To be honest folks, I’ve felt like a loser for much of the past year.  It seems as though no matter how much work I do at the chiropractor, no matter how many massages I get to work out the tight areas…my back just won’t behave.  And you know something, I really sorta thought it was me, as though I were doing something wrong or I wasn’t trying hard enough.  And you know what that led to?  Me pushing myself too hard where I entered this cycle:  Push too hard.  Injury.  Heal.  Repeat.

And then my physical therapist commented, for seemingly the hundredth time, on how freakishly flexible I am. Why I thought to elaborate this one time,  I don’t know but… I mentioned that my sister and I think that my flexibility may be to something called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (and after researching all the various types, I’d call myself Type III).  It’s also called familial hypermobility syndrome.  What does it mean?  It means the collagen in my body is improperly made, isn’t as strong as it should be and so I can do some strange things with my joints… which… you know, aren’t very stable.

Below are some photos of individuals with hypermobility.  I’ve only included photos of the things I, myself, can do.  There are others and not all of the things I can do are pictured here.  To be honest, I look at these pictures and, most of the time, I think to myself “can’t everyone do that?”  Apparently not.

This doesn’t even hurt.  At all.  Especially with my pinky finger.

This is the one that creeps people out the most, I guess.  I’ve known everyone can’t make their fingers bend like this but didn’t think much of it.

And apparently, not everyone’s skin does this when they’re fully hydrated.

And people really can’t make their hand look like this?  Really?

My stepmother used to make fun of me all the time for lounging around in the living room with my big toe sticking up.  Not that it’s stuck in that position, it just was comfortable.

Again, are we really not supposed to be able to do this?

And can’t most people do this?  I would think they could.

Anyway, there are other things associated with the syndrome which I also identify with.  I won’t go into all the gory details, but let me say that people with EDS often have neck problems (hello!  I feel like I could have my neck adjusted every day by the chiropractor.  It NEVER stays put.)  People with EDS are prone to subluxations and ankle sprains (just by walking?  yep, done that)… and you know what?  All of this makes me feel much better.

It’s not my fault my back won’t cooperate.  I’m doing the best I can.  Yes, I had to visit the chiropractor every week BEFORE The accident.  This is why.  Now, it seems like I try and I try but I can’t get my back to stay where I want it to be… and this is probably why.

What does all this have to do with my physical therapist?  She did a bit of research and was the one who actually said to me “no wonder you don’t seem to improve.”  She IS shaking up my routine now that she knows this but, it is so nice to know I’m not necessarily failing because I’m not trying hard enough.  And that, my friends, is a huge weight lifted from my shoulders.

(Incidentally, I sat up in bed the other day after waking and stretched a bit….and pulled my back out of place.  I felt it.  It hurt.  All it took was a normal, arms over your head stretch.  I wanted to cry.  That one stretch gave me a day and a half of stiff, sore neck and shoulder with reduced movement.)