Living With Lymphoedema

March is Lymphoedema Awareness Month. If you or someone close to you has suffered the effects of cancer or a major physical trauma, you will likely know a fair amount about what Lymphoedema is.  It is a chronic accumulation of protein rich fluid in any part of the body (limbs, trunk, breast, genitalia and head/neck) and is due to an imbalance between fluid production and transport of lymph fluids. Lymphoedema most commonly occurs when lymph nodes have been damaged or removed.  This can happen due to surgery or post radiation therapy and is most often characterised by significant swelling in a body part. When Lymphoedema develops, common symptoms can be; significant swelling due to fluid build-up, heaviness, uncomfortable limbs, tightness, tingling, numbness and a painful ache.

Local Mount Tamborine resident, Taryn Jones is an accredited physiotherapist for Lymphoedema Management and a physiotherapy lecturer at Griffith University. She is passionate about providing local care for lymphoedema sufferers and educating patients about strategies to better manage their condition at home.  “Unfortunately”, Taryn says, “it is not just the physical body that is affected when dealing with these symptoms. After surviving cancer treatment or recovering from major trauma, it can be an emotional struggle to deal with a condition that cannot be cured by medication and that is often seen as a physical burden by sufferers.”

Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to effective long term management. Taryn utilises a range of assessment and treatment skills for the management of lymphoedema.  “A session may involve compression therapy, manual lymphatic drainage, exercise prescription and the sharing of knowledge and education about lymphoedema,” explains Taryn.  “Each physiotherapy session is individually tailored for each client and the extent of the lymphoedema.  The aim of management is to reduce and control swelling, improve the range of movement of the affected area and to prevent infections.”

Neil Bell, director of Physique Physiotherapy in Main Street, is extremely excited to have Taryn offering this service:  “Normally it is extremely rare to find local, specialised help for Lymphoedema.  Taryn is highly qualified and an extremely caring and kind practitioner.  I know that she has been such a help already to many mountain residents.  We consider our community to be so fortunate to have Taryn on the mountain.”

If Lymphoedema has impacted yourself or someone in your life, you can arrange an appointment with Taryn at Physique Physiotherapy.  Taryn will also have a stall at the April school markets and would love to meet you face to face and answer all of your questions. Keep an eye out for the Physique signage and drop in to have a chat. 

As this is Lymphoedema Awareness Month, any patient who books in at Physique to see Taryn will also receive a free self-massage tutorial with their treatment. Don’t suffer any longer, make an appointment and get all your questions answered.