Article by: Nicole Madigan | HealthTimes
The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) has joined the Australian Lymphology Association in calling for change of government funding for the early access to specialist lymphoedema physiotherapy treatment.
The funding would have a positive impact on thousands of people, with around 1 in 6000 Australians born with lymphoedema, and around 20% of cancer patients developing the condition due to treatment side effects.
Lymphoedema is the accumulation of fluid in the body which causes uncomfortable swelling, impaired mobility and recurrent infections. It most frequently affects the arms and legs, but can also be found in the groin, head and neck regions.
Primary lymphoedema is a congenital condition in which the lymphatic vessels and nodes are not fully formed, while secondary lymphoedema occurs after damage to the lymphatic system, such as trauma, surgery or radiation therapy. The condition is chronic and requires ongoing monitoring and self-management supported by qualified health professionals.
Elise Gane, the National Chair of the APA Cancer, Lymphoedema and Palliative Care group, says that providing federal funding and early access to specialist lymphoedema physiotherapy treatment is essential to reduce the significant personal impact and wider socio-economic burden of this condition.
“Physiotherapy takes a biopsychosocial approach to managing lymphoedema - our treatment programs aim to address symptoms, such as pain, to reduce and then stabilise the volume of swelling, to facilitate exercise and physical, and to support patients and their families to manage the emotional side effects of having lymphoedema, which may be present alongside other diagnoses such as genetic conditions or cancer.”
The primary form of treatment is complex decongestive physiotherapy, which uses manual lymphatic drainage (a specialist form of massage) to shift lymph fluid and compression bandaging to reduce the size of the swollen area.
“With regular treatments, the volume of the swelling reduces and stabilises, to a point at which a compression garment can be prescribed."
Our physiotherapists specialise in Lymphoedema physiotherapy treatments. Call us at 9793 3119 to book an appointment today!