Lymphedema is a condition of swelling caused by an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the tissues. It can occur in the arms, legs, and trunk of the body.
Primary lymphedema is caused by an existing abnormality of the lymphatic system. Secondary lymphedema occurs after an insult to the system. It may be due to cancer or the treatment for cancer (surgery and radiation), occur following an infection, be the product of venous stasis disease, or be caused by traumatic injury. These conditions cause an interruption of the normal flow of lymphatic fluids.
Common symptoms include unusual or persistent swelling, feeling of “heaviness” or fullness of the extremity, loss of function, feeling of pins and needles, aching pain and tightness of clothing or jewelry.
If untreated, lymph vessels and surrounding tissues become hard, less elastic, and painful, often producing debilitation. The accumulation of the protein-rich lymph fluid produces increased risk of infection, as it becomes a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria. The swelling can lead to difficulty with activities of daily living and decrease mobility. Early treatment of lymphedema provides the best chance for reducing symptoms and controlling the condition.
Our treatment plan for you
Decongestive Therapy is a comprehensive treatment approach to the reduction and management of lymphedema. Our program incorporates:
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage
- Multi-Layered compression Wrapping
- Individualized Exercise Program
- Compression Garments
- Education in prevention and management
A Physical or Occupational Therapist will perform an initial physical assessment and measurement of the extremity. Progress is monitored during treatment, and the frequency of visits and the treatment plan are modified based on your needs.
To schedule an appointment, contact us at:
Capital Medical Center Physical Therapy
420 McPhee Rd. SW, Suite B
Olympia, WA 98502
Open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.