Compression therapy entails wearing bandages or compression garments designed to minimize your edoema and keep it at bay. It is a critical component of Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT), the gold standard in lymphedema therapy. TDC consists of two phases: decongestion (Phase I) and maintenance (Phase II) (Phase II). One of these two phases is compression therapy.
What is compression treatment, and how does it work?
Compression therapy is intended to alleviate the signs and symptoms of lymphedema. Your bandages and compression garments for lymphedema apply external pressure to the leg. The compression is graded, which means that the strongest pressure is at the ankle (or wrist) and diminishes as you move up the limb. This graduation aids in the movement of lymph fluid to the center of your body, where it may be appropriately evacuated. The compression forces the fluid out of the injured limb while preventing it from returning.
What should you keep an eye out for?
Compression therapy, in general, is a fairly safe treatment that has been used for decades. It can be utilized in most patients, with a few exceptions. All treatment exceptions are known to your healthcare practitioner.
There are, however, some indicators that your garments or pressure bandages are being worn incorrectly. These include pain, irritation, changes in skin tone, and tingling or numbness in your toes or fingers. If you detect one or more of these symptoms, reposition your leg or take off the clothing. If that doesn’t work, try removing a layer of bandage. If the symptoms do not improve after a few days, you should remove the compression and consult your doctor.
Compression therapy is also hard on your skin. As a result, it is critical to practice proper skincare routines.
Other useful hints
- Purchase compression garments and sleeves from a specialist or durable medical equipment manufacturer that your therapist recommends and routinely works with. “Durable medical equipment” refers to medical equipment or supplies that are of high quality and will retain compression for the duration specified on the container.
- Allow an experienced individual to modify the sleeve or garment as needed. An ill-fitting sleeve can cause lymphedema by providing too much or too little pressure to certain parts of the limb, causing fluid build-up. In some circumstances, the therapist may adjust. In others, the adjuster for the medical supply business will do it. This individual will take measurements of your arm, hand, chest, or other body parts to select a sleeve or other suitable clothing or order a custom garment. Ask the therapist or the person performing the adjustment how many people they have previously worked with.
- Remember that if your doctor advises a compression garment, you can purchase all you need from the internet. And all of this care is provided by technical professionals who are ready to assist you in using the goods you will require during the various stages of therapy. Consider purchasing two sleeves or clothes so you can alternate while one is being washed. They should be replaced every 3-6 months because they lose elasticity over time.
- If you purchase a compression sleeve, ask your doctor if you should also wear a glove or mitten. This is especially crucial if you’ve ever experienced a hand symptom, such as heaviness, tingling, or swelling, regardless of how slight or brief the symptom was. There is also worry that wearing only one sleeve on the arm may cause lymphedema in hand. As a precaution, a glove or mitten is sometimes recommended while the body adjusts to the sleeve.
Applying moisturizer to your arm and hand before putting it on your sleeve is not recommended. The chemicals can deteriorate the elastic fibers of the sleeve over time.