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Early Signs & Symptoms of Lymphedema


If you are an at risk person for arm lymphedema there are 
early warning signs you should be aware of. 



If you experience any or several of these symptoms, you should immediately: 

  • Make your Physician aware, and get a referral to a trained Lymphedema Therapist

  • Make an appointment with a Certified Lymphedema Therapist as soon as possible


MLD =  Manual Lymph Drainage                    CDT  =  Complete Decongestive Therapy

CLT = Complex Lymphedema Therapy          CDP = Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy


  1. Unexplained aching, hurting or pain in the arm, armpit or shoulder.

  2. Experiencing "fleeting lymphedema."  This is where the limb may swell, even slightly, and then return to normal.  This may be a precursor to full blown arm lymphedema.      

  3. Localized swelling of any area.  Sometimes lymphedema may start as swelling in one area, for example the hand, or between the elbow and hand.  This is an indication of early lymphatic malfunction.

  4. Any arm inflammation, redness or infection.

  5. You may experience a feeling of tightness, heaviness or weakness of the arm.


Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is a noninvasive treatment that is a considered a standard of care for lymphedema. This method has also been referred to as complete decongestive physiotherapy (CDP), complex lymphedema therapy (CLT), and complex decongestive therapy (CDT). The treatment aim is to reduce and control the amount of swelling in the affected limb and restore function. The objective of the technique is to redirect and enhance the flow of lymph through intact cutaneous lymphatics. Programs are generally provided on an outpatient basis in the office setting or in a lymphedema rehabilitation center or clinic.


If for any reason your physician tells you:

Not to worry 

You are ok

You only had a couple of nodes removed

There is nothing we can do

Just put your arm over your head


DO NOT LISTEN.....Push your Physician for a referral!!

Print the following article and take it to your doctor, this article is written by a physician that has had secondary lymphedema. 


Essential Lymphedema Information for All Health Care Providers:
from a Physician with Secondary Lymphedema


" We are not being disrespectful here, we actually hear these comments from clients who have had to push their doctors for a lymphedema treatment/education appointment with a trained therapist."


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