Here’s one truth: We all want to lead full active lives, bursting with energy and dreams. But what if your body doesn’t feel up to the challenge? See, that’s the reality for many people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). Living with EDS can be a painful, challenging experience, characterized by chronic pain, joint instability, and limited physical activity.
Worse still, because the condition is genetic, there is no known cure for it. However, there are many treatments and strategies that can help you to manage symptoms and improve your quality of life if you’re living with this condition.
Physiotherapy can be one powerful tool for managing EDS symptoms and helping people with EDS to improve their mobility, reduce pain, and live a more fulfilling life. This is why in this blog post, we will take a look at how Easy Exercising can help with EDS through physiotherapy, allowing you to reclaim your life and enjoy the activities you love.
What is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)?
What is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)? Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissues. Connective tissues are like the glue that holds your body together – they provide support and structure to your bones, muscles, organs, and other tissues.
According to research, EDS is caused by a genetic mutation that can occur in one of eight different genes, based on the type of EDS the patient has. People with EDS have a 50 percent chance of passing the condition on to their children.
EDS can have varied severity. While the symptoms are generally minor for some people, they can be quite disabling for others. They often include loose joints, joint pain, stretchy velvety skin, and abnormal scar formation. However, your EDS symptoms could vary depending on what type of EDS you have. In fact, the severity of symptoms could also be different between people experiencing the same type of EDS.
But then, what are the types of EDS?
As of today, there are 13 types of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) that the International Classification of Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes currently recognizes. The 8 most commonly known types are:
- Hypermobile EDS (hEDS): This is the most common type of EDS and is characterized by joint hypermobility, skin that is more elastic than normal, and chronic pain.
- Classical EDS (cEDS): This type of EDS is characterized by skin that is thin, translucent, and easily bruised, as well as joint hypermobility and an increased risk of joint dislocations.
- Vascular EDS (vEDS): This is a rare but potentially life-threatening type of EDS that affects the blood vessels, leading to an increased risk of arterial and organ rupture.
- Kyphoscoliotic EDS (kEDS): This type of EDS is characterized by severe curvature of the spine (kyphoscoliosis), joint hypermobility, and fragile eyes.
- Arthrochalasia EDS (aEDS): This is a rare type of EDS that is characterized by joint hypermobility, severe joint dislocations, and an increased risk of spinal deformities.
- Dermatosparaxis EDS (dEDS): This type of EDS is characterized by extremely fragile and sagging skin, joint hypermobility, and an increased risk of hernias.
- Brittle Cornea Syndrome (BCS): This is a rare type of EDS that affects the eyes, causing thinning of the cornea and an increased risk of corneal rupture.
- Spondylodysplastic EDS (spEDS): This type of EDS is characterized by short stature, spinal deformities, and an increased risk of joint dislocations.
Treatment approaches will vary depending on the type and severity of EDS but may include physical therapy, pain management, surgery, and lifestyle modifications. While there is currently no cure for EDS as we said earlier, with proper management, you can still lead a full and active life if you have this condition.
How can exercise improve individuals living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)?
Exercise is good for everybody, but if you have EDS, it is more like your daily medicine!
Even though exercising can be pretty scary and intimidating for you due to symptoms like joint dislocation, chronic pain, and fatigue, you can still benefit hugely from it.
Here are some of the benefits that exercise can provide for people with EDS:
- Strengthening muscles: People with EDS often have joint hypermobility, which can lead to joint instability and an increased risk of joint injuries. By strengthening the muscles around the affected joints, exercise can help provide more support and stability to the joints, reducing your risk of injuries.
- Improving cardiovascular health: Some types of EDS, such as vascular EDS, can affect the blood vessels and increase the risk of cardiovascular complications. Exercise can help improve cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of complications.
- Reducing pain: Chronic pain is a common symptom of EDS, and exercise has been shown to be an effective way to manage pain in many people. Exercise can help release endorphins, which are your body’s natural painkillers, and can also improve circulation and promote relaxation.
- Improving flexibility and range of motion: While joint hypermobility is a common symptom of EDS, it’s important to maintain flexibility and range of motion in the affected joints to prevent stiffness and maintain function. Gentle stretching and low-impact exercises can help improve flexibility without putting too much strain on the joints.
- Boosting mood and mental health: Living with a chronic condition like EDS can be challenging, and exercise has been shown to be an effective way to boost mood and improve mental health. Exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, promote feelings of well-being, and improve self-esteem.
Now that you understand how exercise can help with EDS, you’re probably wondering: “What exercise is safe for me to do?”, “Are there any exercises that I should avoid?”
Well, because EDS affects every patient differently, it is important for you to figure out what works for you, preferably with the help of a physical therapist.
A good place to start can be low-impact exercises such as Pilates and Tai Chi, which help build core strength. Yoga can also be beneficial but you must be careful to avoid the risk of overextending your joints in some positions. Swimming, elliptical running, cycling, and walking can also be helpful for some EDS patients.
How Easy Exercising can help with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)
If you have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) and you want gentle, stress-free exercises that will help you with fatigue management and other symptoms, together with the best professionals to guide you through your journey, then you should come and see how Easy Exercising can help with your EDS.
We understand your various difficulties with exercising — unstable joints, chronic pain, fatigue — but we also know that exercise is beneficial and can offer you the capacity to hopefully improve your functional ability, allowing you to achieve more goals in life. It can also give you more energy to manage fatigue, improve your overall stability, and reduce the risk of injury and the frequency of dislocations.
This is why we focus on gentle, easy, stress-free exercises that do not cause over-exertion on the body. Our unique power-assisted equipment is designed to assist you with any required exercises while you relax and have fun! Our ever-friendly professionals make sure you’re on the right track and they provide any support you need along the way. We also have a lovely community of other people who you’ll be willing to interact with.
Why wait then?
You even get a FREE session the first time you come to check us out.