The lymphatic system is a vital part of the immune system. It includes organs such as the thymus, bone marrow, spleen, tonsils, appendix, and Peyer patches in the small intestine that produce and process specialized white blood cells that fight infection and cancer.
Obstruction in the lymphatic system leads to an accumulation of fluid (lymphedema). Obstruction may result from scar tissue that develops when the lymph vessels or nodes are damaged or removed during surgery, by radiation therapy, by injury, or in tropical countries, by infection with a threadworm (filariasis) that blocks the lymphatic ducts.
Infection: Infection may cause swollen lymph nodes because the lymph nodes are inflamed. Sometimes the lymph nodes themselves may become infected (lymphadenitis) by organisms that spread through the lymphatic system from the original site of infection.
Infection may cause swollen lymph nodes because the lymph nodes are inflamed. Sometimes the lymph nodes themselves may become infected (lymphadenitis) by organisms that spread through the lymphatic system from the original site of infection.
White blood cell cancers such as lymphoma can develop in lymph nodes, and tumors in other organs may spread (metastasize) to lymph nodes near a tumor. Cancers in lymph nodes can interfere with the flow of lymphatic fluid through the node.
Conditions that benefit from lymphatic drainage are
Rheumatoid arthritis: This is ongoing arthritis in your joints causing joint pain, swelling and stiffness
Fibromyalgia: This condition causes chronic muscle and joint pain
Chronic venous insufficiency: This happens when your leg veins aren't working effectively, making it hard for your blood to return to your heart from your legs
Lipedema: This happens when excess fat accumulates in your lower body, blocking your lymphatic pathway and causing lymph edema
Resistance to weight loss
Treatment of lymphedema typically involves measures to relieve the lymph fluid build-up in a limb. These may include
Manual lymphatic drainage Lymphatic drainage is a form of massage used to relieve painful swelling in arms and legs caused by lymph edema. Lymph edema often affects people recovering from breast cancer surgery:
Compression bandages or stocking
Limb massage with intermittent pneumatic compression stockings or sleeves