Specialist Spotlight: Lymphedema Therapists
Lymphedema is a chronic condition often associated with breast or cervical cancer treatment. However, it can occur in women (and men) who have deep vein thrombosis (DVT), leg ulcers, varicose veins, rheumatoid arthritis, dermatitis, eczema, or infections caused by cellulitis. It happens when your lymphatic system has been damaged or blocked. Fluid builds up in soft body tissues causing swelling usually in the arms, legs, fingers and toes. Some people experience a tight feeling in their skin, have trouble moving a joint, or feel itching or burning in their legs and toes. Others have trouble sleeping or lose hair.
Your doctor may determine that you have lymphedema through a physical exam, CT, ultrasound or MRI. Once diagnosed, he or she may send you to see a lymphedema therapist to reduce the swelling and pain. However, you want to make sure that the person caring for your is a certified lymphedema therapist (CLT) and has the backing of a nationally renowned rehabilitation program such as The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago which has been named the #1 Rehabilitation Hospital in Chicago since 1991.
The Lymphedema Therapists with The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital are all certified have been trained in special massage techniques called Manual Lymphatic Drainage to move the fluid into working lymph nodes to be drained. Not just any masseur can do this. RIC lymphedema therapists have a thorough knowledge of the lymphatic system to perform this delicate treatment. They also teach patients massage techniques they can do on their own to keep the pain and swelling from reoccurring.
All three Lymphedema therapists with RIC at Silver Cross also know how to correctly apply bandages and compression garments to support the muscles and encourage them to move fluid out of the affected body part. This Multilayer Lymphedema Bandaging takes place after Manual Lymphatic Drainage to stop the fluid from building up again.
They also develop personalized exercise plans for patients focusing on gentle muscle contractions to encourage the movement of the lymph fluid out of the limb. Patients are also taught how to prevent and check for skin infections.
If you or someone you know is living with lymphedema, call (815) 300-7110 to schedule an appointment with one of RIC at Silver Cross Hospital’s lymphedema therapists. You will need a doctor’s order.
Meet Our Lymphedema Therapists
Temi Asein, PT, CLT/LANA – A Certified Lymphedema Therapist, Temi has also passed the rigorous Lymphology Association of North America (LANA) certification. She specializes in the treatment of lymphedema and cancer.and offers therapeutic exercise, neuro-muscular re-education, manual therapy, manual lymphatic drainage, and compression bandaging for lymphedema.
Anna Kopacz, PTA, CLT- Anna specializes in the treatment of lymphedema and cancer including therapeutic exercise, neuro-muscular re-education, manual therapy, manual lymphatic drainage, and compression bandaging for lymphedema.
Lauren Mansell, PT, CLT, CYT – Her specialties include women’s and men’s pelvic health as well as lymphedema treatment and yoga for cancer survivors. Lymphedema treatment interventions Lauren provides include manual lymphatic drainage and compression bandaging for lymphedema.