Exercises to help lymphedema? Wear compression garment forever?

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Question from Kay: I developed lymphedema in my left arm and my left breast (trunk area). Are there any exercises that I should be doing on a regular basis? Do I need to wear my Belisse compression bra for the rest of my life, as well as the arm sleeve? What precautions do I need to be aware of? Thank you and God bless!
Answers - Nicole Stout I think the precautions have been well outlined up to this point, as far as precaution with activity and exercise, lifting, etc. Indeed, there's no restriction; you just need to be cautious about completing those activities to the best of your abilities. As far as wearing compression garments for the rest of one's life, I think that is different for every patient. You will probably need some degree of compression on the chest wall. It's hard to say if that's every day, all day, and the same goes for the arm sleeve. I think everyone is different and as we learn our limbs, we learn our breasts also, and how much compression we need to maintain the swelling to a degree that's comfortable for us.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Preventing and Treating Arm Lymphedema featured Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.M.,Nicole Stout, M.P.T. C.L.T.-L.A.N.A., and moderator Jennifer Sabol, M.D., F.A.S.C. answering your questions about ways to prevent and manage lymphedema.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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