Awareness and Management of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) in Airdrie

ron dauphin UgidX4V13Gc unsplash

Why the Zebra?

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), specifically the hypermobile type (hEDS), is a multifaceted condition that impacts not just the joints but the entire body, causing widespread pain and a wide range of systemic symptoms. At our clinic in Airdrie, we specialize in athletic therapy, massage, and traditional Chinese medicine (TCMD). We recognize the complexities of EDS and related hypermobility spectrum disorders (HSD), adopting a multidisciplinary approach to manage the condition holistically and improve the quality of life for our clients.

Understanding Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a group of 13 heritable connective tissue disorders. The conditions are caused by genetic changes that affect connective tissue, primarily the skin, joints, and blood vessel walls . There are 13 recognized types of EDS, each with specific symptoms and genetic causes. The most commonly known type, hypermobile EDS (hEDS), is notorious for its symptoms of joint hypermobility, chronic joint and muscle pain, skin hyperextensibility, and systemic manifestations that can affect the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and autonomic systems.


Key Types of EDS

  • Hypermobile EDS (hEDS): Characterized by severe joint hypermobility, frequent dislocations, and chronic pain.
  • Classical EDS (cEDS): Known for highly elastic, fragile skin and a tendency for scars.
  • Vascular EDS (vEDS): Considered the most severe form, affecting blood vessels and organs with potential for life-threatening complications.
  • Kyphoscoliotic EDS (kEDS): Leads to severe muscular weakness, scoliosis, and fragile tissues.

Common Symptoms of EDS

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome can manifest in a variety of ways, depending on the type and severity of the condition. Common symptoms may include:

  • Joint Hypermobility: Joints that move beyond the normal range with ease, leading to frequent dislocations and subluxations (partial dislocations).
  • Chronic Pain: Persistent pain in the joints and muscles, often exacerbated by physical activity.
  • Skin Elasticity: Skin that is unusually stretchy, soft, and fragile, leading to easy bruising and slow wound healing.
  • Easy Bruising: Increased tendency to bruise due to fragile blood vessels and connective tissues.
  • Muscle Weakness: Reduced muscle tone and strength, which can contribute to joint instability and increased risk of injury.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Problems such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other digestive disturbances.
  • Cardiovascular Concerns: Issues like heart valve problems, arterial fragility, and varicose veins.
  • Autonomic Dysfunction: Symptoms like dizziness, fainting, and difficulty regulating body temperature due to dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system.

The Importance of Collaborative Healthcare

Managing EDS, especially hEDS, requires a collaborative healthcare approach due to its complexity and the range of systems it affects. Clients benefit significantly from working closely with a team of healthcare providers, including geneticists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, physical therapists, and pain management specialists. This team approach ensures all aspects of the disorder are addressed, from genetic testing and diagnosis to physical therapy and pain management.

Getting Tested for EDS

For anyone struggling with EDS or suspecting they might have a hypermobility disorder, getting the right diagnosis is crucial. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Consult Your Primary Care Physician: Start by discussing your symptoms with your primary care doctor. They can refer you to a specialist, such as a geneticist or rheumatologist, for further evaluation.

  2. Genetic Testing: Although not all types of EDS can be confirmed through genetic tests, certain types, like vascular EDS, have specific genetic markers. Your specialist may recommend genetic testing to help diagnose your condition.

  3. Clinical Evaluation: Diagnosis of hEDS primarily relies on a thorough clinical evaluation. This includes a detailed medical history, physical examination to assess joint hypermobility, and ruling out other conditions that mimic EDS symptoms.

  4. Specialist Referrals: Based on your symptoms, you may be referred to various specialists (e.g., cardiologists, gastroenterologists) to evaluate and manage the systemic effects of EDS.

  5. Multidisciplinary Approach: At our clinic, we work alongside your healthcare team to provide a comprehensive management plan that includes physical therapy, pain management, and holistic treatments.

Our Multidisciplinary Approach to Chronic Pain Treatment in Airdrie

At our Revival Airdrie clinic, we integrate athletic therapy, massage therapy, and traditional Chinese medicine to offer a tailored treatment plan for each client. Here’s how we help:
  • Athletic Therapy: Focuses on preventing and managing musculoskeletal injuries through exercises and rehabilitation programs that improve stability and reduce the risk of dislocations.
  • Massage Therapy: Helps in managing chronic pain, reducing muscle tension, and improving circulation, which is crucial for clients with fragile blood vessels.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCMD): Offers alternative approaches such as acupuncture and herbal treatments to alleviate symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Client Education and Support

Educating clients about their condition and how to manage symptoms effectively is a cornerstone of our treatment philosophy. We provide resources and support for lifestyle adjustments that minimize the impact of symptoms. Additionally, we emphasize the importance of self-care and regular monitoring of their condition to prevent complications.


IMG 0827
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a complex and challenging condition, but with the right support and treatment strategy, individuals can lead fulfilling lives. Our clinic in Airdrie is dedicated to providing comprehensive care tailored to the unique needs of EDS clients, ensuring they receive the best possible management for their symptoms. By fostering a collaborative relationship with our clients and their other healthcare providers, we create a supportive environment that encourages optimal management of the condition.
For anyone struggling with EDS or suspecting they might have a hypermobility disorder, getting the right diagnosis and treatment plan is crucial. Contact us to learn more about how we can help manage this condition effectively.

Call 403-945-1530