Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobility and Fibromyalgia

I am passionate about Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Maybe it’s because I have this condition myself and at least half of my patients carry this diagnosis.  Understanding the role of the ligaments and tendons in the body, and doing extensive training in Osteopathy have helped me, but my most important training was understanding my own body. I see patterns of pain and compensation that are absolutely predictable and reproducible. That is why I examine my patients so carefully as well as consider their MRIs and reports. When I first meet a patient with EDS, I thoroughly focus on the ligaments and tendons and then I EXPLAIN what is happening and why (using my ever popular skeleton and models). I like to give simple exercises and tips for staying out of trouble. I know how lost a person with this diagnosis can be. And I really want to help!

A few years ago, a young woman came to my office with pain in her upper back. When I walked in the room, she was on the floor rolling her back with a foam roller. She had driven from 45 minutes away and told me that her spine went out of place just from the commute. We spoke for about 15 minutes. She told me she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia two years ago. After that, she needed to roll her back again. I checked her carefully for hypermobility and sure enough, this was her real problem. She said she suspected this was the problem. She did NOT have fibromyalgia. We began treatment with dextrose prolotherapy and occasionally PRP. Within a year she only needed to roll her back once a week. We backed off the amount of treatment she received and by two years she had no more pain in her back and resumed a normal life.

I cannot begin to tell you how often I see Hypermobility misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia. And I am always amazed at how well these people respond to Prolotherapy and PRP in their ligaments and tendons. This needs to be followed up with careful strengthening and tips on proper alignment.

Hundreds of thousands of people suffer from overly-flexible joints. This is called hypermobility. When the joints are loose (ligament laxity), the tendons will tighten up, in an attempt to stabilize the body. As a result, the patients have the mistaken impression that the issue is tightness. This is why the problem is extremely underdiagnosed and/or misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia. The x-rays and MRIs will be normal. When this situation is severe, it is called Ehlers Danlos syndrome. When the joints are overly flexible, there is irregular pressure on the bones, which results in Osteoarthritis.

As a result, when a person with hypermobility ages, the joints themselves become tight and this can be confusing to the patient. I ask my patients, “Were you loose- jointed when you were young?” Now, the NIH (National Institute of Health) recognizes hypermobility as a cause for osteoarthritis. In addition, menopause will likely increase the hypermobility.

Ligament laxity and EDS respond very well to PRP and dextrose prolotherapy injected precisely into the ligaments. In fact, it is the only treatment for the chronic pain of hypermobility besides surgically fusing the joints.

Do you or anyone you know, suffer from this and want definitive treatment without drugs or surgery? Prolo and PRP are the only effective solution for this condition without drugs or surgery.

Gloria Tucker MD is a Diplomat of the American Board of Sports Medicine is an Instructor of Proliferative Therapy with the Hackett Hemwall Foundation and Practices in Novato, California  and Santa Rosa, California at, (415) 506-4907.