Restore a Sense of Well-Being and Reclaim an Active Life that You Enjoy.

Physical Therapy for hypermobility, EDS, and Dysautonomia/Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

Is Hypermobility Contributing to your Symptoms?

A person who is hypermobile is sometimes referred to as being “double-jointed, extremely flexible, or having hypermobility syndrome. Hypermobility can be asymptomatic or symptomatic, so it is important to work with a therapist who can help you determine if your hypermobility is contributing to your symptoms of pain or fatigue and, as needed, help you to better support your hypermobile body.

Mobility exists on a spectrum– some people inherit connective tissue that is really stiff and others have tissues that are quite flexible. Most people live between these two extremes, but those who are hypermobile may have injuries associated with tissue fragility, joints that move too much, and changes to the nervous system that amplify pain in an attempt to protect.

If you have recurring injuries, pain and /or fatigue, you may have a Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD) that a trained physical therapist can help to identify and treat. Conservative management like appropriate exercise and lifestyle adaptations are a mainstay of treatment of HSD, including hypermobility associated with Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes (EDS.) EDS is a medical diagnosis that requires a medical doctor to diagnose. For more information about EDS visit the EDS Society website.

Physical Therapy for hypermobility and EDS

  • To relieve and manage symptoms of hypermobility and any associated conditions.
  • Increase muscle strength and improve neuromotor control and joint stability.
  • Manual therapy and education to help calm the nervous system and inhibit pain.
  • Overcome fear of movement/injury and learn what you can do to stay strong and avoid undue stress/strain to prevent recurrent injuries.
  • Use of evidence-based techniques like Pilates or Blood Flow Restriction
  • Training that allow you to get stronger without heavy resistance, to minimize stress on your joints and ligaments.
  • Restore a sense of well-being and reclaim an active life that you enjoy.

The journey toward wellness will require some effort, but it is possible to feel and function better. Laxity of ligaments requires strong muscles that actively stabilize and protect joints– those muscles will understandably get tired, achy and may even feel “stiff.”

Involvement of multiple body systems is common, and is similar to other chronic pain conditions that can include chronic fatigue, poor sleep, anxiety/depression, heightened nervous system sensitivity and gastrointestinal distress. Evidence shows these conditions can improve with exercise and lifestyle changes, but may require an informed care team with experience treating these issues. The following body systems may be affected:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Nervous system
  • Pelvic organs
  • Immune system

Dysautonomia/Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

Dysautonomia/Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system and occurs frequently in those with hypermobility, Diabetes Mellitus, Parkinson’s Disease, and after a trauma or hospitalization. It presents when changing positions or getting up from a reclining position a person can experience a rapid (within seconds) increase in heart rate and also have discomfort and/or lightheadedness. Immediate symptoms can be relieved by returning to a recumbent position, which often contributes to avoidance of upright activity and deconditioning, which makes the problem worse. Over time, the symptoms become chronic and can include extreme fatigue, nausea, and chronic pain most notable in the “coat hanger” region of the head, neck, upper back and shoulders due to insufficient blood flow to these areas.

Physical Therapy for POTS

  • Individualized application of the Levine/Dallas protocol, which evidence has shown to improve tachycardia and both acute and chronic symptoms.
  • Gradually progressed strengthening exercise to improve blood flow while reducing adverse effects associated with doing “too much.”
  • Careful planning and pacing to allow a return to activities you enjoy and activities of daily living.

Contact us at Andersonville Physical Therapy to learn more about physical therapy for hypermobility/EDS/POTS.

Complete our appointment form or schedule your first appointment by calling our Chicago office at (773) 907-3599 during regular business hours.