The steps to effectively managing your lymphatic condition!
Why is this important?
Learning more about your condition is often the first step on the road towards self-management. Luckily, you’re in the right place! If you’re new to the series, or if you feel like you need a refresher, we encourage you to give our previous blogs a read to help you expand your knowledge and understanding of both lymphoedema and lipoedema.
As there is currently no known cure, being diagnosed with either condition (or other lymphatic conditions) can be daunting and difficult to come to terms with. But remember, you are not alone! There is now said to be over 250 million people worldwide living with lymphoedema. Right now, people around the world people will be learning more about these lymphatic conditions, sharing experiences and connecting with others going through the same thing.
One of the most important things for you to learn more about, is the numerous options out there to have manage your condition. Effective treatment plans can be adapted to each individual case and put into action at any stage of the condition, with the primary aim being to alleviate symptoms to a practicable level and ultimately to put you back in control of your health, and your life.
We learnt in earlier blogs, movement stimulates the flow of fluid through the lymph system. Muscle movement is the mechanism which drives the ‘drainage function’ of the lymph system. What does this mean to you? That every movement really does count!
Whether that movement is achieved through physical activity in a more structured manner or through the general activities of everyday life, any activity will enable our lymph system to perform its job effectively. Since physical activity and everyday movement are the key foundations of a successful treatment programme, we will be covering both topics in further detail later in the series.
Other important treatments
Compression garments and multi-layered bandaging techniques are often the first port of call when it comes to managing the swelling of the affected limbs. The constant pressure applied by the garment or bandage serves to stimulate the flow of lymph fluid through the affected limb. If worn consistently, compression garments and bandaging have shown to alleviate symptoms of both lymphoedema and lipoedema; particularly effective when used in combination with physical activity.
Simple Lymph Drainage (SLD) is based on the same principles as the more advanced Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD). Whilst MLD requires a trained specialist, SLD can be performed by yourself or a loved one. Both techniques utilise a gentle form of massage to promote the healthy flow of lymph through the affected region, improving lymphatic drainage as well as reducing the pain and swelling.
Additionally, lymphoedema causes the skin to become thick and stiff over time. This in turn means it is more prone to cracking, where dirt and germs can then find their way in, increasing the risk of infections. Adopting a rigorous skincare routine which involves regular cleansing and moisturising of the affected limb(s) can greatly minimise the risk of infection.
All of these treatments should be adapted for your individual needs, and regularly reviewed to make sure it is effective at reducing symptoms and generally improving your quality of life. Here at LymphActiv, we believe treatment plans should be personalised to you as an individual, because everyone is different. A “one-size-fits-all” is not applicable to any treatment plan, including physical activity!
We help those suffering with lymphoedema and/or lipoedema to effectively manage their condition through optimisation of physical activity. Finding the activities that work for you, such as the activities that you enjoy, and ones that do not cause pain or discomfort, is essential to get the most out of everyday movement and really make a difference in terms of managing your condition.
The LymphActiv Team