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Treating Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome with Lifestyle Modifications

Treating Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome with Lifestyle Modifications

It has become increasingly clear that people living with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) need specialized care, treatment, and lifestyle modifications. That’s why interventional pain management physician Dr. Nichelle C. Renk and Dr. Mary Beth Calor specialize in EDS diagnosis, treatment, and support.

At Alpenglow Pain & Wellness of Anchorage, Alaska, Dr. Renk and Dr. Calor are the only EDS physicians in the vast state, with expertise handling this debilitating and chronic condition.

As part of your EDS treatment plan, Dr. Renk and Dr. Calor often recommend specific lifestyle modifications to help you function with less pain and negative physical impact. 

In combination with other treatment techniques like physical therapy, massage, dietary supplementation, safe medications, and procedures, lifestyle changes can significantly improve your wellness and quality of life.

Understanding hypermobile EDS

When you have hypermobile EDS (hEDS), your body experiences difficulty around the protein collagen, which helps your skin stay elastic and resilient. With EDS, hypermobility of joints and overly stretchy skin become potential health problems.

People with hypermobile EDS may need specialized wound care and be more prone than others to scarring. Further, EDS often results in chronic musculoskeletal pain and persistent gastrointestinal or digestive issues.

EDS also puts you at higher risk for early-onset arthritis, osteoporosis, degenerative joint disease, and injuries like joint dislocations. EDS patients often also suffer from chronic fatigue or depression.

Dr. Renk and Dr. Calor diagnosis EDS and work with their patients to develop customized treatment plans.

EDS lifestyle modifications: diet, exercise, posture, and more

As part of your hypermobile EDS treatment, Dr. Renk and Dr. Calor discuss lifestyle modifications you should make as you live with this condition. The focus of your treatment depends on the type of symptoms you most commonly encounter.

For example, if you frequently deal with nausea, indigestion, or other gastrointestinal issues, you may want to experiment with altering your diet. 

Dr. Renk and Dr. Calor can recommend “exclusion diets” that allow you to learn more about your trigger foods while still maintaining good nutrition. You may also benefit from dietary supplements.

You might need to adjust your activity plan, so you’re keeping your muscles strong without triggering pain or putting yourself at risk for joint dislocation or injury. Activities like contact sports might not be right for you, but exercising in the water supports your body and cardiovascular health. 

Since your EDS puts you at higher risk for chronic pain, it’s important to develop good habits around posture. You might also need to practice relaxing the muscles in your jaw, or change the way you carry your bag so you spare your upper back and shoulders.

EDS can result in light-headedness. You might need to adjust your habits so you don’t spend too long either sitting still or standing. If you feel light-headed, lie down right away. Compression stockings may also help with EDS-related blood pressure and circulation issues.

EDS lifestyle modifications for fatigue and mental health

Life with EDS has a mental health and energy management component, as well as a physical pain management and injury prevention aspect.

You need to realize that your energy levels can fluctuate from day to day, so your plans may need to be more flexible than usual. Try to stay active and involved in daily life activities, but pay attention to your physical and mental health needs, as well. Rest when you need to.

If you struggle with insomnia and sleep habits, improved sleep hygiene and bedtime routines may help you rest better through the night, more effectively recharging your energy for the next day.

Remain aware of your mood and your emotional and mental health. You may need support, such as support groups, journaling, therapy, or stress management practices. Dr. Renk and Dr. Calor helps you connect with specialists if you need to expand your care team to include mental health or other treatment modalities.

For the comprehensive support you need to modify your lifestyle so you can stay healthy and well when living with EDS, contact Dr. Renk and Dr. Calor at Alpenglow Pain & Wellness. You can schedule your initial consultation over the phone, or book online today.

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