Learning how to reduce joint pain with EDS by improving body awareness can be tricky. There are 3 systems that play a major role in this process. The most common joint pain areas related to EDS are low back, neck, shoulder, and knee. If you have at least 2 of these 4 common pain sites, you may have experienced multiple doctor visits. These visit include specialized imaging, steroid shots, and may even surgical procedures. These are all ways to manage chronic pain but rarely ever target the true source of dysfunction.
Most individuals with chronic pain have poor body awareness. Meaning, they lack the reflexes, stability, and coordination required to function properly without causing unnecessary stress. Whether it’s old bad habits or compensation from previous injuries, awareness is key to reducing chronic pain symptoms. Scroll down to find the specifics on how to reduce joint pain with EDS by improving body awareness.
Targeting the Vestibular System Using Balance and Eye-tracking Exercises to Reduce Joint Pain
“Brain games” that target the vestibular system can be very effective physical therapy techniques to help reduce your joint pain. “Brain Games” include activities related to balance and eye-tracking exercises. These tasks provide more awareness to the body on various surfaces and terrain reducing our need to compensate for that movement. A majority of our pain is derived from compensation patterns that use muscles in a less efficient position. Therefore, by reducing compensation, the right muscles are activated to reduce strain and pain.
Here is an example of visual tracking exercises: Horizontal tracking video
Our bodies are meant to heal and when given the right dose of “medicine”, our body responds well. That “medicine” is movement awareness. Begin to explore balance, visual tracking, and gross coordination as your starting point to reduce chronic pain. Process is slow but is effective and longer lasting.
Visual Tracking Exercises to Reduce Chronic Neck Pain
A common example is chronic neck pain. We tend to use our head as a way to compensate for our eyes. The head in a forward position can be related to visual tracking deficits. We have tiny muscles in our eye that help move our eyes in all directions. These movements allow for quick scanning during day to day activities. The issue is, if we do not have the coordinated tracking, we compensate at the neck or jaw. Some compensation strategies include:
- Moving the head in the more forward or to the side
- Jaw clenching
- Shoulder shrugging
All 4 strategies can result in muscle tightness, joint pain, and headaches. It can then begin causing problems at other parts of the body as the compensation gets worse. Rather than focusing on pure strengthening activities, tap into your Vestibular system to start building a foundation of movement.
If you would like to learn additional ways to improve your body awareness or discuss how the Parr PT method can help you with joint pain related to EDS, click here to schedule a FREE consultation.