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Lymphedema and Using Casper Physical Therapy for Management

August 10, 2016

Those with lymphedema know it can be a painful condition. With swelling in the arms and legs, relief is welcomed. Premier Casper physical therapy can help with pain management and restore the quality of the areas affected. Learn more about this condition and how working with a physical therapist can help relief symptoms.
  • What is Lymphedema? Lymphedema is a condition where fluid collects in an area, typically in the arms and legs but has also been known in other areas as well. This condition leads to swelling in those areas.  It is common in cancer patients who have had surgery to remove lymph nodes and a change in the lymph drainage. Web MD explains normal lymph nodes filters fluid that flows through them and it traps bacteria, viruses, foreign substances, etc. that are then destroyed by lymphocytes (special white blood cells). When this process is changed, that fluid builds up instead leading to lymphedema.
  • Symptoms: There are various symptoms of Lymphedema depending on the stage. It is best to immediately work to relieve this condition as quickly as possible as the condition will continue to progress. The National Lymphedema Network (NLN) says the four various stages of this condition (zero to three) range from mild to severe. Symptoms are non-visible in this stage and most of the swelling occurs under the tissue and is not visible. In stage one, patients notice puffiness in an area, and impressions (or what is called “pitting”) on the skin happen more easily. Many also are not able to see veins in this stage, and relief often happens at night and then returns the next day, or when elevated. Symptoms are more obvious in stage two as the swelling is advanced and NLN explains the “pitting” turns more into a “spongy” consistency and elevation does not really help provide relief. In the last stage, the affected areas become very swollen. Due to this swelling, the skin can become dry and scaly. NLN also says skin infections are very common and there may also be fluid leakage.
  • Causes: While lymphedema is common in cancer patients, the Mayo Clinic explains other reasons for this condition. First is any type of surgery that removes or injures lymph nodes. Second is radiation, which is common in cancer patients. Last is an infection of the lymph notes leading to a reduced or restricted flow of fluid. Those older in age, are overweight or obese or have rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis may be at a higher risk for lymphedema.
  • Physical Therapy: Individuals suffering from lymphedema can find relief with physical therapy. This top method helps by utilizing massage treatments, passive and active range motions and pressure wrapping.
If you are suffering from lymphedema, North Platte Physical Therapy is your local go-to physical therapist in Casper, WY to help relieve symptoms. Our great team will work with you to provide relief and help you learn self-management techniques. If you are new to physical therapy, learn how the first day of therapy will go and what to expect. Fill out a contact sheet to get started.