Lymph is a colourless fluid that forms in the body naturally. It normally drains back into the blood circulation through a network of vessels and lymph nodes.
The nodes act as a filter and play an important part in the removal of waste products and helping improve the body’s defence against infection.
If the drainage routes through the lymphatic system become blocked or damaged, lymph accumulates and swelling (oedema) occurs.
Lymphoedema can lead to changes in the tissues such as fibrosis (hardness) and an increased risk of infection. The swelling then becomes even more difficult to control.
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Primary and Secondary Lymphoedema
Primary Lymphoedema is large as a result of congenital or hereditary problems where there is a problem with the development and function of the lymphatics. Sometimes these can be evident from birth or only occur after hormonal changes such as puberty or pregnancy.
Secondary Lymphoedema occurs due to damage to an otherwise healthy lymphatic system. Damage can be caused by surgery (especially removal of lymph nodes), radiotherapy, venous insufficiency (swollen legs, armchair legs), self-harm etc.
The most publicised cause of lymphoedema is following treatment for Breast Cancer.
Treatment for Lymphoedema is tailored to the client and will depend on the extent of the condition. Lymphoedema is not a simple condition and treatments can vary from a single treatment, measurement and fitting of a made to measure garment, to an intensive course for a chronic condition. Including multi-layer bandaging to reduce the size of the limb.
Many factors need to be taken into consideration including cost and time constraints.
If the treatment includes compression bandaging and compression garments these can be supplied free via the prescription service. Before this, an Ultra Sound Doppler test is carried out as part of the consultation/evaluation process to confirm that compression treatment is appropriate.
The use of the only Low-Level Light Laser (LLLT) approved for the treatment of Lymphoedema is used as part of any MLD treatment. As is ‘Lymph Tape’ to assist with increasing the flow of lymph.
Advice over the phone or via our contact page is honest and free as many people who suffer from this condition do not always know where to go for assistance and guidance.
How good is MLD?
The body can increase the efficiency of the lymphatic system by about tenfold.
MLD applied correctly and dependant upon the client’s physiology can increase it by one hundred times.
We have experience of removing 3-4 litres of fluid from an oedematous leg following a two-week intensive course of treatment.
Just by applying MLD (type of massage) and Low-level light laser, we have experienced a limb reduction of 12%
The important factor is to manage any oedema and not to allow it to become an issue. Advice on management and precautions are discussed as are various exercises that will help to stimulate the lymphatic system.
If you suffer from a mild condition it is still important to be aware of the risk factors. Post-mastectomy patients need to be especially to be aware.