EHLERS DANLOS SYNDROME
Ehlers-danlos syndrome (EDS) is a group of genetic connective tissue disorders, often misdiagnosed. Common signs of EDS include joint hypermobility, frequent dislocations and/or subluxations, skin fragility, and joint pain; however, there are various other ways this syndrome can manifest. Connective tissue creates building blocks throughout the human body. This means connective tissue helps build the ligaments, tendons, bones, cartilage, blood vessels, eyes, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, hair, skin, nails, etc. With so many tissues involving collagen, EDS can predispose patients to a variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms.
One of the most debilitating parts of EDS is chronic joint pain and subluxations. It is common for people who have EDS to subluxate a rib when sneezing too hard, or misalign their neck by sleeping in the wrong position. As a result, people with EDS often find themselves in and out of doctor’s offices, physical therapy, and emergency rooms seeking help and pain relief.
Dr. Driver specializes in working with the Ehler's Danlos community, as she was diagnosed with the condition herself. Read her story here: https://www.pierceuc.com/meet-the-team
How Our Chiropractors Can Help
Chiropractic can be a contentious subject in the EDS community. Some people feel chiropractic is a life-saving necessity for EDS pain management and others find it a terrifying threat. Traditional chiropractic cervical manipulations are in fact contraindicated for patients with EDS. This is because EDS causes ligament laxity which leads to neck instability. People with neck instability do not need to increase their instability by receiving frequent manipulations; however, neck instability also brings frequent misalignments, muscle spasms, and pain. What is an EDS patient to do?
Fortunately, not all methods of chiropractic are the same. Upper cervical chiropractic offers a safe way to correct spinal misalignments. The light pressure and precise nature of the upper cervical adjustment do not stretch the ligaments or risk increasing neck instability. With restored spinal alignment, patients experience a decrease in muscle spasms and pain. Proper upper cervical alignment also creates decreased pressure on the spinal cord and on the vertebral arteries (blood vessels that feed the brain). As a result, many other common symptoms of EDS such as brain fog, fatigue, headaches, and dizziness can also be reduced by an upper cervical adjustment.
There are many health professionals and different forms of care that are necessary to help an EDS patient with lifestyle management. Since the EDS patient has many body systems affected by the syndrome, they need just as many forms of care and guidance to address each one. While no specific form of care can cure EDS, each offers essential benefits. Consistent and proper upper cervical management can decrease stress on the nervous system, allowing an EDS patient to experience dramatic pain relief. This, in turn, can provide them with more energy and the ability to focus on other forms of lifestyle management.
From One of Our Patients
I have been seeing Dr. Driver for about six months. I have EDS and Dr. Driver is very knowledgeable about working with connective tissue disorders. Her approach is very gentle and works within the body's limits to facilitate progress rather than create new trauma by using too much force. I have seen considerable change with my posture and have seen my pain level greatly decreased from her care.