Why Is My Left Side Suddenly as Sore as My Right?

Even in my own body, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome symptoms respond differently

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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If I had to pick a place on my body that would cause me issues with my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), it’d basically be anywhere on my right side. I’ve injured my right shoulder, ankle, knee, hip, and hand. Thankfully, my left side hasn’t been nearly as battered as my right, but recently the muscles on the left side seem to think that getting in on the game sounds like fun. I really wish that they wouldn’t!

I’ve always had a tendency to shift various activities to my left side to protect my much-maligned right, so that’s not new. Nor is it unheard of for me to have pain on my left side, of course, but the past month or two, it seems like it’s bothering me more than it has before.

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Long ago I realized that my hip and back frequently play off one another; if one gets aggravated, it often radiates to the other — and inflames everything in between as well. I’ve noticed that I have soreness in the muscles along the left side of my ribs and up into my shoulder, as well as down into my hip and gluteus medius, a muscle a bit below my lower back. That has a sharp trigger point right now, and if I hit it, it radiates all the way up my side.

This phenomenon has occurred on my right side countless times. My massage therapist and I often joke about how much my right side likes to party (get angry and inflamed) and tries to persuade others who usually behave (other muscles, particularly on the left) to join in as well.

I’m not sure why those inflamed areas are now shifting and occurring on my left side, too. We’ve made a lot of progress on my right side over the years, so maybe it’s always been on the left — only now I’m noticing it more since my right side feels better. Or perhaps it’s something new, a different type of compensatory pain.

Either way, I don’t know that it matters, other than to satisfy my own curiosity.

It’s a perfect example of how managing EDS feels a lot like playing a game of whack-a-mole: knock down one concern, and another pops up in its place. I do hope, however, that the strategies that have been effective in calming down and managing this issue on my right side are effective on the left as well. I honestly don’t know whether they will be. Even within my own body, EDS doesn’t always seem to respond the same way.

I suppose that as my massage therapist and I try to tackle this in the next few weeks, we’ll find out.

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 another 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.


Terri Russell avatar

Terri Russell

I have EDSh and Pots and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome that came on severely because of my shots for covid. I wondered if anyone else had this experience.

Paul Ogden avatar

Paul Ogden

It's a weird one, isn't it? I have the same issues that dictate which side I attempt to sleep on. I'm naturally right handed but that side is useless for driving and other stuff. I have gastric, lung, cardiac issues but they do seem to down in part to Cranio Cervicle Instability and other Cervicle Spine issues. I particularly enjoyed my sudden cardiac arrest!!

Susan L Leibler avatar

Susan L Leibler

Ah! The intricacies of EDS! I'm now 65, diagnosed in 1994. You wouldn't believe the come-and-go symptoms - especially as I age. Aging makes it all worse. It seems as though NOTHING is related - rt shoulder collapses at night, left ribs bend in. First rt heel can't walk on, then left, then both. Occasionally I can move my teeth, bleeding gums, dentist has a hard time cos teeth are "short". Mitral valve prolapse can scare the crap out of you when it's fluttering or pounding. Gastroesophageal reflux (cannot swallow if even slightly slumped). Chronic fatigue, extreme. Brain fog, extreme. Adducted thumbs, sometimes fingers don't work at all. Gastrointestinal pain, constipation, extreme. I cannot regulate my body temperature and am either too hot or too cold, extremes in both directions 10x/day. Achilles tendon pain. Bolt of lightening stabs skull, ripples around scalp. Proprioception (can't feel where I am- as in laying in bed) Stereognosis (I cannot feel what is in my hand unless I look at it.)

All I am really saying is that whatever EDS does to you, you'll never understand. I've been trying to get into studies at Mayo Clinic and Shands Hospital, but if they aren't conducting a specific study, they won't see you. That's the problem with orphan diseases. I wish you much luck & comfort. Good luck.


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