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  • Writer's pictureMin Jeon

EDS: Don't Overextend Yourself, Find Relief.

Welcome to our blog, where we embark on a journey through the landscape of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). Whether you're seeking information, recently diagnosed, or just curious about this intricate condition, you've found a space dedicated to help you better understand this condition and how to find potential relief from the symptoms of EDS.

For those familiar with EDS, you've likely navigated its diverse challenges. To those new to this experience, you may be just beginning to learn of the condition’s unique aspects. Regardless of where you stand, this blog is here to help you gain more knowledge and understanding of EDS and potential ways to help improve the symptoms you may be experiencing.

In this blog, we'll explore the specifics of EDS, delving into its causes and symptoms and the potential benefits of acupuncture for treating EDS. So join us as we explore the ins and outs of this condition.

Understanding Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a group of rare genetic connective tissue disorders characterized by a defect in the structure, production, or processing of collagen, a key protein that provides strength and elasticity to various tissues in the body. Connective tissues support and bind together organs, blood vessels, skin, and other structures. When collagen is affected, it can lead to a wide range of symptoms and complications.

There are several subtypes of EDS, each with its own set of features and severity. The most common types include:

Classical EDS (cEDS): 

Characterized by skin that is smooth, hyperelastic (stretchy), and prone to bruising. Joint hypermobility is a common feature, and individuals may experience joint dislocations or subluxations.

Hypermobility EDS (hEDS): 

Primarily characterized by joint hypermobility and joint pain. Skin involvement is usually less prominent compared to classical EDS.

Vascular EDS (vEDS): 

This is a more severe form, associated with a higher risk of life-threatening complications such as arterial and organ rupture. Individuals with vEDS often have thin, translucent skin and facial features that include a thin nose and lips.

Kyphoscoliotic EDS (kEDS): 

Features include severe muscle weakness, curvature of the spine (kyphoscoliosis), and joint laxity. Individuals may experience respiratory difficulties due to muscle weakness.

Arthrochalasia EDS (aEDS): 

Characterized by joint hypermobility, severe joint laxity, and a tendency for joint dislocations. Individuals with aEDS may also have soft, doughy skin.

Dermatosparaxis EDS (dEDS): 

Characterized by extremely fragile skin that may sag and be prone to tearing or bruising. Joint hypermobility is also present.

Brittle Cornea Syndrome (BCS): 

A subtype characterized by thin corneas that can lead to corneal rupture.

The genetic mutations associated with EDS affect the production, processing, or structure of collagen, disrupting the normal function of connective tissues. This can result in weakened ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels, leading to the characteristic features and complications associated with each subtype.

It's crucial for individuals with suspected EDS to consult with healthcare professionals for a proper diagnosis.

Potential Causes of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a group of rare genetic disorders that affect the connective tissues in the body. There are several subtypes of EDS, and each has its own specific genetic cause. Here are some of the known causes of different EDS subtypes:

Classical EDS (cEDS):

  • Spontaneous mutations (de novo) during the formation of reproductive cells or early embryonic development.

  • Inherited from an affected parent with a mutated COL5A1 or COL5A2 gene.

Hypermobility EDS (hEDS):

  • Genetic predisposition with a combination of multiple genetic factors influencing the development and expression of hEDS.

  • Interactions between genetic variants and environmental factors that contribute to the hypermobility and related symptoms.

Vascular EDS (vEDS):

  • Spontaneous mutations in COL3A1 during the formation of reproductive cells or early embryonic development.

  • Inherited from an affected parent with a mutated COL3A1 gene.

  • Mutations result in alterations to type III collagen, leading to vascular fragility.

Kyphoscoliotic EDS (kEDS):

  • Spontaneous mutations in the PLOD1 gene during gamete formation or early development.

  • Inherited from an affected parent with a mutated PLOD1 gene.

  • PLOD1 mutations affect collagen processing, leading to the characteristic features of kEDS.

Arthrochalasia EDS (aEDS):

  • Spontaneous mutations in COL1A1 or COL1A2 during reproductive cell formation or early embryonic development.

  • Inherited from an affected parent with a mutated COL1A1 or COL1A2 gene.

  • Mutations disrupt type I collagen synthesis or structure, contributing to aEDS symptoms.

Dermatosparaxis EDS (dEDS):

  • Spontaneous mutations in the ADAMTS2 gene during gamete formation or early development.

  • Inherited from an affected parent with a mutated ADAMTS2 gene.

  • Mutations in ADAMTS2 affect collagen processing, leading to the characteristic skin fragility in dEDS.

Brittle Cornea Syndrome (BCS):

  • Spontaneous mutations in ZNF469 or PRDM5 during gamete formation or early embryonic development.

  • Inherited from an affected parent with a mutated ZNF469 or PRDM5 gene.

  • Mutations in these genes result in abnormalities in corneal collagen, causing corneal fragility in BCS.

It's important to emphasize that genetic mutations can have various origins, and the specific causes may vary between individuals. Genetic testing and counseling are essential for a more accurate understanding of the individual's genetic profile and the inheritance pattern in families affected by Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

It's important to note that genetic testing is typically required to diagnose the specific subtype of EDS and identify the underlying genetic mutations. Additionally, some cases of EDS may not have a confirmed genetic cause as of the last knowledge update in January 2022, and research in this field continues to evolve. If you suspect you have EDS or have a family history of EDS, it is advisable to consult with a geneticist or healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and appropriate genetic testing.

Potential Symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

It's important to note that symptoms can vary widely among individuals, even within the same subtype, and this list provides a general overview of symptoms:

Classical EDS (cEDS):

  • Skin hyperelasticity and fragility.

  • Joint hypermobility with a tendency to develop dislocations and subluxations.

  • Easy bruising and scarring.

  • Soft, doughy skin that is easily traumatized.

  • Muscle hypotonia (weakness).

  • Gastrointestinal issues.

Hypermobility EDS (hEDS):

  • Joint hypermobility with frequent dislocations or subluxations.

  • Chronic joint pain and fatigue.

  • Soft or velvety skin.

  • Easy bruising.

  • Gastrointestinal problems.

  • Autonomic dysfunction, such as orthostatic intolerance.

Vascular EDS (vEDS):

  • Thin, translucent skin that is easily bruised.

  • Arterial or organ rupture, which can be life-threatening.

  • Joint hypermobility.

  • Facial features including a thin nose, lobeless ears, and prominent eyes.

  • Easy bruising with minimal trauma.

  • Gastrointestinal and uterine complications.

Kyphoscoliotic EDS (kEDS):

  • Severe curvature of the spine (kyphoscoliosis) at birth.

  • Joint hypermobility with a risk of dislocations.

  • Fragile, elastic skin.

  • Muscle weakness.

  • Ocular fragility, including a risk of rupture.

  • Respiratory complications.

Arthrochalasia EDS (aEDS):

  • Severe joint hypermobility with a tendency for frequent dislocations.

  • Congenital hip dislocation.

  • Hyperelastic skin that is prone to bruising.

  • Muscle hypotonia.

  • Short stature.

  • Facial features including a round face and a small chin.

Dermatosparaxis EDS (dEDS):

  • Extremely fragile and sagging skin.

  • Severe bruising.

  • Joint laxity.

  • Delayed wound healing.

  • Short stature.

  • Facial features with a soft and doughy appearance.

Brittle Cornea Syndrome (BCS):

  • Severe thinning and fragility of the cornea.

  • Increased risk of corneal ruptures or perforations, even with minimal trauma.

  • High susceptibility to corneal infections.

  • Joint hypermobility (may be less pronounced compared to other EDS subtypes).

  • Hyperelastic and fragile skin.

  • Easy bruising and scarring.

  • Facial features may include a prominent forehead, wide-set eyes, and a small chin.

The symptoms of EDS can vary widely, but common features include joint hypermobility, skin that is easily bruised and hyperelastic, and a tendency for wounds to heal slowly. Additionally, individuals with EDS may experience chronic pain, fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, and problems with the cardiovascular and nervous systems.

It's important to consult with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and accurate diagnosis.

Potential Factors That May Exacerbate Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Symptoms

Below are some potential factors that may exacerbate symptoms of EDS. Factors may vary for each individual and may include:

Classical EDS (cEDS):

  • Overexertion and strenuous physical activities.

  • Joint hyperextension and repetitive stress on joints.

  • Poor posture and inadequate muscle support.

  • Insufficient protection for the skin, leading to easy bruising and scarring.

  • Hormonal fluctuations, such as those during menstruation.

Hypermobility EDS (hEDS):

  • Overexertion and excessive physical activities.

  • Joint hypermobility and frequent dislocations or subluxations.

  • Prolonged or repetitive stress on joints.

  • Poor posture and weak muscle support.

  • Emotional stress and autonomic dysfunction.

  • Hormonal fluctuations, which may impact symptom severity.

Vascular EDS (vEDS):

  • Activities that pose a risk of trauma to blood vessels and organs.

  • Joint hypermobility and potential joint dislocations.

  • Medications that affect blood vessel integrity.

  • Emotional stress and its impact on vascular fragility.

  • Hormonal fluctuations, potentially influencing vascular symptoms.

Kyphoscoliotic EDS (kEDS):

  • Activities that strain the spine and exacerbate kyphoscoliosis.

  • Joint hypermobility and the risk of joint dislocations.

  • Muscle weakness and the potential for respiratory complications.

  • Hormonal fluctuations, which may impact muscle and joint function.

Arthrochalasia EDS (aEDS):

  • Severe joint hypermobility and the risk of frequent dislocations.

  • Activities that strain joints and connective tissues.

  • Short stature and its impact on joint mechanics.

  • Hormonal fluctuations, potentially influencing joint laxity.

Dermatosparaxis EDS (dEDS):

  • Trauma or activities leading to skin injuries.

  • Joint laxity and the potential for joint dislocations.

  • Delayed wound healing.

  • Short stature and associated joint issues.

  • Hormonal fluctuations, potentially affecting skin integrity.

Brittle Cornea Syndrome (BCS):

  • Minimal trauma to the cornea, leading to ruptures or perforations.

  • Joint hypermobility (less pronounced compared to other EDS subtypes).

  • Fragile and elastic skin with a tendency for easy bruising and scarring.

  • Hormonal fluctuations, potentially influencing corneal and connective tissue health.

It's important to note that while these factors may exacerbate symptoms, individual experiences can vary widely. Management and prevention strategies should be tailored to each person's specific needs, and consultation with healthcare professionals familiar with EDS is essential for comprehensive care.

Potential Benefits of Acupuncture for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Pain Relief:

EDS is often associated with chronic pain due to joint hypermobility and connective tissue issues. Acupuncture's potential to stimulate endorphin release may provide relief from the persistent pain experienced by individuals with EDS.

Reduced Muscle Tension:

Many individuals with EDS experience muscle spasms and tension, especially in areas surrounding hypermobile joints. Acupuncture's potential to induce muscle relaxation could alleviate discomfort and improve daily functioning.

Improved Joint Mobility:

EDS can lead to joint instability and reduced range of motion. By enhancing blood flow to joints, acupuncture may potentially contribute to improved mobility, helping individuals with EDS move more comfortably.

Enhanced Circulation:

EDS can involve vascular complications, and improved circulation through acupuncture may help address issues related to blood flow, potentially benefiting individuals with EDS who experience circulatory challenges.

Stress Reduction:

Chronic pain and the challenges associated with EDS can contribute to stress and anxiety. Acupuncture's potential to modulate the autonomic nervous system may help individuals with EDS manage stress and enhance their overall well-being.

Better Sleep:

Sleep disturbances are common in individuals with chronic pain conditions like EDS. By reducing pain and promoting relaxation, acupuncture may potentially contribute to improved sleep quality for individuals with EDS.

Pain Management:

Acupuncture's potential to interfere with pain signals through the gate control theory could offer an additional tool for managing pain.

Improved Energy Levels:

Fatigue is a common symptom in EDS, and acupuncture may help improve energy levels by potentially modulating neuroendocrine pathways, such as endorphin release and parasympathetic nervous system activation. Additionally, its impact on circulatory dynamics and stress responses may potentially contribute to an overall improvement.

Enhanced Mind-Body Connection:

EDS can impact both physical and mental well-being. Acupuncture's promotion of mindfulness and the mind-body connection may help individuals with EDS better navigate the complexities of living with a chronic condition.

Reduced Inflammation:

EDS: Inflammation is often associated with EDS, contributing to joint pain and tissue damage. Acupuncture's potential anti-inflammatory effects may offer a complementary approach to managing inflammation in individuals with EDS.

Individualized Treatment:

EDS is a heterogeneous condition with varying symptoms among individuals. Acupuncture's individualized approach allows for tailoring treatments to address specific symptoms and concerns, potentially providing more personalized benefits.

It's crucial to emphasize that while some individuals with EDS report positive experiences with acupuncture, experiences may vary.

Additional Steps to Potentially Help Improve the Symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Some individuals find relief from certain symptoms through various methods. It's important to note that these suggestions may vary in effectiveness from person to person, and consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial before incorporating any new treatments. In addition to acupuncture, here are some methods that some individuals experiencing EDS may have found helpful:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 

Found in chia seeds and flaxseeds, omega-3 fatty acids may have anti-inflammatory properties that could potentially help with joint pain and inflammation.

Turmeric and Curcumin: 

Turmeric, a spice, contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Some people find relief from joint pain by incorporating turmeric into their diet or taking curcumin supplements.


Ginger has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It can be consumed in various forms, such as fresh ginger in tea or as a supplement.

Vitamin D: 

Adequate levels of vitamin D are important for bone health. Spending some brief time in the sun, consuming vitamin D-rich foods, or taking supplements may be beneficial.


Magnesium is involved in muscle and nerve function. Some people with EDS find relief from muscle cramps and spasms by ensuring they have sufficient magnesium levels through diet or supplements.


Found in fruits and vegetables, quercetin is a flavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties. It may help manage inflammation associated with EDS.

Massage Therapy: 

Massage can help reduce muscle tension, improve circulation, and alleviate pain. A skilled massage therapist familiar with EDS can tailor the approach to individual needs.


Warm water exercises or hydrotherapy can provide gentle resistance and support for joints, aiding in muscle strengthening and pain management.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet: 

Emphasize foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, fruits and chia and flax seeds, while minimizing dairy, refined sugars, processed foods, and potential trigger foods.


Staying adequately hydrated is important for overall health and can help maintain the elasticity of connective tissues.

Mind-Body Techniques: 

Practices like meditation, deep breathing, or guided imagery may help manage stress and potentially improve symptoms.

Physical Therapy: 

Tailored exercise programs designed by a physical therapist can help improve joint stability, muscle strength, and overall mobility. Aquatic therapy, in particular, may be beneficial for those with EDS.

Occupational Therapy: 

Occupational therapists can provide adaptive strategies to make daily tasks easier and minimize strain on joints. They may also recommend assistive devices.

Low-impact Exercise: 

Engaging in low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking, or cycling may help maintain cardiovascular health without putting excessive stress on the joints.

Joint Protection Techniques: 

Learning and practicing joint protection techniques can help prevent injury and reduce the strain on affected joints. This may include proper body mechanics and ergonomics.

Massage Therapy: 

Gentle massage therapy from a practitioner familiar with EDS may help manage muscle tension and discomfort. However, caution is needed to avoid excessive pressure on fragile tissues.

Heat and Cold Therapy: 

Applying heat or cold packs to affected areas may help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. It's essential to use these therapies cautiously and consult with a healthcare professional.

It's crucial to discuss any remedies or supplements with your healthcare provider to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your specific situation, as well as to avoid potential interactions with other medications. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or making significant changes to your routine. They can provide guidance based on your specific condition and medical history.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a complex and often challenging condition that can significantly impact the lives of those affected. The multifaceted nature of EDS, involving genetic factors and collagen abnormalities, underscores the importance of a comprehensive approach to treating its symptoms. From joint hypermobility to skin fragility, the diverse manifestations of EDS require a tailored treatment plan.

Acupuncture emerges as a beacon of hope for symptom relief in individuals with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). Demonstrating efficacy in alleviating pain, enhancing joint stability, and promoting overall well-being, acupuncture stands as a promising avenue for those grappling with the challenges of EDS. As ongoing research in the field unfolds and more evidence surfaces, the potential benefits of acupuncture in treating EDS offer optimism for improved symptom management and a more optimistic future for those navigating the intricacies of this often misunderstood syndrome. Encouraging a comprehensive approach to EDS care, acupuncture presents an empowering option for individuals to potentially navigate their journey more effectively and find relief.

Don't overextend yourself, find relief!

If you are exploring the potential benefits of acupuncture for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), we invite you to contact us at the Acupuncture and Wellness Clinic. Dr. Min K. Jeon, our highly skilled and dedicated acupuncturist, possesses extensive experience in acupuncture and complementary therapies. She strives to enhance the well-being of her patients and has consistently observed significant improvements in those patients, including individuals with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

For those interested in meeting with Dr. Min to discuss potential treatment for EDS , please reach out to us at Acupuncture and Wellness Clinic to schedule a free consultation. During this consultation, Dr. Min will take the time to discuss your concerns, answer questions, conduct an evaluation, and tailor a potential treatment plan to suit your unique needs. Embark on your journey towards improved well-being, schedule a free consultation! 

We look forward to hearing from you!

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