Patients with lymphedema may receive therapy through occupational therapy. A physician referral is required.
In most cases, treatment is covered by Medicare and private medical insurance companies.
Lymphedema is swelling in one or more extremities that result from impaired flow of the lymphatic system.
OT helps remove excess swelling through the use of guided exercise, specialized massage, bandaging techniques, home programs, and activity modifications and education.
Typical causes, but not limited to:
- Trauma (injuries, rashes, insect bites, overuse of muscles, etc.)
- Surgery (for example: hip, knee, mastectomy, prostate)
- Radiation treatments
- Circulation problems
All the above could cause destruction or impairment of the lymph nodes in the designated area(s).
If lymph nodes are impaired, it will compromise the body's lymphatic system. This can cause increased swelling though not everyone will develop lymphedema. Older adults are at a greater risk of developing lymphedema due to physiological changes that occur with aging.
Lymphedema cannot be cured; however, with early intervention, therapy, and self-management; it can be reduced and controlled.