Do your arms feel like they’re constantly swollen? Does it seem like no matter what you do, the swelling in your joints persists? Maybe you slept funny, and now your neck is stiff, or perhaps you overdid it at the gym yesterday, and your thighs are throbbing.
Whatever the cause, joint pain and swelling can be frustrating and downright debilitating. If you’re experiencing edema – excess fluid accumulation in tissues – treatment is available to help relieve the swelling and make your life more comfortable.
What is Edema?
Edema occurs when small blood vessels in your body leak fluid. The fluid seeps out of the blood vessels and into surrounding tissues. Edema can occur anywhere in your body, but it’s most common in the feet, ankles, legs, and hands.
There are two types of edema:
- Pitting Edema – Pressing the skin leaves an indentation that slowly fills back up with fluid.
- Non-Pitting Edema – Pressing the skin does not leave a pit.
Occupational Causes of Edema
Many different occupations can lead to edema. Some of these occupations include:
- Construction Workers – Working with vibrating tools or exerting the legs for long periods can lead to fluid buildup in the legs.
- Nurses and Doctors – Standing for long periods or wearing tight-fitting shoes puts people at risk of developing edema in the feet and ankles.
- Teachers – Constant writing in books and on boards can cause swelling in the hands.
- Office Workers – Sitting in one position constantly, typing or writing can lead to swelling in the hands, wrists, and arms.
Medical Conditions that Cause Edema:
Edema is not restricted to occupational causes. It can also be caused by certain medical conditions, such as:
- Chronic Venous Insufficiency – This condition occurs when the veins have difficulty directing blood back to the heart. It can cause fluid to leak into the surrounding tissues.
- Varicose Veins – These are enlarged veins that often occur in the legs. When the fluids leak out of the veins, it can cause swelling in the legs.
- Heart Issues – When the heart is not pumping blood properly, fluid can build up in the body and cause swelling.
- Kidney Disease – Malfunctioning kidneys result in improper removal of fluids and waste from the body, leading to swelling.
- Pregnancy – The body produces extra fluids during pregnancy, and the woman’s blood vessels dilate. The excess weight of the baby can cause fluid retention and lead to swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.
How Do Cold Compression and Massage Help?
Cold compression and massage are two effective treatments for edema.
Cold compression therapy helps to reduce swelling by constricting blood vessels and reducing fluid buildup. The main idea is to reduce inflammation and pain. Cold compression is often used in conjunction with massage therapy.
Whereas massage therapy can help reduce swelling by promoting lymphatic drainage. Lymphatic drainage is the process of removing excess fluids from the body through the lymph system. If these fluids are not removed, they can build up and cause swelling.
Doctors often recommend a combination of cold compression and massage therapy to reduce the swelling caused by edema. If you are suffering from edema, be sure to talk to your doctor about the best treatment options.
Quality Recovery, serving Charlotte, partners with experienced physicians to bring you our best cold compression program and help you find pain relief and reduce swelling.