Do your arms or legs feel swollen, tight, or hard? You may have a condition called “lymphedema.” Lymphedema occurs when your lymph vessels cannot drain lymph fluid, usually from your arm or leg. Lymphedema is classified as primary or secondary, secondary being more common. Secondary lymphedema is caused by another underlying disease or condition.
When secondary lymphedema goes untreated for too long, you run the risk of developing an infection, or a type of soft tissue cancer, known as lymphangiosarcoma. If you notice your limbs feeling taut, hard, or swollen, it’s a good idea to visit Blue Ridge Physical Therapy in Johnson City, TN for treatment.
Our physical therapists are skilled and trained in the areas of primary and secondary lymphedema management. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment.
Causes & Symptoms of Secondary Lymphedema
Individuals who are older, obese, or have arthritis are at a higher risk of developing secondary lymphedema. There are several conditions that can pose a possible threat to your lymph vessels or lymph nodes. This can result in lymphedema. Some of the causes include:
If you have undergone the removal of your lymph nodes, or sustained an injury to those nodes or lymph vessels, you might develop secondary lymphedema
Lymphedema may develop when cancer cells block lymphatic vessels.
Radiation for cancer can result in tissue scarring and inflammation of your lymph nodes or lymph vessels.
Developing an infection
Infected lymph nodes can restrict the flow of lymph fluid. The most common way lymphedema forms is in tropical areas where certain parasites are more common. For example, you might visit a developing country without taking proper health precautions, and come back with this condition.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s important that you contact a professional in the Johnson City, TN area to prevent further risk to your health.
- Aching, swelling, or discomfort
- A feeling of heaviness or tightness
- Limited range of motion
- Painful infection
- Fibrosis (hardening and thickening of the skin)
There is no cure for lymphedema, however, a physical therapist at Blue Ridge Physical Therapy can take a look at your medical history, your leg(s) or arms(s) to see how severe your condition is.
They will create a safe exercise program for you, including light exercises, compression and massage therapy, which will improve your symptoms without adding extra stress to the affected limb. They can also monitor your compression garments to ensure they still fit properly, and help you adopt a diet to decrease fluid buildup in your tissues.
Blue Ridge Physical Therapy Can Help
You don’t have to constantly be in pain from lymphedema. Our knowledgeable, attentive physical therapists here in Johnson City, TN can assess your needs and come up with an effective solution for your pain.
Don’t allow your condition to get worse. Contact Blue Ridge Physical Therapy today for more information on treatment solutions for secondary lymphedema.