Helpful Treatments for Swelling

helpful treatments for swelling
helpful treatments for swelling

Many treatments have a positive effect on swelling and even simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference in your quality of life. Your doctor can also suggest treatments that may require a prescription, and help you find the right balance of therapies to relieve your symptoms.

Common treatments for swelling

  • Exercise: Daily exercise can help your lymphatic system work more effectively. Start slowly, and always check with your doctor first.
  • Elevation: When you’re seated or lying down, try elevating the swollen area above the level of your heart to promote circulation.
  • Clothing: Avoid tight or constricting garments, particularly around the swollen area. Make sure your clothes are breathable to prevent moisture from building up on the affected skin.
  • Compression garments: Over-the-counter or prescription compression garments help increase circulation and prevent fluid from pooling in the tissue. Stockings, sleeves, and other garments are commonly available in pharmacies or may be special ordered. Always have a qualified person take your measurements to ensure that your compression garments fit properly.
  • Self-massage: Gently massaging the affected area toward the center of your body can help push excess fluid out of your tissues.
  • In-office therapies: Physical or occupational therapy, massage therapy, and vein therapy are all options to manage swelling, although cost and availability may make this treatment difficult to use on a regular basis.
  • Pneumatic compression devices (PCDs): After placing a PCD garment over the swollen limb, a small pump produces mechanical pressure to simulate massage of that area. This is typically done once daily at home. Because managing swelling needs regular or daily therapy, many patients find PCDs easier and more convenient than in-office treatments.

Use caution

Some remedies can cause harm unless you are under close supervision by a healthcare provider who specializes in chronic swelling, circulatory issues, or vein treatments. Use caution when considering treatments including:

  • Taking over-the-counter or prescription diuretics for longer than two weeks unless prescribed by a specialist who understands your condition
  • Soaking excessively in hot water
  • Bathing with compression garments or bandages on
  • Using perfumed lotions, which can irritate the skin

How to get the most out of your treatment

Because each person’s experience is unique, we recommend that you track your symptoms and treatments so you and your doctor have a complete picture of your condition and can make informed decisions. Tracking this information can help you get the right diagnosis and the right treatment plan in place faster.