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If you have varicose veins, you’re not alone. According to the American Society for Vascular Surgery, more than 20 million Americans are affected by raised and enlarged veins, which most often occur in the legs or feet.
Our veins have tiny valves that work to circulate our blood, carrying it from the rest of our body to our heart. When these one-way valves quit working or are weakened, blood doesn’t flow as it should and pressure beings to build from the blood collecting in the legs.
For some, the resulting varicose veins may only be a cosmetic concern, but for others they could indicate a more serious problem and require treatment. It’s important to speak with your doctor about any concerns that you have regarding varicose veins. Your doctor can check for common symptoms, like swelling, sores, skin discoloration or tenderness, to make a diagnosis and discuss a treatment plan, if necessary.
If you are experiencing large bulging veins, there are some simple lifestyle changes you can try to minimize discomfort. Here are four at-home therapies that may help ease pain associated with varicose veins or prevent them from getting worse.
Exercise has a number of health benefits, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that getting your blood pumping can be good for your vein health too. Low-impact exercises that get you moving but don’t put additional stress on your veins can help minimize symptoms by promoting blood flow.
Walking and bicycling can be great options to help relieve pain and discomfort from swollen veins. You should consult your doctor before starting a new workout routine. Some exercises can be counterproductive to vein health and your health care provider can help determine what’s safe and effective for you.
Your doctor may recommend compression stockings – a special type of hosiery that applies pressure to your lower legs. Wearing compression stockings compresses the surface veins in your legs, which encourages circulation and blood flow from the legs and feet to the heart. Compression stockings vary in strength, size, brand and type and can be purchased online or at a pharmacy.
Our veins are having to work against gravity – pumping blood back up from our legs to our heart. Elevating your legs, however, works with gravity to help encourage blood flow and alleviate pressure. Less pressure can mean less pain and much needed rest for your veins and body.
Over-the-counter medication might be recommended to manage discomfort. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen may help. But if you notice any issues with your varicose veins or symptoms become too painful, treatment may be needed. Varicose vein treatments can include laser surgery, sclerotherapy and catheter-assisted procedures.
If you are experiencing pain from varicose veins, speak with your health care provider. Your health care provider can provide additional information on available options and determine if treatment may be necessary. Making a few lifestyle adjustments, like adding low-intensity exercise to your day and remembering to elevate your feet, can be conservative approaches to easing varicose vein pain.
Your primary care provider can help diagnose and manage a wide range of health issues, and refer you to a specialist when needed. Don’t wait to speak with your provider if you have any questions or concerns. If you need a primary care provider, find one near you today.