Holistic therapy has exploded in popularity in recent years. Healthcare providers are taking a more critical look at traditional medical paradigms which tend to treat symptoms in isolation as they arise. However, these practices are proving less effective at providing sustainable long-term care for those suffering from chronic pain from conditions like Ehlers-Danlos syndromes.
Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are just one of many genetic disorders which can negatively impact the quality of life for patients. Whereas traditional medical philosophy tells physicians to focus on treating the symptoms that arise from disorders like Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, holistic therapies offer sustainable management of pain and long-term relief from the complications associated with such disorders.
What are Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes?
Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) refers to a group of connective tissue disorders which lead to chronic, severe pain in some carriers. EDS are genetic disorders, which means they are inherited through parents.
There are thirteen subtypes of EDS that vary in their genetic roots and the way they impact the body’s normal functioning. EDS primarily targets skin and joint tissue.
Generally, Ehlers-Danlos syndromes lead to hypermobility in joints, hyperextensible skin, and overall, more fragile bodily tissues. Those suffering from EDS are more susceptible to muscular fractures. They also tend to hyperextend joints and skin tissue more on average.
Chronic pain, osteoarthritis, and severe bruising are all common symptoms. Less common symptoms of EDS include early onset debilitating, chronic pain, scoliosis, and certain gum diseases.
Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are differentiated by the specific route they take to target connective tissue in the body. Physicians identify the variant of EDS by pinpointing the specific pattern of symptoms and their onset times.
If you suspect you might be suffering an EDS, your doctor may refer you to a geneticist more equipped to identify your symptoms because Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are genetic disorders.
Because chronic pain and joint problems are becoming more common in our aging population, Ehlers-Danlos syndromes may be underdiagnosed.
Holistic Therapy & EDS
The role of holistic therapy in treating Ehlers-Danlos syndromes centers around removing the opportunity for symptoms to impact your life in the first place.
“We often use the analogy of pandora’s box. Inside the box are all of the systems that any type of genetic condition has the ability to cause – such as pain, hypermobility, sensitivity, etc.,” say many DCs (Doctors of Chiropractic), who specialize in CRPS treatment (known as complex regional pain syndrome) and EDS. “However, if you can keep the box locked, patients tend to not be symptomatic, even though they have the genetic potential to be. We believe that our treatment works by locking the box again.”
For those suffering from an EDS or a complication resultant of EDS, holistic therapy offers sustainable and affordable management of symptoms which focuses on prevention rather than treatment.
What is Holistic Therapy?
Integrating holistic therapies into traditional patient care paradigms has proven successful in some instances. For example, mindfulness has proven incredibly effective at helping manage symptoms in sufferers of heart disease, chronic migraines, and even autoimmune diseases. Overall, holistic therapies can offer non-intrusive solutions to improve the quality of life in a variety of patients.
Alternative healthcare providers as a whole tend to take a more personalized approach in treating patients, as compared to providers that work within traditional healthcare paradigms.
Another way holistic providers differentiate themselves from traditional practices is by aiming to treat the affliction at its root, rather than focusing on symptom management. Whereas traditional medical paradigms address problems in the body as separate entities, holistic practitioners look at the body as a whole entity and plan their treatments around this philosophy.
Psychological and emotional wellness are integral to the success of holistic treatment plans. Examples of holistic treatments include mindfulness practices such as meditation and even acupuncture.
The Role of Integrative Medicine
Integrative medicine refers to the practice of healthcare professionals combining traditional medical care with holistic or “alternative” therapies. Integrated medicine endorses the idea that the most effective patient care is a strategy in which traditional care is not only supplemented by holistic methods but actually works in tandem with traditional practices.
Integrative medical care capitalizes on the connection between the mind and the body to give patients a sustainable, long-term healthcare management plan. Holistic approaches to medicine allow for unintrusive and often more affordable alternatives to some less effective, more expensive practices in traditional medicine.
Plus, expanding the healthcare space beyond the traditional healthcare infrastructure helps patients cut through bureaucratic bloat and make personal connections with their healthcare providers. And more connectivity between patients and healthcare providers leads to more personalized and, ultimately, more effective care.