• Lymphedema

    Asked by Peggymerc01 on Tuesday, March 26, 2013


    Looking for tips on keeping left arm and chest wall Lymphedema under control.

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • Tracy's Avatar

      While fly fishing we found that the movement of raising your arm to "your eye and to the sky" of fishing causes lymphedema to be drained easier. I put a link in the resources for http://castingforrecovery.org which is part of this idea. I am not suggesting that you learn to fish but that movement of your bent arm in a smooth motion is a great exercise (fishing with other women is very relaxing however). Tie a piece of yarn (3 ft) to a small stick (2 ft') and try using that as a small practice pole - I don't take credit for this idea, its been around for a while. Tracy

      over 3 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      I am joining you in looking for tips. I went through the Compression Bandages to reduce the arm and hand. I was then fitted for a sleeve and glove which I was supposed to wear all the time. I did wear it for awhile -- but, then it seemed that the sleeve made the hand swell more. So I am not wearing it right now. I have tried the exercises and my husband has tried the light lymphatic-type massage on my arm such as he saw the Therapist do. My hand remains swollen which is so discouraging. If you find any info elsewhere, I would appreciate it if you would share it. I wish you the best.

      over 3 years ago
    • Bug's Avatar

      My oncologist referred me to a physical therapist who specializes in lymphedema issues. She did the massage, taught me how to do it myself, gave me exercises and gave me a sleeve and gauntlet (glove with shortened fingers). I wear the compression garments less often these days but always, always when I fly. I see the PT every six months for a check-up. I'm also weightlifting twice per week (3 or 5 pounds depending). I found some info that said light weightlifting has been shown to be helpful for many women and the PT agreed.

      over 3 years ago
    • mcowett's Avatar

      What I found was that the lymphatic drainage massage really works IF it is done correctly. If not done with the pumping light touch, trying to redirect the lymph it doesn't really work on a "compromised" arm. I, being a massage therapist, even had a difficult time getting the hang of it. Be patient with yourself while learning this technique. I wound up going to the PT 2x's/week for 3 weeks, for them to do the massage on me before I really saw the results and got the hang of it. Also exercises that uses resistance - like with weights or bands, are the most helpful. One other thing I learned - while going through radiation therapy and about 3 months post, if they were zapping the lymph nodes, don't expect much. My arm would ache and swell and then the swelling would go down and then back up again. I'm only about 2 months out and have finally started seeing some consistency. ALSO, DO BE CAREFUL WITH CUTS AND SCRAPES!! I was not and got the cellulitis. NO FUN and very painful and it does irreversible damage to the lymph system, and makes you more prone to get it again.

      over 3 years ago
    • Topazcat's Avatar

      I am a year out from treatment and this past fall (2012) my left arm started swelling. Saw PT for 8 weeks and was fitted for compression sleeve. My arm is swelling more now. Please share info that you find!

      over 3 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      If haven't already seen a lymphedema specialist, please do so.

      As others have suggested, movement has been the key to keeping my lymphedema under control. I began strength training regularly with very light weights and very s-l-o-w-l-y increased them. The idea is to retrain your remaining lymph nodes to pick up the slack. Deep, chest-expanding breaths is good to stimulate the lymph nodes in the chest area.

      over 3 years ago
    • islandlady's Avatar

      The compression sleeve I wear seems to make my hand swell. I do weight lifting and aerobic exercises. I tried the fly fishing movements and they do seem to help. Should I stop wearing the sleeve? I have had it only a few weeks and ordered 2 of them.... and was told to were it 12 hours a day.

      over 3 years ago

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