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Conditions

Whiplash.

This is an acceleration-deceleration condition that often involves torn tissue to some degree: muscles, ligaments, and/ or joint capsules. Other structures can get injured, but damage to any or all of these above structures can lead to swelling in the tissue, often significant. The neck has multiple layers of connective tissue and fascia, and swelling often gets trapped in these layers. If you are experiencing a ‘tight’ neck following a collision, and it is difficult to feel the individual muscles, much of this tightness may be due to deep swelling in the neck. Deep tissue massage will aggravate your neck at this stage. Lymphatic drainage will promote recovery, decrease pain, increase neck movement, increase ease of movement and can help decrease headaches that may be related to cervical edema. Clinically, I have seen 20 patients in the last year that were in car accidents in speeds of 30 mph or greater. They all presented with the above conditions and most of the swelling resolved in 3 sessions, depending on the force of the impact. Left untreated, this swelling may ‘linger’ for weeks more than necessary.


Contusions.

Bruising to your body is often painful. A bruise, or ecchymosis, is a collection of blood in a confined area. Blood that spills into the tissue has a high protein content that will attract further fluid to the region (secondary edema). If widespread or deep enough, this bruising can last weeks and months. Long standing bruised tissue can result in adhesions due to the increased connective tissue fibers becoming bound. Early injury care can minimize this and can play a role in creating soft pliable scar tissue, helping to optimize recovery.


Burns.

Burns can be debilitative and painful. Lymphatic drainage can be supportive in this rehabilitation without touching the site (barring the neck). Creating a pressure differential that increases the flow of excess fluid is done proximally to the site of injury. The burn area or region benefits from decreasing the swelling without externally disturbing the region. As fluid is transported from the area, pressure on the pain receptors can decrease, reducing the pain. This will help facilitate tissue recovery. For example, if a hand gets burned, the technique sequence for supporting the hand would be as follows: working the neck (start the siphon), mobilize the lymph nodes under the arm, continue the technique to the arm and forearm. No need to touch the burn area or even the wrist.


Surgeries.

Swelling is a part of many surgical processes. We want to get back on our feet as soon as we can and these techniques are excellent at optimizing your recovery time.

  • Plastic surgery is an outstanding candidate for this work. Lymphatic techniques can dramatically effect widespread bruising in a few sessions.
  • Joint replacement surgeries, such as knees and hips, can take months in the rehabilitation process as can foot surgeries. Lymphatic techniques are excellent at decreasing this kind of swelling. They are an excellent adjunct to physical therapy and other rehabilitative therapies.
  • Fractures can result in a casted extremity. These techniques can decrease the swelling INSIDE a cast by working above it. Lymphatic drainage functions as a siphon, therefore, by increasing the siphon potential above the cast, it will decrease the swelling in that particular extremity.

Dental Surgery.

No one enjoys dental surgery. Lymphatic techniques can be supportive in moving out this swelling quickly, assisting in decreased pain and pressure. Some clients have received this work just before surgery, increasing the body’s natural draining capacity for the surgical procedure. Remember that once the lymphatic system has been ‘ramped up’, as in a 60-minute session, it generally takes 4-5 hours for it to return to its normal resting rate. Receiving a treatment right before getting into the dental chair will help minimize the swelling during the event. In addition, having the mouth open for so long can effect the proprioception of some of the mastication muscles. Release and balancing of the pterygoids, for example, and other muscles can go a long ways in decreasing mouth ache and/ or jaw pain following extended mouth work. If you have a few dental sessions lined up in a row, consider receiving some mouth release. If you have never had it, you may be surprised how much tension can be held here.


Sprains.

Sprains involve the overstretching and tearing of ligaments attaching bone to bone. Most of us are familiar with ‘bad’ ankle sprains and how they swell up like melons. These techniques are excellent for ankle sprains and all sprains. Ligaments generally receive less blood than muscular tissue and so can take longer to recover. Optimizing the recovery by reducing swelling can be very helpful.

Bursitis.

This is inflammation of a fluid-filled sac (bursa) that lies between a tendon and skin, or between a tendon and bone. Bursae help minimize wear and friction between two structures in the body that rub against each other. These sacs are tough and fluid does not move in and out easily. Impacting a bursae or falling on one can result in bursitis. Tight connective tissue can lead to bursitis too, for example, a very tight IT band. Clinically, lymphatic techniques have not had much direct impact on the bursitis per se. However, many cases present with swollen and irritated tissue around the area. Decreasing that swelling can help alleviate regional discomfort and pain. With the reduced swelling the muscles often become less tender, allowing massage techniques to decrease imbalanced muscle tensions, helping to decrease bursitis aggravation.


Chronic Conditions.

Many of us have managed chronic or reoccurring injuries from time to time. Sometimes these injuries can become ‘acute’, that is, they can develop inflammation and swelling. It is important to recognize this and to give such injuries the proper care to allow them to progress through a full healing cycle. Chronic injuries often present if a former injury never fully resolved. Both lymphatic and craniosacral techniques can be useful tools in helping to normalize tissue conditions and help you return to health.