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How to Relieve Varicose Vein Pain

How to Relieve Varicose Vein Pain

Varicose veins, the ropy, colored protuberances that appear on the calves and thighs, are definitely an eyesore, but they can also produce pain, swelling, and an aching heaviness in the legs. In addition, they may lead to later stages of vein disease that cause more complications and are harder to treat.

At Northwest Houston Heart Center, Dr. Adnan Aslam and Dr. Roy Norman understand that the varicose veins on your legs are not only unattractive, but they’re also medically concerning. You can relieve the pain they cause in a number of ways, both at home and in-office, which the team shares here.

What leads to varicose veins?

Your circulatory system is a closed loop, with arteries moving the oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body, and veins moving the oxygen-poor blood back to the heart. The problem occurs in the return trip, because the blood has to flow against the pull of gravity. But your body has developed two workarounds.

First, elastic vein walls and muscle contractions in your calves and thighs ensure blood moves forward. Second, you have tiny valves inside the veins that open as blood flows by, then snap shut tightly to prevent it from moving backward.

Conditions like high blood pressure can weaken or damage the valves so they no longer fully close; the blood doesn’t move forward but pools around the damaged area, causing the veins to stretch. This condition of diminished blood flow is called venous insufficiency, since the sluggish flow provides insufficient nutrients to the body’s tissues. When superficial veins are affected in this way, the visible result is varicose veins.

Almost 40% of Americans experience venous insufficiency, or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), at some point in their lives.

How to relieve varicose vein pain

Not everyone with varicose veins experiences pain as a symptom, but for those who do, it can be described most like a dull, achy feeling. You can address the pain and relieve the discomfort in a number of ways, including exercising (keeps blood flowing), raising your legs above your heart when sitting or lying down (to prevent fluid buildup in the legs), and/or wearing compression stockings. All might keep the veins from getting worse.

Compression stockings

Wearing compression stockings all day is usually a first-line treatment. The stockings apply pressure to the legs, assisting the veins and leg muscles in moving blood back to the heart. The amount of pressure varies by type and brand of stocking.

You can find compression stockings at almost any pharmacy or medical supply store, but they’ll be more effective if you get a prescription from your doctor and are measured for the correct strength. Insurance might cover the prescription if your varicose veins are causing symptoms.

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is an in-office procedure in which the doctor injects the varicose veins with a solution that irritates their lining and causes them to collapse. The body absorbs the defunct veins and shunts blood flow to nearby, healthy veins. It’s possible you may need more than one treatment, especially if the vein is large or you have a number of problematic veins.

Laser treatment

Lasers emit highly focused beams of a single wavelength of light. In the case of laser treatment for varicose veins, the light is absorbed by the vein, which slowly fades until you can’t see it any more. This is a completely noninvasive procedure.

Catheter-based procedures

Catheter-based procedures use either radiofrequency (RF) or laser energy, and they’re mostly used for larger varicose veins. The doctor makes a small incision in the vein, then threads a catheter into the hole. The RF or laser energy heats the tip of the catheter; as it’s withdrawn, the heat causes the vein to cave in on itself and seal itself shut. You may need more than one treatment, depending on the size of the vein.

If your varicose veins are becoming symptomatic, it’s time to come into Northwest Houston Heart Center for effective pain relief. To get started, give us a call at one of our locations — in The Woodlands, Magnolia, Cypress, or Tomball, Texas — text us at 832-402-9518, or book online with us today.

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