When something compromises the health of the lymphatic system, a person can suffer from any of the following lymphatic congestion symptoms:
· Morning soreness or stiffness
· Itchy skin
· Breast swelling or soreness
· Dry skin
· Cold hands and feet
· Swelling in the arms or legs
Understanding Lymphatic Congestion
The lymphatic system, which is comprised of a network of tissues and organs, plays an important role in cleansing the body. Its primary function is to transport the protein-rich lymph which also contains infection-fighting white blood cells.
Unfortunately, there are factors that can affect the proper circulation of lymph in the body. These include physical inactivity, stress, infection, trauma and even dehydration. When there is blockage in the circulation of lymph, the lymph vessels can get clogged, leading to lymphatic congestion.
There are people who can be born with lymphatic congestion (also called primary lymphedema) while there are also those who develop it as a result of another condition (also called secondary lymphedema).
Primary lymphedema is often due to genetic disorders while secondary lymphedema is usually a result of a complication in cancer treatment.
Managing Lymphatic Congestion
There are different ways to manage lymphatic congestion symptoms. The goal of these treatments is to reduce the swelling and retain or improve the range of motion of the affected limb. Here are some ways on how to manage lymphatic congestion:
Use of Compression Garments
The use of compression garments such as compression socks, stockings, or sleeves is an example of compression therapy.
Pneumatic compression is another example of this therapy. This involves the use of sleeves or vests that can be inflated to stimulate the flow of the lymphatic fluid.
Range of Motion Exercises
You can do compression therapy without any device or equipment. By doing simple range of motion exercises, you can put pressure on the lymphatic vessels, helping the fluid move. Doing these exercises regularly can eventually reduce the swelling.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
If compression therapy doesn’t work, there’s another way of managing lymphatic congestion symptoms. This can be done through manual lymph drainage, a special type of massage performed by a qualified and well-trained professional. It involves the use of gentle strokes that manipulate the tissues, helping the fluids to drain more easily.
Lymphatic congestion symptoms shouldn’t be ignored even if they are considered as ‘minor’ ones. These symptoms can progress and may even lead to more health complications when left untreated.
Image: stefania ballerini