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Navigating Lymphedema: Recognizing Symptoms and Solutions

Lymphedema is a condition in which excess lymph fluid is unable to drain, and it accumulates in certain areas of the body. It occurs most commonly in the arms and legs, although it also occurs in the neck, chest wall, abdomen, and genitals. The causes of lymphedema include infection of the lymph nodes, removal of the nodes, and trauma to the lymphatic system. It is better to treat lymphedema in the early stages, and if you identify associated symptoms, you may want to seek physical therapy near me.

Identifying Symptoms: Early Signs of Health Concerns

Lymphedema can range from mild to severe, and it progresses in stages. Stage one has no symptoms, and the last stage, stage four, is elephantitis. Catching it in the early stages results in better management and less pain.

Swelling is the most common, and first, symptom. It can appear suddenly or appear slowly. Additional symptoms include:

  • Red or puffy skin
  • Noticeably thicker skin
  • Tight joints
  • Feeling of heaviness at affected area
  • Itching or burning feeling

In the later stages, movement can be difficult, and it can be painful. Before it gets to this point, schedule an appointment for Murrieta physical therapy, as this can be very effective for lymphedema.

Unlocking PT Strategies: Techniques for Improved Well-being

Getting physical therapy in the early stages can prevent more intrusive treatment, such as surgery. There are a variety of methods your physical therapist may use to manage the symptoms.

Lymph Drainage

One of the ways your physical therapist may move the excess fluid is with a gentle massage of the affected area. This moves the lymph away and reduces swelling.

Your therapist may also apply a pneumatic pump. This provides regular compression to the area to move the fluid away from the extremities and towards the trunk of the body.

Compression Bandages

Your physical therapist may also expertly apply compression bandages to the swollen area. These customized sleeves help prevent fluid accumulation in the area. You may also be measured for compression garments you can order to wear at home or while traveling.


Exercise is another great way to keep fluid from accumulating. Your physical therapist will recommend a personalized exercise program based on factors such as the severity of the swelling and your current fitness level. There is a good chance you will be given exercises to do on your own at home.

Home Recommendations

Your physical therapist may give you advice on things to do at home. Along with telling you to wear compression garments and do exercises, your therapist may give you nutritional advice.

People with lymphedema are also at greater risk for skin infections. Your physical therapist will give you advice for skincare and wound treatment, as untreated scrapes and cuts can quickly turn into a spreading infection. You may also receive information about support groups so you can talk with other people who have this condition.

Not all physical therapists understand how to treat lymphedema, so ask around for someone with knowledge. If you are a PT with the skills to treat this condition, search for physical therapy jobs in California.