Swelling that does not go away. How to recognize lymphoedema? Is it possible to eliminate it?
Disturbing swelling - is it lymphoedema?
Occasionally occurring swelling has various causes - it appears e.g. as a result of fatigue, heat waves, during pregnancy. However, in some cases, it takes the form of a health-threatening lymphoedema. Disturbing swelling most often affects the lower limbs. However, lymphoedema may affect the face, hands and even abdomen.
The cause of lymphoedema is the malfunction of one of the extremely important systems of our body - the lymphatic system. It is designed, among other things, to transport various toxic substances to the lymph nodes and the circulatory system. When the functioning of this system is disturbed, too much intrastitial fluid accumulates in the subcutaneous tissue. Swelling is a consequence of the lymphostasis. Although initially it is painless, as a result of hardening lymph it leads to more and more ailments.
Lymphoedema can cause inflammation, fibrosis, impaired limb function, and in extreme cases it may lead to the so-called elephantiasis.
Medicine distinguishes between primary and secondary lymphoedema. The fisrt type deals with congenital defects such as hypoplasia or lymphatic aplasia. The problem most commonly affects only one limb, e.g. lymphoedema of the leg. Secondary lymphoedema, on the other hand, is an effect of lymph vessel damage caused, for example, by mechanical trauma, inflammation, surgical interventions, but also i.a. obesity and chronic venous insufficiency.
Lymphoedema - where and how to treat it?
As regards secondary lymphoedema, treatment should primarily cover the elimination of the cause of the problem. However, the problem of primary lymphoedema cannot be completely removed. Drugs for lymphoedema prove to be practically ineffective. However, comprehensive anti-oedema therapy brings relief. It includes, among others, compression therapy (e.g. compression bands for lymphoedema), motor rehabilitation, profiled skin care and lymphatic drainage.
An important element of the therapy is are exercise for lymphoedema recommended and selected by a specialist. It is important that their intensity should be moderate - excessive physical effort may worsen the patient's condition. In this way, planned rehabilitation will reduce the discomfort, improve lymph drainage and prevent further complications.
How to eliminate lymphoedema?
Treatment of lymphoedema is based on procedures performed in order to improve the work of the circulatory system. At Sense Med Concept we offer comprehensive care to every patient - both in the form of support of the specialists and the possibility of selecting a therapy that brings tangible benefits. Below there is a description of some of the available methods.
Anti-aging face massage
Performed by a physiotherapist, anti-aging massage allows to significantly reduce lymphoedema of the face, i.a. lymphostasis under the eyes. The procedure performed to firm the skin, reduce mimic wrinkles, etc. works as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of lymphoedema. The massage not only positively affects lymph circulation, but also relaxes, rejuvenates the skin and imptoves the patient’s mood.
Kinesiology taping is a type of physiotherapy that involves appropriate application of tapes. When the patient moves the tape gently lifts the skin, creating a subtle space between the skin and the muscles. Compression with this technique has a beneficial effect on the lymphatic system. Kinesiogy taping improves circulation, reduces inflammation and reduces pain, so often occurring in the case of lymphoedema of the extremities.
Endermology is simply vacuum massage, performed using a special device. It is equipped with a rotating roll and flap, which massage the skin folds, previously sucked by the head. Endermology supports the treatment of lymphoedema - stimulates circulation in the body, thanks to which it has a beneficial effect on the lymph flow, and thus also removes toxins from the body. Indicated in treatment of vascular problems and oedema, endermology is a pleasant and relaxing procedure, which can be performed even every day.
The method is based on the use of a dispersed acoustic wave, which relaxes the connective tissue. The device is additionally equipped with a head emitting vibration head. As a result, circulation in the tissues is improved. The use of this method not only supports the treatment of lymphoedema of the lower limbs and other parts of the body, but also reduces pain. It does not require a recovery period.
Face taping, which is a type of kinesiology taping, combines the advantages of physiotherapy and cosmetology. It consists in applying special tapes around the forehead, eyes, cheeks, nose, chin and neck. The effect of the procedure is lymph stimulation. This method is used to eliminate lymphoedema of the face, especially in the case of lymphostasis under the eyes. This treatment also reduces muscle tone and has a relaxing effect on the patient.
The above list is not an exhaustive catalogue of procedures offered to the patients of Sense Med Concept. Other examples include among others Kobido massage or manual therapy by a physiotherapist. Our specialists know that a disease such as lymphoedema of the limbs and other parts of the body requires a comprehensive approach. At Sense Med Concept, you will receive professional care in the spirit of holistic medicine.
Article by Sense Med Concept
medical revision: Beata Jasica
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Cwajda-Białasik J., Szewczyk M.T., Kompresjoterapia w leczeniu obrzęku limfatycznego kończyn dolnych [in]: Jawień A., Szewczyk M.T. (eds.). „Kompresjoterapia. Termedia”, Poznań 2009, pp. 131–134.