What can be done for the pain and swelling associated with deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism?

Chere asked...

Has anyone had a deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism and now dealing with chronic venous insuffiency? If so what kind of treatment and management is helping to take care of the pain/discomfort and swelling?

Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

An acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT)can be quite painful, but pain usually resolves once the clot has gone away and the swelling goes down. During this acute phase, pain medications can be used to reduce discomfort.

Chronic venous insufficiency basically means that the veins in your lower extremites stretch out and lose tone, causing blood and fluid to pool in the legs instead of going back to your heart. Unfortunately, this does cause increased swelling in the lower legs, which can lead to pain and discomfort. My best suggestion would be to wear compression stockings, which will help support your veins and decrease edema, which will in turn help reduce pain. Other things that help are elevating your legs when sitting down. If your legs ache from the edema, you can try taking Tylenol routinely to reduce the pain.

One thought I have is if your legs are really painful, especially when you are walking, you may have a component of arterial disease in your legs as well. If this does occur, please let your health care provider know so that you can be evaluated for the proper treatment.