MANUAL LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE Jacqueline Lusk DRM, Dip Lymph Drainage
Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a specialized modality for treating inflammation and blockages in the lymphatic system of our bodies.
The patient’s body presents with Lymphoedema (fluid retention), pain and swelling. This means that the lymphatic system is sluggish and lymph nodes are either blocked or have been removed from surgery. Therefore, the lymphatic system is no longer able to function at its full capacity and fails to drain away the fluid from the tissues effectively.
There are two types of Lymphoedema:
Congenital condition: It is likely to occur as a genetic fault or abnormality in the development stages of the baby before birth or soon after.
Lymphoedema Praecox – the most common one of the Primary Lymphoedemas. Occurs around the onset of puberty/adolescence, mostly in females and a small percentage in males. Usually, one leg is effected, mainly the calf, ankle and foot.
Lymphoedema Tarda- has similar characteristics to Lymphoedema Praecox but starts after 35 years of age.
Caused by various kinds of damage and interruption of lymphatic vessels or lymph nodes e.g. inflammation, radiation, surgery, malignant tumours, lesions or crush injuries.
Lymphoedema usually appears in one or more regions of the body.
As Lymphoedema is hard to remove, Manual Lymphatic Drainage is an important part of the treatment in reducing the Lymphoedema and is needed on a regular basis.
With proper guidance, self-care, and specific exercises, the patient will then feel that they have more ‘control’ over their body.
Over time, the fluid retention, pain and swelling will reach a manageable state of repair resulting in significant reduction of the affected area.