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- Manual Lymphatic Drainage
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- The Science behind Manual Lymph Drainage in the Treatment of Lymphedema
- Hi-Tech C PRO Compiler for the PIC10/12/16 MCU Families Part 1
- Manual Lymph Drainage (Vodder Technique)
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Manual therapists question integrating manual lymphatic drainage techniques MLDTs into conventional treatments for athletic injuries due to the scarcity of literature concerning musculoskeletal applications and established orthopaedic clinical practice guidelines. The purpose of this systematic review is to provide manual therapy clinicians with pertinent information regarding progression of MLDTs as well as to critique the evidence for efficacy of this method in sports medicine.
We selected articles investigating the effects of MLDTs on orthopaedic and athletic injury outcomes. Nine articles met inclusion criteria, of which 3 were randomized controlled trials RCTs. Due to differences in experimental design, data could not be collapsed for meta-analysis.
Animal model experiments reinforce theoretical principles for application of MLDTs. When combined with concomitant musculoskeletal therapy, pilot and case studies demonstrate MLDT effectiveness. The best evidence suggests that efficacy of MLDT in sports medicine and rehabilitation is specific to resolution of enzyme serum levels associated with acute skeletal muscle cell damage as well as reduction of edema following acute ankle joint sprain and radial wrist fracture.
Currently, there is limited high-ranking evidence available.
Well-designed RCTs assessing outcome variables following implementation of MLDTs in treating athletic injuries may provide conclusive evidence for establishing applicable clinical practice guidelines in sports medicine and rehabilitation.
Manual lymphatic drainage techniques MLDTs are unique manual therapy interventions that may be incorporated by medical practitioners as well as allied health clinicians into rehabilitation paradigms for the treatment of somatic dysfunctions and pathologies 1 — 5. The theoretical bases for using such modes of manual therapy are founded on the following concepts: 1 stimulating the lymphatic system via an increase in lymph circulation, 2 expediting the removal of biochemical wastes from body tissues, 3 enhancing body fluid dynamics, thereby facilitating edema reduction, and 4 decreasing sympathetic nervous system responses while increasing parasympathetic nervous tone yielding a non-stressed body-framework state 5.
The physiological and biomechanical effects of MLDTs on lymphatic system dynamics in treating ill or injured patients have long been of interest to osteopathic, allied health, complementary, and alternative medicine practitioners 5 , 6 although it was not until the 19 th century that researchers began to theorize concepts regarding direct influences of human movement and manual inerventions, predominantely massage, on the lymphatic system 1.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Subsequent clinical scientists focused their efforts on advancing investigations on the biodynamic properties of the lymphatic system from which treatment interventions were developed for therapeutic purposes 1 , 3. Still's appreciation for the complexities of lymphatic system functionality influenced many of the ensuing pracitioners who evolved this body of work. Elmer D Barber, DO, a student at Still's American School of Osteopathy, was the first author to publish works on manual lymphatic pump techniques for the spleen, in 1.
Another pupil of Still's philosophies, Earl Miller, DO, instituted the manual thoracic pump technique in 1. Vodder focused his clinical research on gaining further insight into the treatment of various pathologies by manipulating the lymphatic system 1 , 7.
In his work with individuals afflicted by various health ailments, Vodder reported successful treatment results using his manual lymph drainage technique throughout the s 1 , 7. Vodder's treatment approach was similar to popular modes of Scandinavian massage therapies for that time period but it differed in that heavy pressure was discouraged and a light touch was substituted 1 , 5 , 7.
This has led to the advent of the current Vodder Method, which is used by various healthcare professionals in treating several edematous conditions 1 , 7.
Numerous other medical and allied health professionals, such as Bruno Chikly, MD, DO, have contributed to progressing the art and science of MLDTs, most notably with managing post-lymphadenectomy lymphoedema.
In contrast, the currently proposed criteria for successful management of most acute or chronic edematous conditions in allopathic-based orthopaedic sports medicine and rehabilitation have traditionally implemented cryotherapy, elevation, compressive dressings, suitable range-of-motion exercises, and applicable therapeutic modalities 2 , 8.
This commonly prescribed standard of care for injury to musculoskeletal tissues is often supplemented with bouts of oral anti-inflammatory analgesic medications 2 , 8.
The Science behind Manual Lymph Drainage in the Treatment of Lymphedema
These medications typically constitute non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs 2 , 5 , 8 , which have been the subject of increasing scrutiny and caution with the recent discovery of occasionally fatal side-effects. Evidence-based practice is a common agenda in medical and allied health sciences, which serves to optimize rendering of health care services through the investigation of treatment interventions that yield positive patient outcomes for establishing clinical practice guidelines 9 , Use of MLDTs to improve functionality and maintain homeostasis of the lymphatic system is a topic that warrants critical appraisal for determining efficacy in sports medicine and rehabilitation.
Hence, it is the purpose of this systematic review to present manual therapy clinicians with a synopsis of the history, theory, and application of MLDTs as well as to discuss current evidence that scrutinizes its efficacy in sports medicine.
This helps encourage drainage of the fluid and waste through the appropriate channels. Manual lymph drainage techniques reviewed included the Vodder Method and various lymphatic pumps, which demonstrate anatomical and physiological rationale supported by empirical evidence. Specialized concepts such as reflexology, craniosacral technique, and manual lymphatic mapping were not included due to the scarcity of reliable and valid evidence supporting these interventions.
A comprehensive survey of recent scientific articles in suitable peer-reviewed journals published between and was conducted.
The keywords consistently used were lymphatic system , lymph drainage , lymphatic therapy , manual lymph drainage, and lymphatic pump techniques.
Hi-Tech C PRO Compiler for the PIC10/12/16 MCU Families Part 1
We screened the titles of all retrieved hits and identified potentially relevant articles by analyzing associated abstracts. Entire articles were obtained if we deemed the research study satisfied inclusion criteria.
Additional publications were identified through manual searches of cited references for related articles retrieved.
Manual Lymph Drainage (Vodder Technique)
Inclusion criteria consisted of scientific publications that were complete articles with sufficient detail to extract the focal attributes of the research studies. Articles were eligible for inclusion in the critical appraisal if they were categorized as systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials RCTs , or cohort studies.
Due to limited applicable original research studies, pragmatic pilot and case studies pertinent to musculoskeletal health as well as innovative animal-model experiments were also included. Patients enrolled in the research studies had to have suffered from medically diagnosed musculoskeletal ailments, which included bone fracture, acute ankle sprain, fibromyalgia, orthopaedic trauma, and Bell's palsy. Healthy humans participating in research studies that experimentally induced acute skeletal muscle damage following standardized exercise were also included.
Furthermore, all research studies included in this systematic review used reliable measurement tools employed in the biomedical, health, and rehabilitation sciences. Articles published in languages other than English or prior to were excluded. Research studies investigating therapies such as reflexology, craniosacral technique, and manual lymphatic mapping were also omitted.
With the focus of this systematic review specific to treating orthopaedic and athletic injuries, investigations directed towards management of other somatic dysfunctions or pathologies, such as cancer and lymphoedema, were eliminated.
More than titles were identified with the primary search in defined databases. However, the majority of the publications analyzed did not investigate the effects of MLDTs on musculoskeletal conditions in laboratory settings or clinical trials. Diverse modes of MLDTs and outcome measurement tools were noted in the research studies.
Three relevant human-subject research studies were selected for critical appraisal. One research study was classified as a RCT 11 ; it experimentally induced acute skeletal muscle damage after a standardized exercise protocol.
The control group in this experiment 11 received no treatment. In this instance, the MLDT group's contralateral extremity served as an internal non-treatment control and differences in bilateral limb volume were compared against a group who received the standard of care for a similar injury A prospective randomized controlled nonconsecutive clinical trial 2 was also identified assessing acute ankle sprains. In this research study, comparisons were made to a control group of participants who had sustained a similar injury and received the standard of care 2.
All of the research studies lost two points as the result of not blinding the participants receiving and the therapists administering the MLDT treatments.
However, it is inherent in manual therapy investigations that blinding is compromised because the patient perceives the intervention during treatment.
Likewise, it is difficult for a manual therapist to administer a sham or placebo intervention without being cognizant of such during treatment. A pilot study evaluating the effect of MLDTs on fibromyalgia was also included Furthermore, two multimodal case studies were chosen pertaining to traumatic musculoskeletal injury 4 and neuromuscular pathology Three patient animal-model experiments 15 — 17 were also included as they represented innovative basic science investigations in the theoretical domain of proposed MLDT biomechanisms.
Modern anatomists, physiologists, and medical practitioners consider the lymphatic system the crux of regulating homeostasis in the human organism 1 , 3 , 5 , 6.
Appropriate lymph dynamics are fundamental to an adequate immune system as well as facilitating cellular processes and by-product elimination 2 , 3 , 6. However, congestion of the lymphatic system may arise as the result of various intrinsic and extrinsic factors, which include restricted hemodynamics due to focal ischemia, systemic illnesses, tissue injuries, overexposure to adverse chemicals, food allergies or sensitivities, lack of physical movement or exercise, stress, and tight-fitting clothing 5.
In order to address stagnant lymph or impaired lymph dynamics, administration of MLDTs to the limbs has been proposed to aid transport of lymph from the extremities 3 , 5 — 7. Furthermore, complementary lymphatic pump techniques are thought to augment lymph passage through larger, more extensive lymphatic channels in the thorax for the filtration and removal of pathological fluids, inflammatory mediators, and waste products from the interstitial space 3 , 5 , 6.
The majority of MLDTs are considered safe but contraindications typically include major cardiac pathology, thrombosis or venous obstruction, hemorrhage, acute enuresis, and malignant tumors 3 , 5 , Several modes of MLDTs, such as the Vodder Method and lymphatic pump techniques, are commonly practiced in osteopathic, complementary, and alternative medicine as well as physical rehabilitation for treating the lymphatic system.
With applications specific to orthopaedic injury, MLDTs are proposed to stimulate the superficial component of the lymphatic system for aiding resolution of post-traumatic edema 5.
To an extent, the clinical effectiveness of such interventions has been suggested via pragmatic studies using MLDTs in physical rehabilitation interventions for musculoskeletal traumatic injuries 4 and chronic conditions 13 as well as neuromuscular pathology or dysfunction Unfortunately, few basic, applied, or clinical research studies have been conducted that conclusively validate the proposed biophysical processes of MLDTs in humans 5.
Conversely, several unique research studies have demonstrated evidence in animal models supporting the proposed biomechanisms underpinning MLDTs. Furthermore, innovative studies by Knott et al 16 and Hodge et al 17 measured greater thoracic duct flow as well as leukocyte count respectively in a canine model with abdominal and thoracic lymphatic pump techniques. The laboratory techniques of Knott et al 16 and Hodge et al 17 specifically represent landmark contributions to this body of work by obtaining real-time indices for lymph mobilization with the implementation of MLDTs commonly applied in clinical osteopathic medical practice.
Unfortunately, the literature regarding the influence of MLDTs for specific conditions encountered in conventional athletic injury rehabilitation is limited.
Several pilot 13 and case studies 4 , 14 have been published that suggest clinical effectiveness of MLDTs for several musculoskeletal conditions but they have failed to bolster the CEBM level of evidence and grade of recommendation supporting efficacy of such interventions in sports medicine and rehabilitation. Schillinger et al 11 conducted a randomized controlled trial that analyzed biochemical indices of structural skeletal muscle cell integrity upon the implementation of MLDTs following a bout of endurance treadmill running to anaerobic threshold.
Compared to control participants who received no manual therapy interventions, the MLDT group displayed a statistically significant decrease in concentrations of blood lactate dehydrogenase and aspartate aminotransferase immediately following a treatment session and at a hour follow-up.
The observed decrease in serum levels of specific skeletal muscle enzymes following an MLDT intervention demonstrates the potential for expedited regenerative and repair mechanisms to skeletal muscle cell integrity following structural damage as the result of taxing loads associated with physical activity Eisenhart et al 2 investigated the effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment OMT on acute ankle sprains managed in an emergency department.
Participants randomly assigned to the OMT group received lymphatic drainage techniques in conjunction with the current standard of care compared to a control group prescribed only the standard of care.
Hi tech c compiler manual lymphatic drainage
Results of one OMT session produced statistically significant decreases in pain and edema. At the follow-up evaluation one week post-intervention, the OMT group displayed improvement in outcome measures for range of motion compared to the control group. Though the results of Eisenhart et al 2 demonstrate potential MLDT efficacy for this orthopaedic injury commonly treated by physical rehabilitation specialists, the definitive contribution of lymphatic drainage techniques in a multimodal OMT paradigm is difficult to ascertain.
However, this research study may serve as a springboard for subsequent investigations on the effect of MLDTs in treating commonly encountered orthopaedic conditions. In this experimental design, all enrolled patients received the standard of care for this condition with participants then randomized into MLDT and control groups.
This preliminary evidence supports efficacy of MLDTs in sports medicine and rehabilitation specific to managing wrist bone fractures.
However, continued investigations with larger sample sizes are required to confirm and validate the results of the three aforementioned human research studies. Applicable case and pilot studies have produced results that support the clinical effectiveness of incorporating MLDTs into multimodal treatment interventions for musculoskeletal 4 , 13 and neuromuscular 14 ailments. These positive outcomes include statistically significant decreases in pain 13 as well as clinically significant reductions in edema 4 , improvements in wound healing 4 , and restorations of anatomical structure and physiological functions 4 , These pragmatic reports suggest that MLDTs are effective in a treatment paradigm when used in conjunction with other interventions.
Although these results support the potential effectiveness of MLDTs for musculoskeletal conditions in a context that mirrors real-world clinical practice, unfortunately the specific contribution of MLDTs to these positive outcomes remains unknown. This is generally due to the research methods employed, i.
Hence, these pragmatic studies fail to support efficacy, in the strictest terms, of MLDTs in sports medicine and rehabilitation The strongest evidence from RCTs suggests that MLDTs may be efficacious in the resolution of enzyme serum levels associated with acute structural skeletal muscle cell damage 11 as well as in the reduction of edema following wrist bone fracture of the distal radius 12 and acute ankle sprain 2.
However, based on CEBM standards for ranking the levels of evidence, there is currently an insufficient and inconsistent ensemble of evidence to support a grade of recommendation on which to establish clinical practice guidelines for the use of MLDTs in rehabilitating athletic injuries. Manual lymphatic drainage techniques remain a clinical art founded upon hypotheses, theory, and preliminary evidence.
Researchers must strive to clarify the biophysical effects that underpin its various proposed therapeutic applications in the human organism.
Randomized controlled trials and longitudinal prospective cohort studies are required to establish the efficacy of MLDTs in producing positive outcomes for patients rehabilitating from sports-related injuries. Researchers employing such experimental designs should use diligence in selecting specific modes of MLDTs to be incorporated in respective intervention regimens so that diverse forms of the therapy are avoided with investigated treatment protocols.