How Lymph relates to Pain and Swelling

By Lakeview Physio
Dr. Gayle Maguire
BSc, ND, Acupuncture, Prolotherapy, Craniosacral Therapy
May 21, 2021

Lymph has a strong role in helping our bodies detoxify and fight disease.

How Lymph relates to Pain and Swelling

Many times patients dealing with chronic inflammation, poor circulation, or recovering from events like illness or surgery, might find that lymph health becomes a topic of discussion with their healthcare provider.  It can be an obstacle to healing and requires special attention.  

With my patients, I describe lymph as it relates to our blood system.  Our arteries and veins are like the city streets; the run-off underground is the lymphatic system.  It cleans our bloodstream and carries away waste products.  In this way, lymph has a strong role in helping our bodies detoxify and fight disease.

Lymph also helps carry good things, like fat from our food, and helps maintain fluid levels in our bodies.  This can often be implicated in conditions of water retention or swelling. Despite such a wide variety of roles, lymph does not seem to get the attention it deserves.

How do I know if my lymphatic system needs support?

There are few laboratory or diagnostic tools, so your medical or naturopathic doctor can examine your lymph nodes and assess for signs of swelling.  In naturopathic medicine, we often look for symptoms of imbalance that might lead us to believe lymph needs support, such as your medical history, signs of swelling, poor circulation or immunity, or skin conditions.  

How do I improve my lymph?

First talk to your healthcare provider to ensure lymph work is appropriate for you.  Many lymph treatments circulate lymph back to the core, which can be too much for those with medical conditions like heart or kidney disease.  Due to its strong connection to circulation, anything that improves blood circulation, such as exercise, can help lymph circulation too.  Your naturopathic doctor may also discuss herbal medicines or treatments like hydrotherapy to improve your lymphatic system.

How might improving my lymphatic system help me?

Many patients report their pain and swelling decrease, while energy and immunity improve.  Often patients feel lighter and may experience a small weight loss.  Skin conditions can often improve with lymphatic support, and sometimes menstrual symptoms.  Many lymphatic treatments are mild and tolerated well.  Talk to your medical or naturopathic doctor for more information.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only, and not intended or implied to substitute medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Always talk to your doctor about any questions you may have regarding your health.


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