As discussed in a blog post last week, the effects of EDS and hypermobility can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life physically. It goes without saying that having frequent pain in your joints, sprains, and/or joint dislocations can discourage someone from trying to be active. The same could be said for the bowel and bladder issues.
Another factor that is often missed is the psychological or emotional impact from all of the different symptoms. Spraining your ankle every time you hike might not seem like that bad of a thing, but what if hiking was one of the few activities that you truly enjoyed? What if hiking was something that allowed you as an individual to connect with your friends or family? Not feeling comfortable going on a hike becomes much more than an emotional issue at this point, and that can have a massive impact on your overall well-being.
This kind of avoidant behavior isn’t isolated to effects of EDS or cases of hypermobility by any means, but the number of varied symptoms that people experience with these conditions tends to contribute to more than just physical issues. What’s important to realize is that a lot of symptoms with EDS are just strange. Without getting too much into the biology of it, consider that EDS affects the function of connective tissue in the body. Where is connective tissue? Around joints, blood vessels, internal organs, nerves… basically everywhere.
The point here is to say that the weird symptoms you’re feeling aren’t by any means “normal”, but they are actually very common in people who experience EDS or hypermobility. Many of the symptoms are things that people with EDS feel too, but don’t usually bring up. How often do you hear people talking about their irritable bowels in public? Most people are really good at ignoring or just dealing with symptoms until they hit some sort of breaking point. This behavior is typically more pronounced with issues that aren’t considered socially acceptable to discuss, like bowel/bladder issues or sexual dysfunction.
When you’re dealing with complex issues like EDS, it’s important that you are able to identify your symptoms and discuss them with your medical providers. It’s also important to realize that you’re not insane for having such a wide array of symptoms. Remember, connective tissue disorders can affect basically any function of your body.
Long story short, don’t let yourself get stretched too thin thinking your issues are so different that you can’t seek help. Many of the issues with EDS can be addressed with physical therapy and other medical management, however, it’s important to consider the psychological effects that are likely to come up, too. Seeing a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist is a great idea to help you deal with psychological effects that are likely to arise.
This entire article could certainly apply to any of the less-understood disorders out there. If you have a problem, you should know who to go to. For any sort of movement disorder and muscle/joint pain, see a physical therapist first. For any other physical issues, your primary care physician should be able to help or direct you to the proper care. Lastly, don’t forget about your mind!
Got questions? Feel limited in what you’re able to do? The staff at Limitless Physical Therapy in Eugene, OR can show you how to discover your future without limits.
***The above information, including text, images, and all other materials, is provided for educational purposes only, and not as a replacement or supplement to professional medical advice. Please contact a certified healthcare professional or your primary physician for any personal concerns.