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Topic: Long hours driving causing swelling?

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: Aug 29, 2006 03:39PM

moogie wrote:

I'm 14 weeks out from bilat. Just started driving the 2.5-3 hour daily commute to work. Noticed my arm getting heavier and mushy. Went to a rehab doctor....who found fluid in my arm and trunk. ANyone else have this reaction to lots of daily driving? I do 130 miles to my job daily....and am worried. WIll begin therapy, and probably wear sleeve to drive. The driving is really rough with the nerve pain, and this is just the kicker!!!
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Aug 29, 2006 04:31PM NPat wrote:

So sorry you are having this problem. Driving may or may not be the trigger for the swelling which sounds like LE. You are doing the right thing by going to therapy... it is with a CERTIFIED LE therapist... right? The reason we are sooo picky about seeing a certified therapist is that they are specially trained to treat LE.

Ask your PCP or rehab doc for a prophylactic Rx for an antibiotic in the event you develop an infection in that arm on a weekend or when OOT. Events that can trigger swelling... lifting, pushing, pulling, bites, hangnails, burns, scrapes, blood draws, BP's on that hand or arm.

Do not wear underwire bras or any garment that is tight across the midriff... these can block lymph flow in the trunk. I have hand/arm/truncal LE and wear compression garments faithfully.

There are meds to reduce the nerve pain that are not pain pills per se... speak with your docs. With all that driving, you can't be sleepy.

Keep posting! Let us hear from you!

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Aug 29, 2006 04:49PM Binney4 wrote:

It's the kicker, all right -- I'm so sorry, moogie. Definitely I find long drives aggravate the lymphedema (LE). Good for you for jumping right on it and getting yourself into therapy. Don't know where you live, or if your drive involves a change of altitude, but I can't leave the Valley here in central AZ without wrapping my arms, because the drive PLUS the altitude change really wreaks havoc.

Therapy involves massage and wrapping for whatever period of time it takes to move the fluid out. Then you'll be fitted for a sleeve (and glove) and will need to wear them not only for the drive but for whatever activities cause you to swell. For some of us that's all day every day, for others there's a bit more leeway.

I'm not sure what you mean by nerve pain, but when I have fluid in my chest it's very painful, and the therapy is an effective cure for that, because the swelling puts pressure on the nerves in the area. I sure hope you have the same experience.

Make sure you find a therapist who's well qualified (at least 135 hours of specifically LE training beyond her/his OT or PT training, and at least a year's supervised experience treating LE) and knows how to treat the truncal LE as well as the arm.

Moogie, we'll be thinking of you, so please let us know how it goes and how we can help.

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Aug 30, 2006 06:37AM andys wrote:

Hi Moogie,
I agree with the others; I've noticed that my arm gets heavy if I am doing long distance driving. I think it's holding the arm in the same position for a long time. So, with your long commute, wearing the sleeve/glove will be a must. Also, ask the therapist to show you some isometric type exercises that you can do while driving that won't endanger you - just squeezing/relaxing the muscles may help. Good luck.
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Sep 1, 2006 10:19AM theres126-2006Apr11 wrote:

Yikes - I have a long commute as well, but don't (knock on wood) have any lymphedema symptoms as yet. (haven't started back to work, but will be next week) I had a sentinel node biopsy, so I know I'm still at risk, though maybe to a lesser extent than if I had the axillary node disection.

Do you think I need the sleeve and glove while driving, if I have no symptoms?

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Sep 2, 2006 07:03AM moogie wrote:

Since I first posted I have gone to a rehab doctor to assess me. I just had sentinel nodes removed-5. I am super -puffy on my sides and my one arm is puffy. She is sending me to the clinic for massage training, wrapping training, and a little work to get some fluid moving. I am sure that the 3 hour drive to/from work aggravated this problem, and that maybe I took on too much too soon. Am going to rest this weekend, elevate my arm, and take advantage of the extra day off on Monday.

To Binney: thanks for all your postings!!!! They really chill me out on this issue. I'll just do what I gotta do to keep this under control...........
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Sep 2, 2006 07:51AM Binney4 wrote:

Sounds just right, moogie -- you'll be on top of it quickly. It is a bit of a learning curve, so if you can take someone along with you to write notes and help you remember the steps (or better, videotape -- Andy always reminds us to videotape the bandaging routine from behind you, over your shoulder, since that's the view you'll have of your arm when you're trying to do it yourself at home), that may spare you a few of those throw-the-bandages-across-the-room sessions that some of us have had.

I love your spirit! Keep us posted -- the GOOD part about this little bc side trip is the company we keep here with our "lympher" sisters. Let us know how we can help.


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