Chronic Pain Management

As Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a very gentle technique acting on a number physiological systems in the body, it can prove effective at addressing chronic pain in a number of ways.

The autonomic nervous system of the body is divided into two categories the sympathetic system and the parasympathetic system. The sympathetic system increases heart rate, constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure. The parasympathetic system innervates smooth muscles in the body, slows the heart rate, increases vessel and glandular activity, and controls sphincter muscles in the body. Both systems where thought at one time not to be under our conscious control.

The gentle, rhythmical nature of MLD reduces sympathetic nervous activity allowing the parasympathetic system to pre-dominate.   Many of the chronic pain states, such as fibromyalgia, are thought to be caused by a ‘sympathetically maintained pain state’ due to an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system. Therefore, a technique such as MLD that encourages reduced sympathetic activity may actually allow the system to re-balance and positively influence the chronic pain state.

MLD is also effective in reducing the presence of inflammatory agents in soft tissue, due to stimulating lymph flow from the region. Some studies have shown that inflammatory agents, such as cytokines and prostaglandins can continue to be produced long after the initial trauma is passed.   Stimulation of the lymph system can assist in removing these agents from the tissues thereby reducing inflammation and relieving pain. Removal of the inflammatory agents can also reduce localized edema, this further relieves pain and possibly accelerates healing.

Absolute & Relative Contra-Indications

 Contra-indications are conditions or factors that serve as a reason to withhold a certain medical treatment. Due to the effectiveness of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) in accelerating lymph flow there are a number of health concerns that do not allow individuals to receive MLD.   If you are experiencing any of the following situations please discuss these with a therapist prior to receiving any treatment:

  • Untreated Malignant Diseases
  • Acute Inflammations
  • Recent Thrombosis
  • Cardiac Insufficiency
  • Renal Failure