There are many serious medical conditions that are not well understood by doctors, and may not even be understood by the people who are dealing with the illness or injury. One such condition is a genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects the ligaments of a person’s body and results in loose joints.

According to sources, people experience many different forms of EDS. People with mild EDS may be double-jointed. In fact, mild EDS may affect as many as one in every 100 people. However, severe EDS is much rarer and more debilitating. People with severe EDS have such loose joints connecting their bones that they may not be able to walk or support their head. It can be a devastating condition that can disrupt a person’s entire life. 

For one woman, it started when a she was a young child. She was taken to the hospital multiple times for dislocated joints in her elbows, jaws and shoulders, and it happened so often that hospital workers suspected that the girl was being abused. As the girl grew up, she experienced more severe growing pains than other kids her age and was not allowed to play sports. Her teenage years were spent in various braces, battling headaches, breathing difficulty and vision problems. As an adult, she went through times when she couldn’t walk on her own or hold her head up.

However, after years of suffering, the woman discovered that there might be a spinal surgery that could help her regain some of her independence. She had not found success with physical therapy and her symptoms were getting worse and worse. But after the surgery, she could walk at least 200 feet on her own and felt markedly better.

Serious physical disorders like EDS can make it very difficult for a person to function the same way that they used to. As time passes, their condition can get progressively worse, making it nearly impossible to complete certain tasks. When these conditions affect a person’s ability to work, it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney about filing for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits so a person can have the financial support to seek medical care and cover living expenses.

Source: The Washington Post, “When flexible becomes too flexible,” Jeff Leen, March 10, 2014