On painful EDS days, a little humor can be just what the doctor ordered

I imagine my various body parts have their own personalities

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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When painful Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) symptoms get me down, I like to imagine that my body’s sore spots have their own personalities.

No, I’m not crazy; I don’t actually believe they have their own feelings. But it’s entertaining to pretend they do. I find that joking about it is a good form of stress release and offers entertainment when I’m frustrated or dealing with a painful EDS flare.

So, for a bit of fun and levity in the middle of the winter, here’s a list of how I imagine my different injuries have their own unique personalities.

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Right shoulder: My right shoulder, which has extensive damage, is jealous and angry. It seems to be the catalyst for many other problems. When aggravated, it’ll rile up everything around it, like the party crasher who brings all the fun to a screeching halt. If my right shoulder flares, it’s likely to prompt a cascading pain flare.

Right ankle: Wispy and unstable, my ankle seems incapable of deciding what it wants. Should it join the throng of pain and discomfort in the rest of my body or stand up for itself and retain a level of independence? Sometimes my ankle joins the pain flares, but other times it remains relatively stable — at least for someone with EDS. I’m never exactly sure what it will do.

Back: Tough and stubborn, my back doesn’t seem to like it when things don’t go its way. If something is out of alignment, all bets are off, and it will desperately try to stabilize by tightening the muscles along my spine. It doesn’t like to give in, and getting those muscles to relax can feel like a test of will for my massage therapist. Once my back muscles flare up, it can be difficult to calm them back down. My back is stubborn!

Right ring finger: Conciliatory and resilient, my right ring finger has actually surprised me. After shattering it once, I was concerned about how much function I’d have, especially when the surgeon and physical therapist realized that my extensor tendon, which runs along the back of my hand, also was damaged.

For several months, I couldn’t straighten my finger. But, to my surprise, after months of physical and occupational therapy, and many more months of moderate use, it has recovered better than I had expected. It’s not perfect and doesn’t look pretty, but it’s one of the few major injuries that doesn’t bother me every day. While the pain occasionally flares, most of the time my finger feels pretty good.

Having EDS usually isn’t a cause for laughter, but comedy does help to ease my burden. It can be a great form of alternative “medicine.”

Do you find humor helpful on difficult days? Share your jokes in the comments below. 

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.


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