5 things every person with swelling should know about lymphoedema

Lymphoedema is a chronic and permanent swelling which can affect any area of the body, most commonly affecting the limbs. It results from poor drainage of the body’s lymphatic system. It affects over 100,000 people in the UK of all ages and genders. It can impact on your body image, self-esteem and cause not only physical, but emotional distress as well. If you notice any unexplained swelling you should consult your GP and, if necessary, ask for a referral to a specialist clinic.

1 Causes

  • Primary – i.e. a person is born with a lymphatic problem and swelling occurs for no apparent reason. This can happen at any point in life and can run in families.
  • Secondary – Cancer treatment which involved removing lymph nodes and radiotherapy can make you more prone to developing lymphoedema; If you have a long term condition and cannot walk very far you may develop swelling in the legs.
Lymphoedema of the arm

2 Skin Care

  • Wash daily and moisturise the skin.
  • Avoid cuts, scratches and burns to your skin which may get infected.
  • Avoid injections, blood tests and blood pressure measurements to your swollen (or at risk) limb, unless essential for treatment of other conditions.
  • See your GP if you have any signs of infection: area of redness, hot to touch, fever. Sooner rather than later.

3. Exercise

  • Gentle exercise will help move fluid which is causing the swelling from your limb. There is some evidence that more vigorous exercise is okay as long is compression is worn.
  • Sensible positioning of the affected limb/s can help reduce swelling.
  • NB: It is important not to sleep with your feet down. Sleep in a bed and not in a chair.

4. Compression

  • Garments such as stockings or arm sleeves, if prescribed need to be worn every day as directed by your medical practitioner and removed at night.
  • Multi-layer Lymphoedema Bandaging may be applied in more severe cases

5. Massage

  • Simple Lymph Drainage can be taught for you or your carer to do daily to assist in drainage of your limb.
  • Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) should only be done by a trained therapist if your medical practitioner recommends it – LSN, MLD UK and BLS can provide further information and advice.

This was first published by the by the British Lympholgy Society, I produced it here word for word. I have added my comments in italics.

You might also be interested in:

List of treatments
Myofascial Release (MFR) - Saving Hands massage -
Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® - ATMAT -
- Seated Acupressure - Indian Head Massage - Pulsing - Reiki -
- Reflexology - Tsuboki Foot Massage - Hopi Ear Candles -
Hot and Cold Stone Massage - Myofascial dry cupping -
Aromatherapy Massage - Aromatherapy Lymphatic Massage (ALM) -
- Fertility Massage - Pregnancy Massage - Post-natal Massage -
- Dorn Method - Breuss Massage -
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) - Deep Oscillation -
- Holistic Facial - Face Vitality - Total Detox -

Subscribe to
my Free
Massage Message

Don't worry, your e-mail address is  secure. I promise to use it only to send you the
Massage Message.

Recent Articles

  1. Bodywork Magic

    Jan 31, 20 03:37 PM

    Regina is a magician. She knows the body, very well including the nerves, tendons and ligaments. She can tell you what is causing the issue by feeling

    Read More

  2. Touching Well News

    Jan 24, 20 12:28 PM

    Touching Well News: Feedback from staff welfare event

    Read More

  3. Recovery after lipeodema surgery

    Nov 28, 19 05:27 AM

    Saw Regina on Monday for an MLD session for my Lipedma. She was absolutely wonderful, my legs felt so much better and lighter. What a great start to my

    Read More