Lymphedema therapy

Rely on Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula when you need specialized treatment to relieve swelling in your arms or legs from lymphedema.

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema happens when too much lymphatic fluid builds up in your body, causing uncomfortable swelling. This swelling, called edema, is most common in arms or legs but may also happen in other parts of your body.

Causes of lymphedema

Your lymphatic system, part of your immune system, usually balances lymphatic fluid levels in your body and clears away infections. If your lymphatic system isn’t working correctly or has a blockage, it could be because of:

  • Damaged or swollen lymph nodes (glands that cleanse lymph as it filters through them)
  • Lymphatic system cancers such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Scar tissue from radiation treatment for cancer
  • Surgical removal of lymph nodes during cancer treatments, especially breast cancer
  • Traumatic injuries to the body that impair lymph functions

Do I need therapy?

You may benefit from lymphedema therapy if swelling or pain affects your quality of life or ability to do daily activities. A specially trained physical therapist at Montage Health can help reduce swelling and pain. Treatments may improve the look and feel of your hands, arms, feet, and legs.

Treatments for lymphedema

At your first appointment, your therapist will assess your condition and therapy needs. You may get a recommendation for one or more of the following treatments:

  • Compression garments or multilayered bandages to wear over the affected areas to help move fluid out of the limbs and prevent buildup
  • Light, therapeutic exercise to stimulate lymph fluid drainage out of arms, legs, and other affected areas of your body
  • Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) using gentle massage to drain (move) fluid up and out of the limb
  • Skin care to prevent cracking and infections

Talk to your doctor

Ask your doctor for a referral for rehabilitation services — physical, occupational, and speech therapy — at Montage Health. 

Schedule an appointment

After your doctor refers you to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula for outpatient rehabilitation, call (831) 883-5640 and choose option 1 to schedule an appointment.

Then, take one of these steps:

  • Print the patient intake form in English [PDF] or Spanish [PDF], fill it out, and bring it to your first visit
  • Arrive 30 minutes before your first appointment to complete the forms at your therapy location

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