Navigating the world with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, along with other comorbidities, can often seem nearly impossible. Last week we gave you five life hacks to help make your day easier. Here are five more tips (plus a bonus one!) that our clients use on a daily basis that may be helpful for you:
THE MINI FAN
Those who have dysautonomia know that we sweat and overheat, a lot, often at inappropriate times like during class, standing in line, or just sitting doing our make up because our bodies simply cannot maintain body temperature. I have found that the mini fan I can plug into my phone or a small battery powered desktop fan can make all the difference.
If you have problems with frequent sacroiliac joint subluxations, this trick is for you! Lie on your back with your knees bent, place a soccer ball between your knees and try to squeeze the ball. You will likely hear or feel a click that may indicate your SI joint realigning. Sure, this trick is more suited for at home use rather than traveling – it would be quite difficult to fit a soccer ball into a suitcase. (Note: Prior to attempting, please go over this technique with a certified Physical Therapist or medical professional to ensure that you are using the proper form and that it is safe for you to do on your own.)
Is nausea a persistent pest? Try peppermint. Our client’s go-to are the “After Coffee Peppermints” from Starbucks. These mints are small and strong. Sometimes even the smell, alone, can help to relieve symptoms. Peppermint gum and other forms can also be used. Many other people find that peppermint essential oils can help, too! Placing a drop onto your temples and elsewhere can relax your body and lessen your nausea.
Never mind the strange looks from the barista when you ask for a straw with your hot coffee - straws are a lifesaver and I use them for EVERYTHING! Tipping my head back to drink often ends up with the liquid all over my shirt and so, I use straws for every drinking occasion from cups to bottles, and everything in between.
Straws are also an excellent post surgical tool! After surgery, you neck is fused in a new place and you have a neck brace on 24/7. Brushing your teeth is an often overlooked action that can be quite difficult. Here's are my tips: When brushing your teeth, use a straw to spit into the sink. Then, using a different straw, drink some water to swish through your mouth and spit back into the sink. This is also great for when you use mouthwash, too!
Have you ever been told, “just breathe”? Well, they are right... sort of. Breathing techniques can aid in controlling your heart rate. Try this breathing technique to reduce your heart rate:
Breathe in for 5 seconds - Hold for 5 seconds - Breathe out for 5 seconds... and repeat three times.
BONUS: RAISING IT TO EYE LEVEL
Yes. We all know it, we all hate it, we all need it. We spend hours a day on our cell phones and it is imperative that we raise them up to eye level rather than looking down. It is also important to lift up books when you read and use a laptop lift to raise your computer. Avoiding looking down reduces neck strain aids in limiting neck mobility and, further, helps to avoid degeneration caused by vertebral instability.
Well there you have it ten (plus one bonus!) hacks to help make your life with EDS a little easier. If you’re ready to take the next step in your EDS health and see a certified Physical Therapist who understands what you’re going through, fill out this form or give us a call – (561) 366-2435. We would love to discuss how Physical Therapy can help you live your life to the fullest.