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My right arm is swollen. There is no injury, no bruising, and no pain.

Question: My right arm is swollen. There is no injury, no bruising, and no pain.

The swelling is in my right hand all the way to my elbow. It is NOTICEABLE bigger than my other arm -- to the point where I can't wear long sleeved shirts because the forearm part of the shirt does not fit. If I carry bags or something with that arm, it leaves an impression on the arm that lasts for a few minutes. There is no pain at all and the only time I really notice a change is when I exercise vigorously and then it feels as if it is getting tighter in my skin. However when I cool down, that feeling goes away.

I've been to my share of doctors trying to figure this out. I've had my blood tested, I've had X-rays, a bone density test, and even tried icing and wrapping it to see if that would help. I'm really frustrated because I don't know where else to go to try to get this fixed. I'm going on two years now with this "obese" arm.

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?


Dear Tallgirlmax,
I am a student massage therapist in my last quarter at massage school in Seattle, WA currently studying a massage technique called manual Lymphatic Drainage. Your symptoms sound as if lymphatic drainage would be indicated for your condition.
Has your Dr. mention Lymphedema to you- swelling of the lymph glands (commomnly found in the extremities)?
The dimples left in your arm after carrying a bag is commonly referred to as 'pitted edema'. This indicates poor lymph circulation through the area.
Food for thought for you.
Kind Regards,
Ellie Pierce


Hi Ellie,

I've only had one doctor mention it in passing but thought it was something else because I don't have any pain that is normally associated with this condition.

So if this is what is causing my arm to swell, what can I do to help my arm fit back into my long-sleeved shirts?

Thanks for your help!