Lymphedema is a lesser known but prevalent debilitating disease. It is a swelling of a body part, most commonly the extremities, but may also occur on other parts of the body. It is caused by an abnormal accumulation of protein and water molecules in the tissues, and results from the inability of the lymphatic system to effectively perform its primary function, i.e. removal of water and protein from the tissues.
This dysfunction can be caused by a developmental abnormality of the lymphatic system; or a subsequent damage to the lymphatic system by the removal of, or radiation of, lymph nodes, as in cancer surgery; or after infection of the lymphatic system.
In order to reduce the swelling, it is necessary to re-route the lymph flow from the blocked areas into more centrally located lymph vessels. This goal is achieved by a combination of different treatment modalities, all of which are integral components of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), and include:
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Once present, lymphedema is chronic and progressive and will not disappear by itself.
Also, lymphedema has no cure. The goal of the therapy is therefore to reduce the swelling and maintain the reduction.
A well-balanced exercise program in combination with other treatment options used in the management for lymphedema is an important component to reduce the swelling, and a vital tool for patients to continue with normal activities of daily living.
Exercise protocols are customized by us to meet individual goals for patients affected by lymphedema. The specific exercise protocols are determined by considering the stage and type of lymphedema, specific restrictions and limitations of joint and muscle activity, as well as additional medical conditions.
As always, our goal at Prakruti is to enhance wellbeing.