Conservative treatment of venous insufficiency is an excellent place to start with patients who exhibit minor to moderate symptoms. It’s important to note that the success of conservative approaches generally depends on the cooperation of the patient. The most conservative approach for treating varicose veins and spider veins is to wear properly fitting compression stockings, also known as support hose. Elastic compression hosiery supports the venous and lymphatic systems of the leg, offering graduated compression that lessens from the ankle on up the leg. Combined with the muscle pump effect of the calf, this compression assists in blood and lymph fluid circulation throughout the legs. Available at pharmacies, medical supply stores and online, compression stockings come in a variety of sizes, styles and colors, and can be worn above or below the knee or as pantyhose. The unit of measure used to classify the pressure of the stockings is mmHg; compression stockings are available in a range from 10 mmHg to more than 50 mmHg. Compression therapy relieves swelling and pain while narrowing the veins, decreasing venous volume, improving the venous pumping ability and reducing venous reflux by shifting blood volume form the legs to more central regions of the body. It can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies.
Exercise is another excellent conservative treatment for varicose veins, especially exercise programs that target the calf muscles and thereby improve circulation within the legs. These include walking and running regimens. Some other conservative treatments for varicose veins include weight loss, avoiding standing or sitting for long periods of time and elevating the legs while sleeping and sitting.
While a conservative approach to the treatment of venous insufficiency may slow the progression of symptoms, it does not treat the underlying cause of the disease – faulty valves in the veins. Consequently, varicose veins will grow more noticeable over time, causing increased discomfort for the patient.