Every day I’m incredibly thankful to be able to see a fantastic massage therapist on a regular basis.
People often don’t understand how Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), which causes loose tendons and ligaments, leads to exceptionally tight muscles. Once I explain that it’s my body’s compensatory effort to try to make up for the laxity in my joints, they better understand it. But there are so many other benefits of massage.
When I’m tight and sore, my chronic fatigue, a common issue for those with EDS, gets even worse. I’ll wake up feeling just as exhausted as I did the night before, regardless of how many hours I slept. Being sore is both physically and mentally exhausting. One of the best things about a massage is that I almost always wake up the next day feeling rested, and it’s amazing. This usually happens for a few days after each massage. Besides feeling more physically comfortable, this is the best part.
Being sore is also mentally taxing. Like many individuals with EDS, I also manage anxiety. Research has shown that pain is strongly related to these types of mental disorders, and I can absolutely see why. It can be frustrating, exhausting, and tiring to go through the day feeling physically uncomfortable, and I have noticed that my anxiety level is often connected to my pain level.
My mindset plays a huge role in my anxiety and in how I’m able to deal with each day. For many years, I was not a positive person. It wasn’t until after I was diagnosed and began physical therapy and massage that I finally started controlling my pain and saw just how much my physical well-being affected my mental health. It’s one of the reasons why I’m so dedicated to self-care, despite my occasional tendency to simply ignore my symptoms and do what I want anyway!
Self-care is even more important than usual now that everyone’s stress levels are at an all-time high. For me, that not only includes massage but riding and caring for my horses and connecting with friends, even if we can’t actually get together. Even seemingly small things make a huge difference.
I encourage you to find a few minutes to do whatever helps you feel uplifted. Whether it’s taking your dog on a walk and enjoying the outdoors, reading a good book, or baking those favorite cookies, the time you spend is worth the positive trade-off!
Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.
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