As part of HMSA Awareness Campaign during Hypermobility week, I would like to share a story of a patient who came to see me about her ankle which was affecting her ability to walk for long distances. During the initial consultation I identified that the patient was hypermobile and that this was the root cause of the pain and was affecting the way that she walked which was also causing her lower back pain.
Georgina started treatment and noticed improvements straight away. Nine months later she was able to go on a sightseeing trip to Italy and comfortably walk for 6 hours per day, this is her story:
“Two years ago, at the age of 60, I was suffering a lot of pain and swelling in one ankle and was eventually referred to an orthopaedic consultant. I was told that I had no alternative but to undergo extensive surgery to rebuild the soft tissue around my ankle. Having already had a total hip replacement the previous year at the relatively early age of 59, I did not want to revisit major surgery so soon and on the advice of a good friend, I made an appointment with AposHealth® almost as a last resort.
I did not even know I was hypermobile until I walked into the AposHealth® clinic. Within about 30 seconds, my therapist recognized that I was hypermobile. I knew I had very mobile joints, but I just thought that was normal! I have had chronic back and neck problems and almost daily headaches since I was a teenager. I never associated that with what I now realise is hypermobility.
I have been to more doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, masseurs, Reiki healers – you name it – than I can hope to remember. Some of them brought some temporary relief; some of them didn’t. I have taken more analgesics, quite literally, than most people have had proverbial hot dinners. It has just become a way of life.
I have also suffered from extreme fatigue for many years and have had countless blood tests, which have all come back ‘normal’. I was beginning to feel as if it was ‘all in my head’. I was even prescribed antidepressants for a while and was on steroids for two years. I gave up both, as I believed they were only masking the symptoms.
Let me talk about the benefits that I experienced from AposHealth®: Within a few months of using the boots, all pain in my ankle had gone and the swelling was hugely reduced. Two years later, I continue to use the boots and I have never been back to the orthopaedic consultant since, as I really feel I don’t need to. I regularly walk miles. My back (not the reason I went to Apos!) has gradually improved to the point where I can now say that it is causing me fewer problems than it has in nearly 50 years. Occasionally it aches, but I always know what has caused it – usually carrying something heavy – and I can control that. I would recommend AposHealth® to anyone with similar problems, and my main regret is that I didn’t discover it earlier. I may well have avoided the hip surgery.
Discovering I was hypermobile has been a longer, more complicated and very interesting journey. I was determined to get a formal diagnosis, more for my son’s sake than mine. My GP referred me to a rheumatologist, who was not interested, and then to a geneticist.
He told me that I most likely have EDS Type 3, and that my son probably has the same. We are also almost certain that my mother, who died at 86 and suffered a lifetime of pain, had the same condition. There is no cure, but knowing what one is dealing with is so useful. I live in Devon, so going to London for treatment, over and above the three-monthly AposTheray® visits, was not a viable option.
However, as soon as I knew what I needed help with, it was not difficult to find a wonderful physiotherapist who specialises in EDS and fibromyalgia – which she has also diagnosed and told me goes hand-in-hand with EDS. Needless to say, this is not on the NHS. I pay for it, but it is worth every penny and more. My physio and Seema my therapist at AposHealth® have contacted each other to discuss a treatment programme for me.
AposHealth® was not something that my local physio had come across before, but she thinks the principle is excellent and she has designed a daily exercise programme for me to be carried out in conjunction with my AposHealth® programme. I cannot claim that I am never without pain, but now I feel much more in control, as I can nearly always pinpoint what has caused it.
If I do too much gardening, lifting of suitcases or heavy shopping, vigorous housework etc, I suffer from pain and debilitating fatigue (OK – that’s my excuse!) If I behave myself I don’t! It is a question of weighing up the risks against the benefits, not doing anything for too long without breaks and going to see my physio to have a lot of muscles released if I overdo it – which I frequently do! Above all, knowing what has caused me to feel horrible is a huge relief.
Not knowing what is wrong and being branded as a hypochondriac because nothing shows on blood tests is one of the worst things that EDS and fibromyalgia patients have to go through. I feel very frustrated that no one diagnosed my hypermobility before I was 60. If I had had that diagnosis, I might have avoided a lot of the damage I have caused to my soft tissues throughout my life. Being diagnosed at 60 however, is far better than never being diagnosed and it is totally thanks to Seema at AposHealth® that that happened. I went hoping for relief for my ankle; I never expected it to be so holistic.”
Georgina 62 from Devon