How Do You Know If You’re Suffering From Lymphatic Congestion
Almost every part of the body can be affected by poor waste removal in the lymphatic system. When your lymph drains become congested you may notice:
- Stiffness, especially in the morning
- Breast swelling with each cycle
- Holding on to water
- Chronic sinusitis, sore throats, colds, or ear issues
The Benefits Of Facial Lymphatic Drainage
In the 1930’s, Emil Vodder, a physical therapist from Denmark, developed the lymphatic drainage technique. It consists of massaging the skin manually to encourage lymphatic circulation and help remove waste and toxins from the body. We tell you how to perform a lymphatic drainage massage at home, for rapidly visible results.
When To See A Doctor
You should see your doctor if you have inflamed lymph nodes along with another condition. Here are some factors to help you determine when to seek medical attention:
- Your lymph nodes are swollen for over a couple of weeks and you have other symptoms, such as night sweats, weight loss, fever, or fatigue.
- You have hard lymph nodes that do not move or are fixed to the skin.
- You have nodes that are growing rapidly.
- You have swelling in the lower part of your neck or close to your collarbone.
- You notice your skin become red and inflamed, or you have an infection.
You usually do not require emergency medical help, but it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible when you have a growing infection of the skin. Sometimes, it is important to have your lymph nodes drained quickly, so you should talk to your doctor about how to drain lymph nodes, because if you do not drain your lymph nodes properly, serious complications such as lymphangiosarcoma may occur. Seek immediate medical attention when a lymph node in your neck makes it difficult to breathe.
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Compression Bandages And Garments
Unlike blood circulation, the lymphatic system has no central pump, such as the heart, to move fluid to the lymph glands.
Instead, it uses the massaging effect of surrounding muscles to move the fluid. This is why exercise is important.
Compression bandages or garments, such as sleeves, gloves, stockings or tights, fitted over affected limbs act as a counterforce to muscles.
This stimulates more effective lymph drainage. The combination of exercise and compression encourages the fluid to move out of the affected limb.
Compression garments may also be applied after a massage session to prevent fluid accumulating in the limb again.
Velcro wraps may be used instead of bandages or compression garments. These are easier to apply yourself.
You’ll be taught how to correctly apply compression garments or Velcro wraps so you can continue using them during the maintenance period.
How To Perform A Lymphatic Massage
Trained professionals provide lymphatic massage, but they can teach an individual basic drainage techniques to use at home. A doctor or other professional can advise on safe ways to drain lymphatic fluid.
People can perform most of these exercises either standing, sitting, or lying down, as long as they are comfortable.
Keep the following tips in mind during a lymphatic massage:
- These massage movements should affect only the skin, so use gentle pressure and do not press hard enough to feel the muscles.
- Keep the hands relaxed.
- Do not massage swollen or infected areas.
- Do not massage areas of the body that have undergone treatment for cancer.
- Drink extra fluids, ideally 24 glasses of water, after each massage to help flush the body.
- During the massage, there should be no pain or skin reddening.
- Do not use lotions or other products, only the hands.
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Ways To Clear Lymphatic Congestion
While your lymphatic system is similar to your circulatory system, unlike blood, lymph does not have a pump, therefore has to rely on the contraction and relaxation of muscles to move it around. Its no wonder that an unhealthy lifestyle that doesnt stimulate the healthy lymph circulation can easily overwhelm and congest the entire lymph system.
The good news is that there are a variety of techniques you can use to clean your lymph system. First, lets discuss how your lymph system is cleaned, then take a look at some specific ways to clear lymph congestion.
How Is Lymphedema Diagnosed
There are no tests for lymphedema. Instead, your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history and give you a physical exam. Youll be asked about:
Past surgeries youve had
Any problems after your surgeries
When the swelling started
If youve had severe swelling in the past
What medicines youre taking
What other health conditions you have, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes
Imaging tests, measures of volume, blood tests, and other tests may be used to diagnose lymphedema.
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What Is The Lymph System
Your lymphatic, or lymph system is a critical part of your immune system that is essential for protecting you from inflammation and illness. The main role of your lymph system is to keep your fluid levels in balance while protecting you from infections, bacteria, cancers, and other potential threats.
Your lymph system is a network of blood vessels and lymph nodes working together to carry fluids from your tissues to your blood and vice versa. It is basically your bodys inner drainage system.
Your lymph system is quite similar to your circulatory system which is made up of veins, arteries, and capillaries to carry your blood around. Your lymph vessels are smaller than your veins. They carry around a clear, watery fluid called lymph, as well as protein molecules, glucose, salt, and other substances .
Upper Body Massage Techniques
Use the following techniques to help drain lymph fluid from the chest, shoulder, and upper arm.
To massage the chest:
To massage the shoulder:
To massage the upper arm:
To massage the full arm:
To massage the fingers:
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Clinical Relevance: Virchow’s Node
Virchow’s node is a supraclavicular node, located in the left supraclavicular fossa . It receives lymph drainage from the abdominal cavity.
The finding of an enlarged Virchow’s node is referred to as Troisier’s sign – and indicates of the presence of cancer in the abdomen, specifically gastric cancer, that has spread through the lymph vessels.
Incorporate Red And Raw Foods
A sluggish digestive tract also congests the lymphatic system. Ayurvedic medicine teaches that naturally red foods like berries, pomegranates, cherries, cranberries, and beets keep the lymph moving freely. Beets are particularly valuable as they help thin the bile for healthy fat digestion, scrub the intestinal villi where the lymphatic vessels originate, and help keep the lymph flowing.
Incorporating raw foods into your diet is another way to keep the lymphatic system healthy. The naturally occurring enzymes and bioflavonoids in raw fruits and vegetables help to break down toxic buildup and free radicals while fiber promotes regular elimination and cleansing of the intestinal villi to keep the intestinal lymphatic system healthy.
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Removing The Muscle At The Side Of Your Neck
Removing the muscle at the side of your neck doesn’t usually cause a problem. But it does make your neck look thinner and sunken on that side.
You might have a neck dissection on both sides, this means removing both muscles. Afterwards you are likely to have some difficulty bending your head forward. Physiotherapy can help to improve movement and prevent stiffness.
Disorders Of The Lymphatic System
Lymph drainage may fail either because of a defect intrinsic to the lymph conducting pathways or because of irreversible damage from some factor originating from outside the lymphatic system . In addition to swelling, impaired lymph drainage also predisposes to infection because of the role the lymphatic system plays in immune surveillance. Acute inflammatory episodes can often be recurrent and frequent. Such events occur irrespective of the cause of the lymphedema. âAcute attacksâ manifest with increased edema, pain, fever, or flu-like symptoms and can be prevented with long-term prophylactic penicillin and improvements in skin hygiene.
Historically, primary lymphedema was classified based on the age of onset, but developments in clinical phenotyping and genetic studies have led to the introduction of a more comprehensive diagnostic pathway . A detailed family and medical history, a clinical examination, and lymphoscintigraphy have proved useful tools in differentiating the various subtypes. Lymphoscintigraphy is the imaging of the lymphatic system by injecting radioactive isotope into the web spaces between the toes , and quantification of uptake into the inguinal lymph nodes after 2 h . Decreased uptake suggests abnormal lymphatic drainage.
Figure 8.2. Lymphoscintigraphy Images for Four Types of Primary Lymphedema
Table 8.1. Overview of the Genetic Disorders With a Primary Lymphedema Phenotype
Dennis C. Hammond MD, in, 2009
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Soak In A Steam Bath Or Sauna
A traditional sauna, infrared sauna, or steam bath is another simple treatment that can support a healthy immune system and lymphatic system, and naturally detox and sweat toxins from the body.Infrared sauna therapy in particular improves blood flow and increases sweat production, which then removes toxins from tissue.
After a long soak in a steam bath or sauna, it is a good idea to consume lots of water to flush toxins from the body, and this allows the system to do its job.
However, pregnant women and those with low blood pressure or a history of heart disease should talk to their doctor first.
Blood Supply And Lymphatics
The head and neck contains a rich and elaborate lymphatic network of more than 300 nodes and their intermediate channels. Aponeuroses bind them together with the muscles, nerves, and vessels of the head and neck. These lymphatic chains are strongly lateralized and typically do not directly communicate between left and right in the absence of a pathologic process. This lymphatic drainage originates at the base of the skull, then proceeds to the jugular chain adjacent to the internal jugular vein. From there it moves into the spinal accessory chain adjacent to the spinal accessory nerve, or cranial nerve XI, and then meets the supraclavicular chain. The lymphatics then drain on both sides. On the left side, they drain either directly into the vasculature via the jugulo-subclavian venous confluence or directly into the thoracic duct. On the right side, they flow directly into the lymphatic duct. Conversely, most structures drain ipsilaterally, except in the case of structures situated at the anatomic midlines. These include the nasopharynx, pharyngeal wall, base of the tongue, soft palate, and larynx. The lymph nodes of the neck are further classified by level. These levels are Ia, Ib, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X.
Level Ia: Submental Group
Level Ib: Submandibular Group
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When To See A Doctor For Swollen Lymph Nodes On Neck
When is the right time to see a doctor after feeling a swollen lymph node in the neck? Be sure to visit the doctor if your lymph nodes are linked with weight loss, night sweats, and fevers, and there isnt any obvious sign of infection. You should also consider medical help if you were previously treated for an infection, and you have a swollen lymph node in the neck.
What if you had cancer, or were previously treated for a tumor? If you notice a new lymph node in the spot of the cancer, also make the trip to the doctor.
It is a good idea to visit your doctor if your swollen lymph nodes are accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Your swollen lymph nodes glands appear for no clear reason
- They feel rubbery or hard, and they are solid when touched
- They are present or continue to enlarge for two to four weeks
- You also have a sore throat, and difficulty breathing or swallowing
How To Unclog Your Lymph Glands Naturally
To unclog your lymph glands naturally, most might decided to take a visit to the doctor. One very common misconception is that swollen lymph nodes mean cancer. But in reality, swollen lymph glands are usually far from a medical emergency.
Lymph nodes play the very important role of filtering lymph fluid through the body. This means they fight and get rid of all sorts of harmful microorganisms, which keeps the immune system healthy and functional! This also means you definitely dont want your lymph glands to be clogged. They are crucial for a healthy immune system.
If your lymph glands are not in working order, you could be more susceptible to illness and disease. So, yes, clogged lymph glands are cause for discomfort and should be fixed. The good news is that there are plenty of ways for you to free up your lymph nodes with good, old home remedies. In this article, we discuss some ways to unclog your lymph glands naturally!
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Reducing Swelling In The Short Term
Apple Cider Vinegar Can Unclog Your Lymph Glands Naturally
Apple cider vinegar has positive effects on many parts of the body. It helps maintain balanced pH levels. It is known to increases antioxidant enzymes within the body while boosting vitamin content. In fact, this product is so helpful its often known as a cure for everything!
Apple cider vinegars extra antioxidant and antibacterial characteristics also make it a great infection-fighter. It works overtime to clear out those toxins that could be causing clogged lymph glands.
To enjoy this natural lymph gland unclogger, mix an equal ratio of water and raw apple cider vinegar. Dunk some clean cloth into it, soak up the liquid, and gently place onto swollen spots. Leave for five minutes before washing with warm water. Pat the area dry, and do this twice daily.
If youre okay with the taste, you can also mix a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and a bit of raw honey to taste. Mix together well. Drink the mix two times every day.
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Infection Illness Or Disease In The Body Can Cause Swelling
Cancer is the first thing that comes to mind when a person feels a swollen lymph node because it gets the most attention. Below are some of the other illnesses that will cause the neck lymph nodes to swell:
- Chickenpox rash caused by a virus that causes red itchy bumps that fill w/pus and then scab over
- Mononucleosis a virus that causes tiredness, a swollen spleen, and rash
- Strep throat infection of the throat that causes little white bumps
- Lymphoma a type of blood cancer
- MRSA A bacterial Infection
- Tonsillitis infection of the tonsils
- Folliculitis infection of the hair follicle
- Furuncle or boil skin abscess
- Carbuncle a group of boils
Treatment for swollen nodes, there are over the counter medication and at-home remedies that will relieve the symptoms while the body is being treated for the cause of the swelling . In the case of a staph infection that develops into MRSA, prompt treatment will be necessary to avoid a serious life-threatening condition.
MRSA is a type of staph infection so strep throat doesnt turn into it because different bacteria cause it. When there is throat or oral surgery the MRSA infection can enter through a break in the skin.