Lymphedema Treatment Portsmouth NH
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of protein-rich fluid in the space between tissues outside the blood vessels and lymphatic system (interstitial), which causes chronic inflammation and reactive fibrosis of the affected area. It can present as hard swelling in the limb, which may or may not start slowly, affect one or both sides, and cause skin changes such as Hyperkeratosis, Papilloma’s and Ulcerations. Heaviness, discomfort and aching in the affected area is a common complaint. Lymphedema is categorized as Primary (sporadic or hereditary) or Secondary (surgery, radiation, cancer, trauma, infection, obesity, parasite and chronic venous insufficiency).
What is the Difference Between Lymphedema and Edema?
Edema and Lymphedema can present very similarly. Not all swelling is Lymphedema. A thorough investigation of the cause is vital, as it determines the course of treatment. Lymphedema results from damage to the lymphatic system. Edema is pooling of fluid in tissues or the accumulation of excess interstitial fluid. It can be generalized or localized. It is caused by tissue damage, blockages in veins, capillaries, varicose veins, thrombophlebitis, CHF, kidney and liver failure, problems with the adrenal & thyroid glands, inflammatory conditions and allergic reactions, to name a few.
How is Lymphedema Treated?
At this time there is no cure for Lymphedema, however it is manageable with a combination of manual lymph drainage, compression therapy, and exercise.
What is Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)?
Manual Lymph Drainage is a series of techniques designed to increase the movement of lymph and interstitial fluid throughout the body. The treatment helps to improve lymph production, influence the smooth musculature of the lymph vessels and decrease discomfort related to Lymphedema. MLD works by redirection the lymphatic circulation to allow for areas o congestion to circulate lymph in greater volume and with less effort, which can lessen long term symptoms.
Who Can Benefit from MLD?
Besides individuals who are suffering from Lymphedema, MLD can also assist those affected by:
- Lipedema (with CDT)
- Phelbo-lymphostatic Edema (with CDT)
- Cyclic-Idepathic Edema
- Lymphostatic Encephalopathy
- Lymphostatic Enteropathy
- Post traumatic Edema
- Post-Surgical Edema
- Inflammatory Rheumatism
- Migraine Headache
- Sinus Headache
- Chronic Fatigue
- Detoxification of skin and superficial fascia
- (CDT term relates to Complete Decongestive Therapy, including compression therapies)
Contradictions for MLD: Individuals should be screened prior to receiving MLD for conditions which can be complicated by the treatment. Some of these restrictions include the following:
- Acute Infections (untreated)
- Acute DVT’s
- Cardiac Edema
- Renal Dysfunction
Lymphedema Treatment at ProCare PT & Hand Center is provided by our Certified Lymphedema Therapist Colleen Allen-Maynes. Colleen has over 10 years of experience in performing MLD/CDT for a variety of conditions. A referral from a physician is required for treatment. A complementary phone call is recommended prior to the first clinic visit to assess for program appropriateness. During the initial visit complete history is obtained, measurements are obtained, treatment options are discussed and goals are established. Visit frequency depends on the extent of the individuals’ condition and commitment to the program.
To refer a patient or set up an evaluation with Colleen, please contact our ProCare office at 603.431.5600.