What can be done about lymphedema pain?


Question from Myra: Apart from managing lymphedema, what can be done about the pain?
Answers - Michelle Rhiner The most important thing is to be involved with a lymphedema clinic so that this can be managed with the appropriate dressings and compression sleeves. That in and of itself can provide a great deal of comfort, especially when there's a hypersensitivity to the skin. Physical therapists and occupational therapists with an interest in lymphedema can be helpful.
Neal Slatkin Occasionally, the arm pain may be due to other causes. For example, in women with significant lymphedema of the arm, there is a higher incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome, and it is worth at least considering that problem in any woman with lymphedema and hand, arm, or even shoulder area pain.

It's also very important to consider that the arm pain may not be directly caused by the lymphedema, but rather by some other problem, either of the nerves or of the bones. For any woman who has had lymphedema for a long period of time without pain, and then suddenly, or over a short period of time, experiences new pain, further diagnostic testing is warranted and must be done.

On Wednesday, January 21, 2004, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Pain Management: Getting the Relief YOU Need. Neal Slatkin, M.D., Michelle Rhiner, N.P. and moderator Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. answered your questions about the best ways to deal with the physical pain and discomforts associated with breast cancer and breast cancer treatment.

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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