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Managing Lymphedema - Physical Therapy

In 2005, Rose Jones was diagnosed with breast cancer. Five years later, she started experiencing symptoms of lymphedema. “It’s something that if you don’t deal with, it’s very painful. Until you can get the relief and the lymphatic area moving and draining the fluid, you have no relief. It will get worse. It doesn’t clear up; it does get worse,” she said. When lymph nodes are removed during surgery, it can disrupt the lymphatic system causing lymphedema. Patients may experience pain and swelling in the area where the lymph nodes were removed. “Unfortunately, when someone develops lymphedema, it is a lifelong condition. However, it can be managed with lymphedema treatment,” explained Caroline Spatz, a physical therapist with Lee Health. Spatz works with patients to help them manage their symptoms. “We’re trying to basically stimulate the lymphatic system from areas that have not been affected. We are kind of moving the fluid from one area to another,” she said. Rose receives weekly treatments with Caroline at the Outpatient Rehabilitation Center at Cape Coral Hospital. “They know more about the drainage and how the fluid needs to run, so I try to get in as often as I can,” she said. Caroline also teaches patients daily exercises to help manage the symptoms. “It’s very therapeutic. It’s very gentle,” said Spatz. Preventing pain and empowering patients to manage lymphedema. View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/ Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit LeeHealth.org