According to statistics, primary lymphedema affects approximately one out of every 100,000 people. Although the disease is rare, it’s been the subject of extensive research because it is such as devastating ailment. It is caused when the lymph system sustains damage and prevents lymphatic fluid from circulating properly. Cancer patients are particularly vulnerable to lymphedema because radiation and removal of the lymph nodes can increase a patient’s risk. If you are living with this disease, there is hope. Learn how visiting a physical therapy clinic can help.
Symptoms of Lymphedema
Lymphedema can come with a wide range of symptoms, but the most common sign of the disease is extreme swelling of the limbs. This may be accompanied by dimpled skin, a rash, or pain and discomfort. In addition to the accumulation of lymph fluid, this swelling is caused by increased water retention. This symptom often worsens gradually, which may eventually lead to a restricted range of motion or limited mobility if the problem is left untreated.
The impact on a person’s appearance isn’t the only symptom of lymphedema. Sufferers also often feel uncomfortable physical sensations in their limbs, which can range from mild feelings of tightness to excruciating pain. In some cases, the skin may even thicken and become hard. This is called fibrosis, and it is caused by the scar tissue in the limbs and the inflammation that lymphedema triggers.
Perhaps the most concerning symptom of all, though, is the increased susceptibility to infection that lymphedema patients often deal with. This is because the fluid that’s trapped in the limbs creates an ideal environment for bacteria and germs to proliferate. A minor scrape can thus expose lymphedema sufferers to an increased risk of cellulitis and other types of skin infections, too. If skin appears to be flushed and warm to the touch, it’s likely that it is infected.
How PT Can Help You
Although there is currently no cure for lymphedema, there are several therapies and treatments that can offer meaningful relief from its symptoms. Greensboro physical therapy, for example, can help patients regain lost mobility through exercises and a targeted treatment plan. Modalities such as aquatic therapy or a zero gravity treadmill can give you the freedom to improve your range of motion in a comfortable and supportive environment.
A physical therapist may also be able to help by performing a manual massage that encourages the drainage of lymphatic fluid. This process is gentle and pain-free, allowing patients to relax while a physical therapist massages the affected areas. This may be part of a Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) regimen, which may also include skin care, decongestive exercise techniques, and compression bandaging. When used together with guidance from a physical therapist, these treatment approaches can offer great results in the fight against lymphedema symptoms. Find physical therapy for neck injuries, lymphedema, car accidents, and more. With a physical therapist on your side, you can overcome the barriers of pain and regain the ability to move wit