Lymphedema - rehab services
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is chronic swelling due primarily to a failure or blockage of your lymphatic system. This system contains a protein-rich fluid, called lymph, which carries waste materials from your blood-stream to specific drainage sites in your body. Damage to this system prevents proper drainage and causes swelling. Damage can be caused by:
- Congenital issues
- Chronic venous insufficiency
How is Lymphedema Treated?
Treatment consists of a short- and long-term technique called Combined Decongestive Therapy or CDT. CDT is recognized as the most effective and least invasive approach to the treatment of lymphedma. It consists of the following steps:
- Evaluation by a specially-trained therapist
- Manual Lymphatic Treatment (MLT)
- Compression bandaging and compression garments
- Therapeutic exercise
- Skin and nail care
Manual Lymphedema Treatment (MLT)
MLT is a gentle manual pressure that helps your damaged lymphatic system drain. The therapist's hands help stimulate the surface levels of the system to develop new drainage routes, helping with long-term management of swelling.
Your therapist may prescribe gentle exercise to aid in your treatment. The gentle pumping action of your muscles underneath compression bandages or garments stimulates the pumping action of your lymphatic system, which further promotes lymph drainage.
Treatment results are maintained by the application of a compression bandage. The bandage continues the pressure on the lymphatic system to allow the drainage process to continue. You may be instructed in self-bandaging and when appropriate, you will be fitted for a long-term compression garment.
Who Performs Treatment?
A licensed therapist who has been specially trained in CDT will perform your treatment. Your therapist will have completed a minimum of 90-135 hours of comprehensive, hands-on training in these techniques.
Aquatic therapy is an excellent supplement to CDT. At Rex, we offer aquatic therapy as an adjunct to traditional treatment, if needed. The hydrostatic pressure of the water enhances lymphatic return and thus can assist in edema reduction and control. The water also offers assistance in regaining range-of-motion. During aquatic therapy, you will learn an exercise program that you can perform on your own, after your treatment ends. You will need a prescription from your doctor to participate in aquatic therapy. For more information, click here.
Want to Participate?
To participate in lymphedema treatment, you need a referral from your physician. Your treatments will be performed at Rex Healthcare Outpatient Rehabilitation. To make an appointment, please call us at (919) 784-4696. Rex Healthcare Outpatient Rehabilitation is located at 2709 Blue Ridge Road.