Are You Looking For Lymphedema Treatment In The Birmingham, Alabama Area?
Complete Decongestive Therapy For Lymphedema
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a non-invasive light touch technique that gently stretches the skin in such a manner to facilitate lymph drainage. MLD is key in all phases of lymphedema treatment and management. Jennifer Spencer, PT, DPT, CLT, OCS is a Certified Lymphedema Therapist and is highly trained in MLD.
MLD is utilized as a way to transport the lymphatic fluid from your swollen areas in the direction of the lymph flow and in the direction of areas that are draining well. Diaphragmatic breathing and decongesting the trunk is a key component of MLD.
MLD can also be very beneficial in post-operative healing of liposuction, orthopedic surgery, or any surgery that results in significant scar formation.
In Phase I of Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT), compression therapy is used to reduce the swelling with use of short stretch bandaging of the affected body part. (ACE bandages are NOT used!) CDT should only be performed by a Certified Lymphedema Therapist.
Short-stretch bandages in the form of multilayer bandaging are used to apply a gradient force on the affected limb to allow for proper drainage of lymphatic fluid, also known as “decongesting” the limb. Once the affected body part is decongested, then the patient will transition into phase II- maintenance.
Compression garments or stockings are used in the maintenance stage of lymphedema management. The type and compression strength of the garments will be determined by the severity of your lymphedema.
It is vital that the compression garments are measured to you and fit well. If the garments do not fit properly, they could make the lymphedema worse. Jennifer Spencer, PT, DPT, CLT, OCS, can recommend an appropriate compression garment and correctly measure you for the best size.
The lymphatic system relies on muscle contractions and joint movements to also help it drain. The superficial lymphatics are positioned just underneath the skin. When exercising or moving, the muscles contract and relax against the skin. This increases lymphatic activity thereby helping to reduce swelling.
Wearing compression during exercise and during daily activities provides increased resistance for the muscles to work against and can improve the results. Physical therapy exercise programs are tailored to the needs and abilities of the individual and his/her condition.
Not all exercise programs are suitable for Lymphedema; you should always talk about your exercise plans with your Lymphedema therapist before you start.