Ehlers-Danlos Muscle Spasms


EDS, particularly hEDS, is linked with muscular spams, muscular discomfort, nocturnal muscle cramps, floppy (low-tone) muscles, and increasing muscle weakness. All these are wholly or partly caused by EDS, depending upon its type.

The majority of EDS patients take pain medication, and many also receive physiotherapy to avoid muscle spasms, which, according to one research, was shown to be beneficial to two-thirds of those who participated. There is growing evidence that therapy should be delivered through a multidisciplinary approach to care. Physiotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and group therapy, followed by individual home exercises and weekly coaching from a physiotherapist, were all shown to be effective in a single research. Patients reported greater performance in everyday tasks, increased muscle strength and endurance, decreased dread of movement, and enhanced engagement in daily life. Patients also reported less fear of movement.

The Effects of EDS on Tight Muscles/Muscle Spasm:  Why do I feel so tense despite my joints being so loose?

This is a general question asked by patients or clients with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) or Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD).

A sensation of tightness in the muscles, frequently accompanied by pain and discomfort, is quite prevalent among people who have these illnesses. It is believed that EDS and HSD induce greater laxity of the ligaments, resulting in “looseness” of the joints. The brain will do everything it can to try to keep the joints from moving around. One of the things the brain can do is tell the muscles around the loose joints to become more toned. This is one of the things the brain can accomplish. Improved muscle tone may aid in the improvement of joint stability. However, this can also result in the muscles being in a hypertonic condition for an extended period of time. Hypertonic muscles are those that do not entirely relax but instead remain “on” all of the time.

This hypertonicity may become a problem because muscles that never relax are unable to use the muscle pumping mechanism to move waste products out of and nutrition into the muscle cells, resulting in muscle pain, aching, and soreness due to the accumulation of waste products or a lack of nutrition reaching the muscle cells. Additionally, when a muscle is fully tensed, it is unable to contract any further, which results in relative weakness. In this case, a muscle that is already in continual contraction to maintain joint stability will be unable to contract much more in order to create strength when it is required to do so when the situation calls for it. Third, the increased muscle tone is not always evenly distributed across the joint. Functional joint centration is a term used in Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) to describe the state of being in which the muscle forces around the joint are balanced, resulting in what is known as functional joint centration. In order to use the most significant surface area contact inside the joint, functional joint centration must be achieved in conjunction with a balanced co-activation of the muscles around the joint. A lack of balance in muscle tone around the joint might result in an increased risk of subluxation or injury due to concentrated compression and inadequate joint loading. Finally, the continual labor performed by the muscles to maintain this hypertonicity results in tiredness, which may explain why many people with EDS and HSD experience physical exhaustion when doing routine everyday activities.

Massage and myofascial release treatment are frequently sought for by persons experiencing pain and tiredness due to stiffness in their muscles. These methods can be obtained from a practitioner or performed at home utilizing balls, rollers, sticks, and other similar tools. In cases when hypertonicity is a functional adaptation of the body to deal with the laxity of the ligaments, this might be a concern. If the release process is effective, the hypertonicity will be removed from the joints, and the joints will no longer offer the previously supplied stability. For people with hypermobility, release work without retraining the right muscle activation for functional joint centration can be devastating for their joints. The brain will typically re-engage the hypertonicity as quickly as feasible to stabilize the joints in the vast majority of instances. Due to this, at the very least, the release effort will be nearly instantly undone. In the worst-case scenario, the release work will result in joint instability and the possibility of subluxation.

The majority of clinicians employ DNS-based rehabilitation approaches to assist EDS patients in regaining functional joint centration. The ability to use their muscles to support their joints most effectively while allowing for the complete range of motion in the joints without experiencing tiredness, tightness, or discomfort is a significant advantage.

EDS muscles spasm can be reduced by exercise

Patients with EDS may experience joint dislocations because their joints are hypermobile. This makes exercise difficult for them. In conjunction with physiotherapy, it can, nevertheless, assist in decreasing muscular spasms, strengthen the muscles around the joints, and prevent dislocations from occurring.

Exercising safely

The physiotherapist may design an exercise regimen to assist the patient gain strength, mobility, and range of motion while strengthening any joints that are prone to dislocation safely and effectively.

It may be required for certain patients to use orthotic braces or other adaptive devices to provide support during activity in order to avoid accidents or injury.

Stretching to enhance mobility and range of motion, aerobic activities to increase lung capacity and strength, and resistance training to increase muscular strength are all components of a typical exercise program.

Exercising in the appropriate manner

Several low-impact activities, including Pilates and Tai Chi, can be beneficial to people with EDS since they assist in strengthening their core. Yoga can also be helpful, but postures must be performed with caution because there is a danger of overextending joints in some positions when performed incorrectly. In addition, swimming might be beneficial for certain EDS sufferers.

Exercises to avoid

Running and other high-impact activities, as well as sports that pose a high risk of injury owing to impact, should be avoided by EDS patients in general. Weightlifting, for example, puts strain on locked joints and should be avoided if at all possible.

Patients should consult with their treatment team, including their physiotherapist, before incorporating new workouts into their daily regimen.

Areas needing research to manage muscles spasm in EDS:

  1. How causes contribute to muscle spasms and dysfunction in EDS.
  2. Effects of physical exercise and cognitive-behavioral treatment on muscular strength and endurance in EDS patients.
  3. The creation of evidence-based guidelines for improving muscular strength and reducing muscle spasms.
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