Massage for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a rare connective tissue disorder that causes the weakening of joints, blood vessels, and skin. This condition disrupts the production of collagen making the skin stretchy and thin, joints unstable and the walls of internal organs dangerously thin.
The symptoms of EDS are as follows:
Types of EDS
Classical - When people think EDS this is the form they are usually most aware of. People with classical EDS have very stretchy skin, hypermobile joints, and scar abnormally.
Hypermobility - This type of EDS is characterized by hypermobility of joints. The joints are very unstable and prone to dislocation. People with this form of EDS often suffer from chronic joint pain.
Vascular - This is the most dangerous type of EDS because it causes thinning of the arterial and organ walls. People with this condition have a distinct appearance. They have thin skin through which their veins are clearly visible. They are short and have large eyes, thin noses, and lobelss ears. Their hair is quite thin. They also tend to have hypermobility of their fingers and toes. They bruise easily and are at risk of life threatening arterial ruptures.
Kyphoscoliosis - This form is characterized by poor muscle tone, general joint laxity, and fragile eyes. People with this form of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are usually born with Scoliosis that gets worse as they age. They also bruise easily and can be at risk of arterial ruptures.
Arthrochalasia - People with this form of EDS have loose joints and dislocations of their hips. They also have stretchy skin, abnormal scarring, poor muscle tone and weak bones.
Dermatosparaxis - This form of EDS is characterized by loose doughy skin. The skin is very fragile and bruises easily.
Though there are types of EDS, many people with the condition have symptoms that cross into multiple EDS types.
This is a genetic disorder. Doctors can make some determination as to whether they suspect someone of having the disease with observation and by finding out about the person's medical family history. If EDS is suspected a skin biopsy can be used to test the chemical make-up of the connective tissue.
If someone has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome they have a 1 in 2 chance of passing the syndrome down to their children.
There is no cure for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Treatments are given to help the person cope with the condition. Braces can be worn to support joints and prevent dislocation. Occupational or physical therapy teaches sufferers how to use their joints without dislocating them. Exercises can be done to strengthen the muscles around the joints to increase their stability.
Care must be taken to protect the skin. Protection from injury and from the sun is extremely important. Sufferers can take vitamin C daily to reduce bruising and increases wound healing.
Massage for EDS
Because of the nature of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome massage therapists must be very careful and aware when they work on a patient with this condition. If you have EDS and you would like to get a massage make sure your therapist is familiar with the condition and knows what type of precautions to take.
Because of the risk of arterial and organ ruptures deep tissue massage should never be done on someone with this condition. The therapist should make sure their nails are very short to avoid unintentional nicking the skin. The therapist should also use a good amount of massage lotion or oil to prevent skin tearing.
The massage should be quite gentle and no stretching or passive ranges of motion should be used. The looseness of ligaments will cause joints to be moved beyond their limits when attempting passive ranges of motion and stretches.
Even gentle massage can offer relief by decreasing stress hormones and raising dopamine levels, loosening tight sore muscles around the joints, and increasing blood flow.
Lymphatic drainage and CranioSacral therapy are two examples of bodywork that would benefit someone with this condition.
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