Lymphedema isn’t the kind of diagnosis you want to hear, and the pain caused by it can be hard to handle. Not only that but swelling of your limbs can also be scary. While it may be challenging to hear a diagnosis of lymphedema, the truth is that there are ways to minimize the hold it has on your body and decrease swelling. Here are some steps you can take:
Understand your condition
When you first get the answer to “what is lymphedema?”, you may feel like your world has turned upside down. After all, it’s a condition that doesn’t have a cure. It can often show up after a fight with cancer from cancer treatment. Or, it could show up as a result of an autoimmune disease.
Learning all that you can about having lymphedema can help you realize that while it isn’t something you love, there are ways to treat it. The first thing to do is speak with your healthcare provider about ways you can manage your lymphedema.
From simple, focused exercises in the affected area where you gently move your joints and muscles to help encourage fluid flow to normal, everyday exercises, there are so many reasons to make it a part of your daily routine if it isn’t right now.
Exercise can help you in more ways than one as you work to manage your condition, from circulation to weight loss benefits. Because a healthy weight can help you keep intense swelling at bay, managing your weight through exercise can also be beneficial. At the end of the day, exercise will benefit your well-being and overall health in more ways than one.
Use compression bandages
One of the easiest ways to treat swelling and reduce pain caused by lymphedema is to use compression bandages. You can wear them under loose-fitting clothing and use them anywhere and everywhere. They help the lymph fluid flow so that you don’t continue to have an excess buildup in the affected limb or area.
Some companies out there offer unique and trendy compression gear so that while you may have to wear it for health reasons, you feel good doing so. There are also plenty of styles that can be hidden underneath your clothes if that’s what you prefer.
Use sequential compression
Although this isn’t the best treatment for busy days (since it requires you to be at home and relaxed), this type of compression sleeve is attached to a pump. Sequential compression acts as a massage in some way by intermittently inflating, moving the fluid that is building up to minimize swelling.
Talk to your doctor about surgery and other treatments
There are different procedures that can be done to help stop lymphedema from progressing. One such option is removing fibrous tissue or creating new drainage paths. Lymph node transplants are also an option; this is where the lymph nodes are taken from other areas of the body. This last type of procedure is especially beneficial for those in the beginning stages of lymphedema.
From elevating your legs to getting surgery, there are many ways you can treat both the pain and swelling caused by lymphedema. So, when you hear the words “lymphedema,” instead of panicking, know that there are ways to control the pain and even reduce its effect on your life.
Speak to your doctor before starting any treatment plan to ensure you’re doing the right thing for your specific needs, as cases vary according to health issues, weight, and more. Getting a healthy life is your priority during this time!
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