Lymphedema Patients Improve Quality of Life With Physical Therapy

People with the health disorder lymphedema experience painful swelling of a body part, typically a leg or arm. The lymphatic system is unable to effectively remove fluid from the area as it normally does. These people can benefit from sessions at a port charlotte rehab facility with physical therapists. Physical therapy reduces the fluid accumulation, which allows patients to feel better and gain mobility.


The purpose of the lymphatic system is to remove protein-rich fluids that normally collect in body tissue. Fluid may accumulate to an excessive level because some of the lymph nodes and vessels do not function properly, or have been removed or damaged during surgery. The lymphatic system can lose the ability to function because of radiation treatment or a traumatic injury. Some individuals have a condition known as primary lymphedema, which occurs on its own and can even be a congenital condition.

Lymphedema may cause chronic swelling and discomfort that reduces quality of life. Inadequate drainage of fluid is a risk factor for infection, which, in turn, can worsen lymphedema. The arm, leg or other part of the body that is affected should be kept clean, and the person must make an effort to avoid cuts, burns or other injuries to the skin. The skin may require lubrication with lotions or creams that prevent irritation due to dryness.

When going to the first physical therapy appointment at a facility such as Port Charlotte Rehabilitation Center, the patient should be ready to explain the symptoms in detail. This includes describing situations that improve and worsen the symptoms. The therapist needs to know what the medical diagnosis has been that indicates the reason for the malfunctioning lymphatic system.

It’s important to choose a clinic like this one, which offers therapy specifically for patients with lymphedema. That means physical therapists at the facility are experienced in treating this condition and know the strategies that are most effective. They can develop a customized plan of action for each individual client. The person’s diet may need adjustments. Some foods help reduce fluid accumulation while others aggravate it. Therapists also design a program of exercise that addresses each client’s particular needs.

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