Once an individual recovers from the roller coaster of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery, individuals are often relieved to survive, but they can be left with a number of musculoskeletal limits as side effect of the treatments. The side effects can include weakness, joint restriction, fatigue, uncontrolled swelling, pain, nerve damage, scarring, and gait dysfunction. Physical Therapy can be involved early in cancer treatment or even years following their original cancer diagnosis. Physical Therapy can include strength building that can help you go from being a survivor into a thriver.
Treatment for Lymphedema
Lymphedema is an accumulation of protein rich swelling in the body that causes chronic inflammation in the tissues. Prolonged exposure to the protein-rich edema can lead to long term swelling, hardening of the tissues, skin changes, decrease in functional status, and puts the patient at high risk for life-threatening infections. there are two types of lymphedema: primary and secondary. With primary lymphedema,there is a malformation of the lymph system. In secondary lymphedema, the lymph system has been damaged by such things as surgery, radiation therapy, trauma, filariasis, cancer, infection, chronic venous insufficiency, and obesity to name a few. If you have lymphedema, the treatment of choice is Complete Decongestive Therapy or CDT. Complete Decongestive Therapy is provided by a certified lymphedema therapist or CLT. Christi Hill Gilliam, PT, CLT, has advanced post-graduate certifcation in manual lymph drainage.
The treatment includes manual lymph drainage, compression bandaging, meticulous skin care, and remedial exercises. Though there is no cure for lymphedema, it can be effectively treated and managed for the individual to have an active lifestyle.
Lymphedema treatment area