Compression therapy applied by custom lymphedema garments, padded short-stretch bandages or alternative materials are an integral part of lymphedema management. The compression garment provides external pressure to assist lymph drainage and maintain and improve the reduction of the swelling that occurs during lymphedema treatments.
When the patient seeks treatment from a certified lymphatic therapist, the swelling in lymphedema comes down to a managed state, but the damage caused to the lymphatic system during the initial days is permanent. Even the elastic fibers in the tissues also get affected by lymphedema thereby leading to damage. In extreme cases, if the lymphedema is not treated over a long period of time, the fibers lose their elasticity and tend to become hardened. If proper care is not taken, the evacuated fluid, in most cases, gets re-accumulated in the affected body part.
HOW IS LYMPHEDEMA CAUSED
To get rid of breast cancer, radiation is used in the area. The lymph nodes in the underarm area are exposed to high levels of radiation, which causes them to stop producing lymph. Since the flow of lymph going throughout your arm is now disrupted, your arm will often start swelling up in a condition which is known as lymphedema.
CUSTOM LYMPHEDEMA GARMENTS
The elastic compression garments are worn by the person suffering from lymphedema over the affected limb. This, in turn, has following advantages: keeps the swelling down, improves circulation, and prevents the re-accumulation of lymph fluid in the area. A compression garment may be custom-fit to better suit your size.
The garments must be worn twenty-four hours a day, every day to maintain edema reduction and should be replaced on a regular basis. It is highly recommended to patients to seek professional help and obtain a correct fit for their compression garments. If a need arises for custom-made compression garments, get them made. This is because the inaccurate measurement or a poorly manufactured garment can lead to severe pain and discomfort and increased swelling.
Therapeutic exercises, also known as decongestive exercises, are basically the light exercises that lead to the movement of lymph fluid out of your limb. This needs to be performed with the affected arm or leg. The specific therapeutic exercise should be done while you are wearing the custom lymphedema garments. Exercise is very much a vital part, as it not only assists in the elimination of excess fluid, but it helps the patients with chronic lymphedema or large, swollen areas to improve poor strength and range of movement.
It is highly advisable to discuss proper exercises and activities with your therapist. One should always avoid movements that overstrain. At any given time while exercising if you experience discomfort in your arm or leg, reduce the exercise activity and elevate your arm/leg.
If you have lymphedema, it is important that you avoid injury and overexertion in the affected area. You should wear the prescribed custom lymphedema garments and/or bandages as instructed by your physician or Certified Lymphatic Therapist. Pink Ribbon offers an exclusive range of compression products for Lymphedema management. From compression stockings to arm sleeves, and hand gauntlets, all the garments are comfortable, durable and fashionable.
If you have any questions regarding lymphedema or lipedema, please contact Bev Ramsey at 479-242-9277.