time.
Additionally, chronic edema in the legs can develop due to circulatory compromise such as with venous insufficiency or cellulitis.
If you notice any swelling or a feeling of heaviness in an extremity, seek medical advice from your doctor. If lymphedema is diagnosed, it is essential to seek treatment immediately. Promptly initiating lymphedema treatment ensures better outcomes and decreased treatment time.
Decongestive Physical Therapy is a program designed to move lymphatic fluid out of the arm or leg using techniques such as lymphatic massage, exercise, compression bandaging and compression garments. Treatment is aimed at teaching you to treat your edema independently. The daily time involvement varies for each patient. We will help you develop an individualized program for managing your lymphedema.
Your first visit will involve a thorough evaluation by our specially trained physical therapist. Your therapist will check:
- Medical history and medications
- Pain and limitations
- Ability to complete daily tasks
Together we will discuss your therapy goals and options. Time will be available to answer any questions you have.
Although the symptoms of lymphedema cannot be completely eliminated, they can be successfully managed. Our decongestive treatment program will help you learn to reduce swelling, improve mobility and function, and regain a sense of control.
Contact your health care provider to discuss a referral for physical therapy if you are having any of these issues. If your insurance does not require a physician referral, you may contact us directly. Call our Burien (206) 242-5186 or the Tukwila (206) 248-3080 office to schedule your initial evaluation.