Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is also known as joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS) and is a hereditary and quite rare connective tissue disorder characterized by unusually flexible joints, very elastic skin and fragile tissues. The connective tissue of individuals with this syndrome neither forms nor heals properly.
How does Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or Joint Hypermobility Syndrome develop?
Variations of this syndrome usually result from abnormalities in the different genes that create connective tissue. Many children experience this flexibility in the joints but without other symptoms. Over time the flexibility decreases. Arthritis may eventually develop, and the joints may degenerate beyond repair.
What are the symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
With this syndrome, the skin and joints are extremely flexible; the skin can be stretched to unusual levels. Wide scars often develop on the elbows, knees and shins. Small, round, hard lumps may also appear under the skin. While in general there is a tendency to bleed easily, a small wound may turn into a large gaping wound that might not bleed much at all. The hypermobility can be documented by the Breighton criteria which involves objective measurement of the hyperextensibility of various joints. While the major presenting complaint for these patients is typically pain in multiple joints, if the hypermobility is left unchecked, joint dislocations and degeneration may result.
Surgeries may be risky due to very sensitive inner organs as well as an inclination to sprains and dislocations. One fourth of all children afflicted with this disease may develop a hunchback and kyphoscoliosis, an abnormal curve of the spine, and many develop flat feet. Hernias are also common. Pregnant women may deliver prematurely due to the extreme flexibility of body tissues. In addition, the membranes containing the fetus may rupture early if the fetus has the syndrome.
Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, but they do not address the root of the problem. By strengthening structural weaknesses in the body, as treatments like Prolotherapy, the problems associated with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome may be alleviated permanently.
Traditional Approaches to Treating Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or Joint Hypermobility Syndrome:
Although traditional medicine does not have a treatment for regenerating connective tissue and is therefore unable to heal Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, several options have been suggested, including exercise to improve joint stability and strengthen muscle; self-management to protect joints from injury, reduce pain and conserve energy; and surgery to correct fractures and dislocated joints. The problem with any of these options is that they do little to strengthen the loose joints in the body and, thus, do not alleviate the chronic pain that people with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome experience.
Caring Medical’s Approach to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or Hypermobility
We use comprehensive Prolotherapy which offers great hope to those with symptoms of hypermobility because it is designed to successfully treat the ligament and tendon laxity that accompanies EDS and JHS, as well as strengthen the joints in the body with Prolotherapy and avoid the aggressive arthritis that would eventually lead to irreparable joints with this condition. Chronic pain is most commonly due to tendon and ligament weakness, cartilage deterioration and/or joint instability. The safest and most effective natural medicine treatment for repairing tendon, ligament and cartilage damage is Prolotherapy. In simple terms, Prolotherapy stimulates the body to repair painful areas. It does so by inducing a mild inflammatory reaction in the weakened ligaments, tendons and cartilage. Since the body heals by inflammation, Prolotherapy stimulates healing.
Prolotherapy offers the most curative results in treating the chronic pain associated with EDS, as well as many other painful conditions and sports injuries. It effectively eliminates pain because it attacks the source: the fibro-osseous junction, an area rich in sensory nerves. What’s more, the tissue strengthening and pain relief stimulated by Prolotherapy is permanent!
Our experience with treating Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome: Our office has many years’ experience since we have been treating this condition for over 50 years, with Dr. Gustav Hemwall treating many patients with EDS for many years, as well as myself. We have seen patients who came to us in wheelchairs or totally disabled who are now walking normally and no longer disabled and go on to lead normal lives. They basically now live pain-free. Patients with EDS suffer with recurrent dislocations and typically have already had multiple orthopedic surgeries due to the dislocations when they arrive at our door. Some of these patient will stay overnight in a local hotel and have us treat nearly every joint in their bodies. Typically they require conscious sedation due to the number of areas that are being treated at once. Even severe cases of EDS (and our clinic is known for handling really severe cases), can benefit from Prolotherapy and our approach to whole health.
We believe nobody with EDS should have to live in continual suffering/pain. There is hope – and that hope is in the hands of a qualified experienced Prolotherapy doctor.
Ross A. Hauser, M.D.
Dr. Hauser received his M.D. from the University of Illinois, Chicago; completed his residency at Loyola-Hines VA-Marianjoy Hospitals in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; and received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Hauser is the Medical Director and co-founder of the physician-run, comprehensive Prolotherapy, PRP, and Bone Marrow Prolotherapy clinic, Caring Medical & Rehabilitation Services in Oak Park, Illinois. Dr. Hauser is one of the leading experts in the treatment of chronic pain and sports injuries with Prolotherapy. He, along with his wife Marion, have written seven books on the topic of Prolotherapy, a comprehensive book on the natural medicine approach to cancer, as well as a myriad of articles and newsletters for the general public.