Springfield Massachusetts disability attorney explains double jointedness, Elher-Danlos Syndrome and Joint Hypermobility Syndrome

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a group of inherited disorders that weaken connective tissues. Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) involves joints that move beyond the normal range with little effort. Joints most commonly affected are the elbows, wrists, fingers, and knees.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), hypermobility type, is generally considered the least severe type of EDS, although significant complications, primarily musculoskeletal, can and do occur. The skin is often soft or velvety and may be mildly hyperextensible. Subluxations and dislocations are common; they may occur spontaneously or with minimal trauma and can be acutely painful. Degenerative joint disease is common. Chronic pain, distinct from that associated with acute dislocations or advanced osteoarthritis, is a serious complication of the condition and can be both physically and psychologically disabling. Easy bruising is common.1

Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) is a chronically disabling disorder manifested as widespread pain, fatigue, multiple soft tissue lesions and fragility of skin and supportive connective tissues. It is a condition that is often overlooked by clinicians. Moreover, clinical experience suggests that previously unrecognized non-musculoskeletal symptoms, including presyncope, palpitations and bowel disturbance, are also common in JHS. Recent evidence demonstrates dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system as an explanation for these symptoms. Recognition of these symptoms by clinicians is an important part of patient assessment and education, even if the pathophysiology remains unclear.2

What many physicians, including rheumatologists and orthopedic physicians do not realize, is that joint laxity is highly prevalent in patients with panic disorder, agoraphobia, or both and may reflect a constitutional disposition to suffer from anxiety. Mitral valve prolapse plays a secondary role in the association between joint hypermobility and anxiety. 3

For a person suffering from “double-jointedness,” it is important that your disability case start with making sure that your medical providers are familiar with the condition and the range of possible symptoms down to such conditions as easy bruising. If you are suffering from related mental health problems, then your treating team– including your therapist–should know about the research. You should keep a journal or calendar of the symptoms and regularly discuss them with your medical providers.

It would not hurt if your disability representative is already familiar with the condition, either.

Get help with your EDS or JHS Social Security claim

If you have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) or Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS), contact Massachusetts disability attorney Jon Abbott for help with your disability claim.
Please provide a brief description of your claim using the form to the right, and I will respond promptly. Or you may contact me at:

Jonathan Abbott
Massachusetts disability attorney
National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives Sustaining Member
National Association of Disability Representatives Member and 2006 Man of the Year

E-mail me

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1NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobility Type, EDS Hypermobility Type, EDS Type III, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type III. Howard P Levy, MD, PhD Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Last Revision: December 14, 2010.

2Oxford Journals Medicine Rheumatology, Vol. 43, #9, 1194-95. Hakim & Grahme, 2004.

3“Association between joint hypermobility syndrome and panic disorder,” Am J Psychiatry. 1998 Nov;155(11):1578-83. Martin-Santos, et al.