What Are The Exercises For Lymphedema?

What Are The Exercises For Lymphedema?

There are several exercises that you could to do improve lymphedema. The forward flow of lymph is due to the pressure gradient created by the muscle contractions & respiratory movements. Therefore, exercises help to move the lymph fluid & reduce lymphedema. Lymphedema occurs mainly in the extremities, but it can occur in the head & neck as well.

If this is the first time you are going to do exercises, walking can be a good way to start. Start slowly & gradually increase the distance & the pace. You also can do cycling, swimming or yoga. You can also do the following exercises in your walking session. Try to do these exercises every day.

Deep Breathing Exercises For Lymphedema

Deep breathing exercise for lymphedema helps the lymph to flow in the lymphatic system towards the neck & drain to the venous system. It helps lymphedema in any part of the body. Before doing neck, upper limb & lower limb exercise first do the breathing exercises.

  • These breathing exercise should be done while sitting up in a chair or in bed or lying down in the bed
  • Relax the shoulders & upper chest.
  • Rest one of your hands on your stomach.
  • Take a slow, deep, comfortable breath in through your nose, feeling your hand rise as your stomach rises.
  • Then, slowly breathe out through your mouth, so your stomach is flat again.
  • Do this 5 times.
  • Before Exercises.

If you have a compression sleeve wear it when you are doing arm or leg exercises.

Do the lymphedema exercises in the following order which will help you to remember the exercises from head to toe. Try to repeat each exercise 5 to 10 times. If you feel any pain, stop the exercises & if it the pain doesn’t go away consult a doctor.

Neck Exercises For Lymphedema

  • Tilting neck exercise for lymphedema – tilt your head toward one shoulder, wait like that for 3 seconds then bring your head back to the center & repeat the same thing on the other side.
  • Turning – turn your head to look over your shoulder as far as you can, wait for 3 seconds then face forward & repeat the same thing on the other side. Turn only your head not the body.
  • Chin to chest – bend your neck down as far as you can comfortable until your chin is on your chest, wait for 2 seconds & then slowly rise your head up.

Shoulder Exercises For Lymphedema

  • Relax the shoulders, bring them up to your ears, relax & drop them down.
  • Rotate your shoulder forward then backwards.

Arm Exercises For Lymphedema

  • Sit comfortably in a chair then with your hands touch your knees then touch your shoulders & lift your arms as much as possible without pain, touch your shoulders & then your knees.
  • Exercise with a ball – pass a ball around the waist, one way & then the other.

Wrist Exercises For Lymphedema

  • Rest your arm on a cushion with your hand hanging off the end. Bend your wrist down & you will feel a stretch, hold for 5 seconds & slowly relax. Then, bend your wrist up & you will feel a stretch again & hold it for 5 seconds & then relax.
  • Then, turn your wrist in clockwise circles then in anticlockwise circles.

Hand Exercises For Lymphedema

  • Clench your hands & make a fist then spread out your fingers
  • Use your thumb to touch each finger one at a time. Gradually increase the pace.
  • Bend your fingers at the knuckles with your fingers straight.
  • Hold your hand out with fingers together then spread your fingers out, then close your fingers together again.

Leg Exercises For Lymphedema

  • Curl your toes up & then stretch them out.
  • With your heel on the floor point your toes away from you then pull your toes towards your chin.
  • Lift your foot off the floor. Then circle your ankle clockwise, then anticlockwise.
  • Lift your foot off the floor then straighten & bend your leg.
  • Marching exercise for lymphedema – you can march on the spot or do this sitting down, lift one knee & then put it down, then lift the other knee & put it down.
  • Hip & knee bends – lie on your back, then lift one leg up bending your knee in towards your body then slowly stretch it out & back down, repeat with the other leg
  • Leg cycles – lie on your back, raise your legs up one at a time & cycle them in the air.
  • Ankle raises – stand up holding on to a firm surface, raise your heels off the floor so you feel a squeeze in your calf muscles, relax down so your feet are flat on the floor then repeat.

Summary

There are several exercise that you could to do improve lymphedema. The forward flow of lymph is due to the pressure gradient created by the muscle contractions & respiratory movements. Therefore, exercises help to move the lymph fluid & reduce lymphedema. Lymphedema occurs mainly in the extremities but it can occur in the head & neck as well.

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