Lymphedema is a disease caused by the breakdown of or damage to the lymph node and it causes swelling in the arms and legs. In general, the cause of the problem arises from a cancer treatment that targets the lymph node. Your lymph node is part of your immune system and when there are problems with the lymph node, swelling is the direct result. The blockage is the key problem, fluid from the lymph is prevented from draining and that is where the swelling comes from.
Symptoms to watch for
- Swelling: part of, or all of, your legs or arms – down to the toes and fingers
- Limbs: feel heavy and tight
- Motion: losing your range of motion
- Chronic pain: aching and discomfort felt in the swollen areas
- Inflammation: recurring infections
- Changes in your skin: The skin in the affected areas hardens and becomes thicker. This condition is referred to as fibrosis
The problem swelling ranges from slight changes that are hardly noticeable to a bloated look that makes your limbs difficult to use.
Causes of Lymphedema
- Radiation treatment for cancer will cause scarring and inflammation lymph nodes or lymph vessels.
- Cancer, if the cancer cells have blocked the lymphatic vessels, lymphedema will be the result
- An infection of the lymph nodes or parasites will restrict the flow of lymph fluid.
- Primary causes of lymphedema are genetic and the problems take the form of Milroy’s Disease. The disease begins in infancy and it causes lymph nodes to be formed abnormally.
- Meige’s Disease comes to a person during puberty or during pregnancy and it is can be with a person until age 35
Treatments for Lymphedema
There are a number of schools of thought when treating lymphedema. Surgery is one solution, pressure bandages to get the fluid moving, massage treatments, compression garments, dietary changes, hydration to rinse toxins from your system, exercise, and skin brushing. By far, the best therapy one can engage in is the use of a Pneumatic Compression Pump to help relieve the swelling and pressure caused by lymphedema.
How Pneumatic Compression Pumps Work
The Pneumatic Compression Pump, also known as an Intermittent Compression Pump, was created as a sleeve or a vest-style garment. The vest or sleeve has many air chambers – think small balloons – they inflate and deflate to get the lymph fluid moving in the right direction.
Depending on the area of the body that needs help, the patient may be in a sitting position for the arm or sitting or lying down for the upper torso treatment. For the chest or the body’s trunk, the patient can be lying down depending on the pump. The treatment – the pump pumping away the toxins in the affected area can take up to 60 minutes to complete. Using a pneumatic pump means fewer trips to the hospital because you can have an at-home therapy regimen as recommended by a certified lymphedema therapist.
Your therapist will guide you in the best practices for use of the pump that incorporates the settings, pressure, and pumping action that is required to treat your condition. Treatment frequency is a key element for the use of the pneumatic pump. And remember, that more pressure doesn’t yield better results. In general, the lighter the pressure the better the pump works moving fluids from swollen areas.
The best thing about Compression Pumps is the improvement it provides to blood circulation. When we increase the supply of oxygen to the leg/legs that are experiencing trouble, it will improve sleep, improve a person’s ability to walk and reduce the pain associated with RLS. The gentle massaging this system uses to provide relief is extremely soothing and many patients are more than satisfied with the treatment and results. The fluid that has built up in the affected areas is returned to the body and removed through the body’s chemical network.
The Bio Compression Pump as it is known, is a lightweight, quiet, comfortable, high-quality machine to use for home therapy. The ease of use of this gem makes it a comfortable experience for the user, and it records a high compliance rate of use. Once patients become tolerant of the treatments, the pressure can be ramped up gradually to increase effectiveness. The gradient pump systems are far and away the most economical way to treat lymphedema and venous insufficiency.
Types of Compression Pumps
- A single-chamber, nonprogrammable pump, is the simplest of pneumatic compression pumps. Also, it is easiest to use. The pump comes with a single chamber that inflates with air to provide uniform pressure on the afflicted area.
- The multi-chamber, non-programmable pump contains chambers – like balloons – that range from two to12 or more inflatable chambers. The chambers fill with air sequentially and apply pressure at each compartment. The pressure can be applied on a sliding scale, depending on need, but there is no ability to manually adjust the single compartments.
- The single or multi-chamber, programmable pneumatic pumps are similar to the pumps described above but changes can be made to the chambers. You can adjust the pressure for each chamber, the length of time that the pump runs, and the inflation cycles.
Benefits of Compression Therapy
Ease of use
- A Compression Pump is a simple device that slips on over an arm or a leg, or by donning a vest for the trunk or torso treatments. Once you have your settings applied in conjunction with your therapist, you sit or lie down and let the pump do its work.
- The pump, unlike other remedies, doesn’t require an operation. External treatments limit the possibility of infection and there is no healing time when using a pump for lymphedema problems.
- The Compression Pump has met all the standards necessary to be a viable treatment for people who suffer from Lymphedema. Many clinical trials and studies have been produced that demonstrate the utility of the Compression Pump for the user.
Relaxing for the patient
- The treatment creates no external or internal pain that some treatments like operations might. The patient – if at home – can set the pump for the prescribed amount of time and pressure and read a book or just relax and let the pump do its work.
No side effects
- When you engage in drug therapy or an operation to solve a health problem, there are side effects that come with the treatments. When using a pneumatic Compression Pump, you have no worries about drug side effects or problems like infections from an operation.
- ODSP and ADP can be combined as a source of financing should you need help when purchasing a Compression Pump. Many insurance plans will cover a Compression Pump too
When the need arises, due to the condition we known as lymphedema know that Alla and her team at Care-Med are ready to assist you in improving the quality of your life. Care-Med has been serving the needs of the Greater Toronto Area for many years. From custom orthotics to inserts, or shoes that help people enjoy a higher quality of life living a pain-free existence, we have it all.
We, at Care-Med, honour all major insurance plans and we cater to patients who use ODSP and ADP for their healthcare needs. To make an appointment at or office, please call 416.782.5353. If you would like to submit a written inquiry, please email our location at email@example.com for more information.