What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is swelling that results from excess buildup of fluid under the skin, most often in the arms and/or legs. This is typically caused by the removal of or damage to the lymph nodes. Any individual who has lymph nodes surgically removed is at risk for lymphedema.
Feeling of heaviness, tingling, warmth, tightness or shooting pains
Tight-fitting clothes or accessories
Noticeable swelling and puffiness
Tightness or reduced flexibility in the joints
Facts About Lymphedema
• An estimated 3-5 million Americans suffer from lymphedema, more than ALS, Cystic Fibrosis, Mutiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy and Parkinson’s Disease combined.
• One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime – breast cancer is one of the most common factors in the development of lymphedema.
• There is no known cure for lymphedema, but it can be treated. Physical therapy and compression therapy are the most effective known treatments.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Your physical therapist can help you understand your diagnosis, navigate treatment options and work closely with you and your doctor to create a treatment plan that’s right for you.
Treatment for Lymphedema can include compression garments, special exercises, and in severe cases “complete decongestive therapy.”