Conservative treatment includes the use of prescription strength compression stockings as well as life style changes such as weight loss, exercise, and periodic leg elevation. The objective of this approach is to improve or minimize existing symptoms of venous reflux and slow progression of the disorder. Conservative treatments will not cure refluxing veins, but they are a viable approach to manage venous reflux in individuals who are not good candidates to pursue other types of vein treatments. It also allows us to gauge how one might respond to definitive treatment.
Prescription Strength Compression Stockings help in the treatment of varicose veins by squeezing the blood up and out of your legs, which prevents pooling of blood in your leg veins. These stockings require a physician prescription. To help relieve the discomfort from varicose veins, these compression stockings must be worn during the day until you are able to elevate your legs at night. Please do not use some else’s stockings because compression stockings come in different strengths of compression and must be matched to your specific needs. Click here to read more
Exercise helps strengthen your calf muscles, which improves the movement of blood up out of your leg veins and improves circulation. Activities that focus on working the leg muscles, such as walking and biking, are great choices. If you sit or stand for prolonged periods of time, taking short breaks and walking may also be beneficial. If you are unable to walk at work, standing up and down on your toes helps the calf muscles pump blood out of the legs.
Leg elevation allows gravity to help blood in your leg veins flow in the correct direction. Periodically raising your legs a few inches above the level of your heart for 10-15 minutes is helpful.
Sleeping with your legs elevated above the level of your heart can improve symptoms of venous insufficiency and helps rid the legs of swelling, edema or fluid. Try placing some blocks under the foot of your bed, or place some pillows and blankets between the mattress and box spring to create a nice gentle elevation at the foot of your bed. This allows leg elevation without having to keep your legs on pillows during the night.
Weight loss – If you are above your ideal weight, weight loss is helpful in minimizing symptoms and slowing progression of venous insufficiency.
All of these conservative methods of treatment are designed to get the venous blood (which is oxygen depleted, but has increased levels of metabolic by-products from the muscles) out of the legs preventing blood pooling in the leg veins.