Lymphatic drainage: Swelling on the arms and legs
With special handgrips, swelling on the arms and legs can be alleviated – in this case, a manual lymph drainage. Accumulated liquid is released from the tissue. When is this useful? For whom is manual lymphatic drainage suitable? Are pain to be expected? And who will pay for the so-called “hand-over”? More about this in the following article.
What is a manual lymph drainage?
The lymphatic system is an important component of the lymphatic system, in addition to the thymus, spleen, bone marrow, tonsils and appendix. Daily, two liters of fluid are transported through the lymphatic system in normal cases. Disorders of the lymph system lead to a disturbed lymph drainage and the formation of edematous tissue. Different causes can be caused: one distinguishes between primary and secondary lymphedema, the primary lymphedema being congenital function disorders of the lymph system and secondary disturbances resulting, for example, from operations and injuries, and more frequently.
Since the 1960s the manual lymphatic drainage of physiotherapists, who have a corresponding supplementary qualification, is carried out according to doctor’s prescription. Manual lymphatic drainage is aimed at deflating the swollen tissue – mostly on the arms and legs – and helps to reduce the potting function of the vascular system, so that the storage of vascular fluid can escape through careful massage.
Special handholds are exercised: rhythmic, circling and pumping movements of the palms of the hands are supposed to transport the accumulated fluid towards the appropriate lymph node station. The pressure generated by the handgrips also causes a stimulus on the strain receptors and increases the flow rate. The tissue can decay, it becomes softer, softer, and the pain due to the swelling can be alleviated. The manual lymph drainage also has a positive effect on the mobility of the affected person.
Manual lymph drainage is part of the complex physical decongestive therapy (KPE) and is often used in combination and can only be performed by specially trained physiotherapists. It is used in edematally affected areas of the body, which may also arise as a result of surgery or injuries.
The manual lymph drainage can be divided into two phases: one is called a two-phase therapy:
Phase I of decongestion
- daily lymphatic drainage therapy
- skin care
- Compression therapy with bandages
- manual lymph drainage as required
- Compression with compression stockings (made to measure)
- Gymnastics for decongestion
Under certain circumstances, the person concerned may be given simple home use instructions which can be used to stimulate the lymphatic drainage. Without previous instructions personal measures are by no means recommended.
For whom is manual lymphatic drainage suitable?
Indications for manual lymph drainage are given in the following cases:
- Injuries associated with a swelling (eg, sprains, strains, sprains, muscle fiber tears ), ie in traumatic edema
- Sudeck disease
- venous insufficiency
- Migraine and similar diseases
- in pain therapy, before and after operations (for example after knee or hip joint endoprostheses)
- in lymphoedema (eg after breast cancer surgery)
- in lipoedema
- in chronic venous insufficiency
- as a complementary therapy for diseases of the rheumatic form
A manual lymph drainage is not advisable for:
- acute infections (as a result, the pathogens can spread better in the organism)
- acute eczema
Who takes the cost of physiotherapeutic measures?
If a doctor has ordered the treatment of manual lymphatic drainage, the statutory health insurers pay the benefits of the physiotherapeutic measures. The prescription is determined by the physician according to his diagnosis and is dependent on the severity and severity as well as on the prognosis of a disease course. An illness and diagnosis are assumed, so that the health insurance companies take over the services. With the medical prescription one goes to an admitted practice of the choice. The statutory supplementary allowance can be about ten percent of the treatment costs for the therapy and ten euros per prescription. Children and young people are exempt from the extra charge.
Side effects of manual lymph drainage
If manual lymph drainage is carried out professionally by trained personnel, as a rule no side effects are to be expected. If the skin is particularly sensitive, skin reddening may be observed due to increased blood flow. Increased urge to urinate can also be felt, but not as a side effect – the fluid from the accumulated body is transported to the kidney via the lymphatics and the blood circulation and excreted.
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