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Aching hand

Hi all, I just wondered if anyone had experienced hand and arm ache as a result of self massage? My lymphoedema is bilateral lower limb and I have been trying to carry out my massages twice daily in an attempt to stop the swelling getting bigger (as advised by the nurse) but my hand and arm aches a lot during the massage but now it's getting to the point where the aching doesn't subside and my hand and arm feels weak and useless. I just wondered if anyone else had experienced this and had any suggestions to improve it?

Thanks in advance!

7 Replies

Hi Angelil

I also have bilateral lower limb LE and do SLD twice daily. Can you learn to use your other hand so that you don't have to rely on only one hand? I have MLD with a therapist 1-2 times weekly which also gives me a break on those days from doing it myself. You can look for a qualified therapist near you on the site

Also , it's very important before and after you do SLD to drain your trunk in order to give the lymph drawn up from your legs a place to fill and drain into your thoracic duct. Perhaps you already do this but if not here is a good instcutional video (2 part video) on how to do lymphatic abdomal breathing/trunk drain


Are you being too enthusiastic? Could you do SLD in the morning before donning garments, then again in the evening, but use this session to apply cream, so using less pressure?


Thank you for your replies. I have started to incorporate trunk massage into my routine as at my last appointment the nurse moisture metered my stomach and I was holding a lot of fluid there too (I just thought I was getting fat due to being less mobile). The trunk massage along with an effort to massage twice daily has lead to a massive improvement around the hips and abdomen and left thigh (but not the right thigh unfortunately 😠) but the extra massage is affecting my hand and arm! I couldn't do my massage last night and this morning due to my arm and my right knee is swollen this morning (I dont often have swelling below the thigh), it just feels a bit like one step forward, two steps back at the moment!

I am going to try and use my left hand more though and utilise my husband a bit more to see if I can help my right hand out. I don't use a massage therapist as I only work part time as I have 3 young children and money doesn't stretch that far! Thank you for your suggestions.


Have you tried using a stress ball? Rather rubbery and a bit smaller than a tennis ball. If you do an internet search for "stress balls" plenty come up. Also the Lymphoedema Support Network sell them, details on their website. My lymphoedema is in my legs and I don't do MLD but I find squeezing a stress ball good if my hands are a bit iffy after lots of embroidery (or line dancing - for some strange reason!).


Thanks for the tip, I'll def give it a go!

1 like

I use a long arm bath brush, mainly because I can't reach my feet. This might give your arms a rest though.

I have one with interchangeable heads - a brush and knobbly bits. I use the knobbly head the most as the brush can make my skin a bit sore. I got mine from Amazon


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