Management of pain and fatigue in the joint hypermobility syndrome (a.k.a. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypermobility type): principles and proposal for a multidisciplinary approach.


Abstract:
Joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS), or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) hypermobility type (EDS-HT), is a underdiagnosed heritable connective tissue disorder characterized by generalized joint hypermobility and a wide range of visceral, pelvic, neurologic, and cognitive dysfunctions. Deterioration of quality of life is mainly associated with pain and fatigue. Except for the recognized effectiveness of physiotherapy for some musculoskeletal features, there are no standardized guidelines for the assessment and treatment of pain and fatigue. In this work, a practical classification of pain presentations and factors contributing in generating painful sensations in JHS/EDS-HT is proposed. Pain can be topographically classified in articular limb (acute/subacute and chronic), muscular limb (myofascial and fibromyalgia), neuropathic limb, back/neck, abdominal and pelvic pain, and headache. For selected forms of pain, specific predisposing characteristics are outlined. Fatigue appears as the result of multiple factors, including muscle weakness, respiratory insufficiency, unrefreshing sleep, dysautonomia, intestinal malabsorption, reactive depression/anxiety, and excessive use of analgesics.  A set of lifestyle recommendations to instruct patients as well as specific investigations aimed at characterizing pain and fatigue are identified. Available treatment options are discussed in the set of a structured multidisciplinary approach based on reliable outcome tools.



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