• Has anyone found a good resource for strategies to manage lymphedema?

    Asked by jennqt on Saturday, September 15, 2012

    Has anyone found a good resource for strategies to manage lymphedema?

    I have lymphedema in my hand and arm after lumpectomy, sentinel node biopsy and radiation. I struggle with keeping it from swelling during outdoor activity and on hot days. I have a compression glove and sleeve but would love to find other options that help. Manual drainage massage does little to help, and the glove helps briefly, but as soon as I remove it, my hand puffs up again.

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      Hi, there is a resident expert here: RE. She has lived with lymphedema for years and is a great information. I am sure if you private message her, she can help answer all your questions.

      over 8 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      Hello, you might try the national lymphedema network online. Always try to keep your arm elevated when possible and strengthening exercises can be beneficial as long as you do not lift more than 15 lbs. A low sodium, high fiber diet is useful as well. Good luck, Carm.

      over 8 years ago
    • akristine's Avatar

      I've had lymphedema in both legs for almost three years. You're doing the right things using the compression sleeve and manual massage.

      over 8 years ago
    • ElsaG's Avatar

      What helped me was going through six weeks of physical therapy by someone who specializes specifically on lymphedema. She worked on me twice a week for 45 minutes then wrapped my hand and arm in bandages that were also specific to the condition. The therapist also taught me how to massage the hand and arm regularly to help control swelling. I don't know what you're referring to as manual drainage because I understand there's several methods of treating lymphedema, but this manual method did wonders for me. On hot days it will swell up a little bit more but I don't think that will ever go away. I also have a custom made sleeve which is more effective than the over the counter ones.

      over 8 years ago
    • doglady's Avatar

      Using your hands and arms as much as you can tolerate is helpful at keeping the fluids circulating. Also, keeping it elevated on a pillow when not doing anything is helpful. Hope that helps.

      over 8 years ago
    • raven's Avatar

      I have lymphedema in my chest, back , and upper arm. I have several strategies in my arsenal that I use as needed. These include manual massage twice daily, commercial compression sleeve, prescription compression vest at night, I also find that mowing the lawn always helps - guess it is the vibration. On an alternative medicine side I have had GREAT success with Specific Frequency Microcurrent, I drink a strong tea (8 hour brew time) of bedstraw (also known as cleavers), essential oil of grapefruit diluted with a carrier oil when I massage (taking 1 - 3 drops of essential oil of grapefruit orally has been recommended - I have not done this - but if you decide to try it be sure the oil is recommended for internal use - most are not), I also rebound on a mini-trampoline which is reported to be beneficial due to the split second of zero gravity at the top of the jump.

      over 8 years ago

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