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Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Patient Gaining Strength with Aquatic Therapy

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Patient Gaining Strength with Aquatic Therapy

What Is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a connective tissue disorder that is caused by a combination of genetic disorders, that ultimately cause a defect in collagen. Collagen affects the connective tissues responsible for sustaining and structuring the blood vessels, bones, organs, and skin. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome may affect some of these bodily structures more than others and because of this it can manifest itself in many different ways. Since there is no solution or cure for EDS, physical therapy partnered with pain medicine and surgeries are the only treatment options available today.

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EDS Case Study

For Seth, age 12, EDS means a life long battle to not only gain, but also maintain muscle strength in the face of joint laxity and excessive sublocations and dislocations. His main symptoms are that of loose, easily dislocated joints accompanied by chronic muscle pain and fatigue. Seth has difficulty tolerating land exercise due to the pressure on his joints caused by gravity. On land, even minimal pressure on his joints can, and tends to, cause dislocations along with chronic and severe pain.

Because land therapy is painful and presents serious risk of injury for Seth, his mother Lynn brings him to Premier Rehab in North Richland Hills, TX for aquatic therapy in their HydroWorx 500 Series pool. Both Seth and his mother prefer aquatic therapy because it is not as painful or stressful on Seth’s joints, and in Seth’s words, “It’s more fun!”  His Physical Therapist, Lori Day, works with him and his mother to help him build and maintain muscle mass, in order to strengthen and add support around his joints.

EDS Aquatic Therapy Exercises

Some of the muscle and core stabilization exercises that he performs during his aquatic therapy are:

  • Knee extensions
  • Flutter kicks
  • Shoulder flexion and extensions
  • Horizontal abduction and adduction
  • Windmills
  • Punches
  • Triceps press
  • Push pulls with the kickboard
  • Reverse abdominal curls
  • Prone hip abduction and adduction
  • Prone flutter kick
  • High knee walking with flippers
  • Walking
  • Jogging

To learn more about Seth, EDS, and the aquatic exercises he performs take a look at the videos below.

Are you interested in learning more about aquatic therapy? Download the Five Ways Aquatic Therapy Impacts Rehabilitation Tip Sheet today>>

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2 comments on “Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Patient Gaining Strength with Aquatic Therapy”

  1. I also have been involved in a water exercise program and strongly endorse this form of exercise for people with EDS. I attend the PACE program, 3 times a week, at the Finley Ewing Rehab Center at Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas. The People with Arthritis Can Exercise (hence PACE) is designed by the Arthritis Foundation and is available at many centers. Like Seth, I love the water and exercising in the pool is far more pleasant than land exercises. I enjoy going so I don’t look for excuses not to go. And it works; I have seen a definite reduction in my pain level- enough to have been able to reduce my pain medications significantly! Try it, it’s fun and it works!

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