computer use and lymphodema?


I was diagnosed with right sided trunkal lymphodema in 2006, following bilateral mx, rx and recon (which failed and had to be removed).

However, I changed jobs in June last year and for the first time, have a desk job using a computer.(left other job to avoid heavy lifting as worried it would cause lymphodema to arm).

Well, since using the computer during this job, (for 6 hrs /day) I have noticed a gradual onset of heaviness and discomfort to my right arm/hand ( right - handed) which is similar feeling to the trunkal lympodema.

I didn’t make the possible connection at first, but now notice that it feels slightly better at the weekend(when not using the computer), and by the end of the week it feels worse.

I have also noticed that when I have put on my rubber gloves to do cleaning, the right one feels tighter, especially around the fingers.

I have been to see the lymphodema nurse, who didn’t really examine me, said it could be, measured me for a sleeve and told me that I can’t have any MLD to trunkal area as very short staffed and will have to wait at least 3-4 months to have this while they recruit extra staff. She did give me a card for someone who can do it privately though (can’t really afford it at the moment but think I will have to go as getting very uncomfortable).

Is anyone aware of computer use and lymphodema in arm?

I am not sure what to do now because I’m not going to stay in a job if it is going to make this worse(job is giving me enough stress as it is but thats another story(and posting!!)

would really appreciate advice on this.


Hi Happyshopper

When I was at work I also had problems with arm when using computer. I have lymphoedema in right arm and wear a sleeve but my arm would start aching after awhile at computer. I was advised by lymphoedema nurse to take frequent breaks as sitting in one position for too long does not help. Occupational health at work agreed with this and arranged with work that I take a break every 30mins or would change my work duties so I was doing something else rather than using a computer. This did help.

Maybe speaking to work may help.

Take care x

Hi Happyshopper

there no doubt that being on a computer can aggrevate your lymphodema, the sooner you get a sleeve and glove i would think better. Is there a charity cancer centre in your area? I couldn’t get to see a lymphodema nurse in London ( were i was living before Feb ) but i have been seeing one through a charity cancer centre. Something like a Maggies centre.

Speak to your Occ Health at work as Lynni says breaks and a few excercises . 6 hours on a computer , well using a mouse/typing is not going to help.

r x

Hi Happyshopper
If your discomfort is caused by using the mouse (as I suspect it may well be). It might be worth having a go at teaching yourself to use the mouse with your other hand.

You will find it feels very odd at first but your brain will soon learn to adjust if you keep doing it.

I spend a lot of time at my PC both at work and at home, doing desktop publishing which requires very fine movements with the mouse. I now use my left hand at work and my right hand at home. I don’t even think about it anymore, my brain automatically adjusts to whichever hand I happen to be using.

Definately worth a try!


I agree with awadan. I had trouble with a trapped nerve in my elbow several years ago, long before BC. The doctor I saw advised changing to my left hand with the mouse, which I have done ever since - it was strange at first, and I had to slow down the ‘double click’ speed as I couldn’t do that fast enough with my left hand, but that was only a temporary thing till my left hand got used to it. It always foxes anyone who tries to use my PC at work! I use a right handed mouse at home.

As an aside - I use my left hand for a lot these days, especially any heavy lifting. I have mild lymphoedema in my right hand, and when I was last measured, my left arm is now bigger than my right as I use the muscles there more.

I also work from home, although not always on the computer but enough to make my arm ache and feel as if it is swollen under my armpit. I had tumour and 15 nodes out of 25 removed last September and am wondering if I have lymphodema or is it just overdoing it on the computer that makes it ache and feel heavy - can anyone help?

Hi Ginny

Please feel free to call our helpline for more support and information on 0808 800 6000, weekdays 9-5 and Sat 9-2. Our lymphoedema publication is available to read via this link:*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/16/

Best wishes