When I expect an EDS flare-up, sometimes it doesn’t happen

At times it seems that EDS pain flares have no rhyme or reason

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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Just when I think I know how my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) will react in certain situations, I’m always surprised at what actually happens.

My dog Pepper has recently been having trouble climbing stairs. She’s 13, and I’ve had her for two years. I knew that at some point she’d likely need a ramp, but she’d been doing pretty well until recently, when it became clear that a ramp would make her life much easier.

Sometimes when things need to happen, it doesn’t really matter that I have EDS. Pepper clearly needed a ramp, my usual help was out of town, and I have the skills to build one myself, so that’s what I did. I swung by the local hardware store after work one afternoon to pick up the wood, grabbed my tools, borrowed a neighbor’s saw, and went to work.

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As I hauled the wood, leaned over to cut the pieces, and held them in place to screw them together, I could feel my muscles working. From the beginning, I knew there was a good chance I’d be sore the next day, and I could potentially set off a pain flare.

We can certainly debate the merits of me doing something I knew might cause problems, but that’s the stubborn me in a nutshell. And no, I definitely don’t recommend being as stupid and stubborn as I sometimes am when it comes to my EDS.

Something needed to get done, I had the knowledge to do it, and no one else was available to help me. Sometimes the way I ignore my EDS is a truly terrible coping mechanism. I knew there was a strong chance this would be one of the times my stubbornness would backfire on me, but I still plowed ahead and tried to ignore the potential consequences.

None of the pieces of wood were terribly big or heavy, and I had enough sense to try to make the project as manageable as possible. I had several pieces precut to smaller sizes, so nothing was that hard to handle.

Completing the ramp required several hours of lifting, moving up and down, and putting things together, and the longer I worked, the sorer I became. My shoulder gives me plenty of trouble even on a good day, so I knew I was tempting fate.

By the time I finished about three hours later, I was certain I was in for it the next day. My back hurt, my leg muscles ached, and I was just plain tired. I had dinner, took some ibuprofen, and went to bed on my heating pad. But at least Pepper could now go in and out of the house easily, so despite my pain, I was happy knowing I’d made her life easier and more comfortable.

I was shocked the next morning when I woke up and was only a little sore. My back and shoulder were mildly painful, I wasn’t overly stiff, and my legs just felt like I’d done a lot of extra walking the previous day. I was obviously delighted not to feel like a physical train wreck, but I also couldn’t figure out why I didn’t feel that way. I still don’t know.

Every once in a while, I’m pleasantly surprised that my EDS hasn’t flared. It might not make sense, but I’ll never complain about feeling better than expected. That probably won’t be the case the next time I do something that’s a bad idea, but I’ll take it when I can get it!

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.


Tina Schwartz avatar

Tina Schwartz

Is there any physicians who specialize in Ehlers-Danlos in Iowa? I heard they do not at the University of Iowa hospitals and clinics anymore

De P avatar

De P

THANK YOU. our wiener is 16 and picking her up too much has me in an immobile wrist splint 23 hrs a day for next 6 weeks. She has had ramp now for about 5 months.
🙏🏼 she has been trying to cross rb bridge for 2 weeks now.

Anne Klinedinst avatar

Anne Klinedinst

Your post all sounded extremely familiar! I've had that happen a few times lately. I guess we are both getting stronger. The ending of my spring cleaning didn't have a happy ending, I've been in the hospital since Thursday. Darn disease.

Anoushka Van Doorn avatar

Anoushka Van Doorn

For me it’s always a few days later. Like my energy is high and suddenly everything is run out. Until that time everything is better then it was befor.


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