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What can I do to help alleviate the aches and pains caused by varicose veins?

I always thought that varicose veins were more of a cosmetic issue. However, I have recently been experiencing aches and pains in the areas where my varicose veins are located. What can I do to help alleviate the aches and pains caused by varicose veins?


Doctors Answers (6)

The best way to treat your symptoms is to treat your varicose veins. During the time you are being evaluated and treated you should be fitted for prescription compression hose. You may get relief from your symptoms by wearing these stockings.

Varicose veins are mostly a medical issue, due to chronic venous insufficiency (failure of valves in the saphenous veins). If you are experiencing symptoms from your veins I would recommend an evaluation by a vascular surgeon who specializes in treating varicose veins. An ultrasound examination will be performed to determine if this is the case. You will be placed in compression stockings (not your grandmother's stocking, much more comfortable these days) for a period of time according to your insurance requirements for (conservative therapy). This includes hose, elevating your legs when possible, taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as Aleve or Advil, losing weight and smoking cessation. The hose will certainly help relieve your symptoms. If you go through this process you will have no problem qualifying for insurance coverage and are possibly a candidate for laser ablation of the saphenous vein causing the varicose veins. Additionally your bulging varicose veins can be removed through tiny punctures (microphlebectomy) at the same time.

Wearing leg compression hose and more frequent walking will improve your symptoms, but consider having your veins treated by a vein clinic to eliminate the varicose veins. Vein treatments are typically comfortable, done in an office setting, and with no change in your normal activities after the treatments. You would start with an ultrasound evaluation to determine the cause of the varicose veins and develop a treatment plan.

Up to 80 percent of people who have even just spider veins have symptoms. You can try anti-inflammatories like Motrin or Alleve, compression hose and elevating your legs to see if any of these help. If your legs swell or continue to bother you, you may want to see a physician.

The definitive treatment is the cessation of reflux, which means some form of ablation or removing the veins. Helpful things you can focus on include weight control, exercise, use of compressive stockings, and avoidance of prolonged standing.

You may elevate your legs when possible, avoid prolonged periods of standing or sitting, and wear compression hosiery to provide temporary improvement for vein-related leg symptoms. More definitive and durable improvement may be obtained by having treatment to eliminate the abnormal veins. There are many forms of treatment available which is beyond the scope of your question. Understand that this is a condition which cannot be cured, so periodic maintenance treatments will be necessary over time.

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