Like any body system, your lymphatic system can malfunction. When your lymphatic system is damaged or blocked due to the accumulation of protein-rich fluid, it causes lymphedema. In this regard, lymphatic drainage massage or manual lymphatic drainage is the most effective approach to deal with lymphedema, which helps clear excess fluid from their soft tissues and returns it to the lymph nodes.
Let’s talk about the symptoms of lymphedema, its treatment options, and where you can go in Liberty and Marshall, MO, for excellent lymph node-related care.
What Does the Lymphatic System Do?
The lymphatic system, composed of organs (the spleen and tonsils, as examples), vessels, and lymph nodes in the neck, groin, and other areas, is crucial for your immune system. It serves as the body’s natural defense against diseases, toxins, and trauma and helps move the watery lymph fluid into blood vessels for recirculation throughout the body.
The lymphatic system also brings protein and fats from the digestive system to the vascular system. It produces vital white blood cells which protect against toxins, bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc. Finally, the lymphatic system is a generalized fluid leveler, keeping your arms, legs, trunk, etc., more hydrated and lubricate in a balanced and efficient way.
What Is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema could be of two types. Some people suffer from primary lymphedema (swelling and lymph stagnation in the extremities, breasts, and genitals), carrying a hereditary component. Other people suffer from lymph drainage problems related to surgery, trauma, cancer, infections, etc. This is called secondary lymphedema. Either way, the symptoms can be distressing and uncomfortable. They include:
- A feeling of extreme heaviness and fullness
- Tight, hard, rough skin
- Poor range of motion and stiffness in the affected arms and legs
- Improperly fitting clothing
- Repeated mild to moderate infections, such as sinusitis
- Constipation and bloating
- Depression and poor concentration
- Slow wound healing
Besides genetics, predisposing factors for lymphedema include:
- Lack of exercise
- Lifting and carrying heavy objects for prolonged period
- Wearing tight clothing and jewelry
- Removal of lymph nodes for biopsy
- Chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer
- Parasitic infestation
- Infections (particularly cellulitis)
- Fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders
- Accumulation of fat in the lower body
Lymphatic Massage in Liberty, MO
With compression wear and elasticized bandages, lymphedema patients experience less pain and swelling, better skin tone and texture, weight loss, improved healing, and less scarring after surgery. Stress reduction is also a common therapeutic outcome.
At Missouri Vein Specialists, our providers work with lymphedema patients to reduce their symptoms by redirecting fluid for better immune function and blood circulation.
We will be happy to explain the benefits of lymphatic massage or any of our other helpful services!