6 Techniques to help cope with EDS Flare-Up's

What is a flare-up?

In EDS like any other chronic pain condition, there will be times when it doesn't matter how much you try to avoid making your pain worse, "flare-up's" will still occur it is to be expected unfortunately, especially with EDS and how hard the muscles are having to work holding everything together all the time, they are likely to complain.. How you deal with a flare-up is more important. A flare-up is basically an increase in severity of symptoms from your usual ones, requiring additional interventions.
The first time you experience one can be very scary as you don't know what is happening to your body at that time and when it will all settle down. Panic is very common as the level of pain can be very severe and last anything from hours to days depending on the cause. They are extremely frustrating especially when you don't get any warning and when they occur at night just as you are going off to sleep. Trying to deal with the flare-up early as possible is best as the longer you leave it the worse your pain will become and harder to manage.

Try and stay calm, easier said than done but stress will only make pain worse by tensing the muscles up
Realise that a flare-up doesn't mean "damage" to your body and it will settle down, just give it time. You should always get any new symptoms checked out by your G.P if things don't settle down.

This is how pain from an EDS Flare-Up makes you feel

6 Techniques to help cope with EDS Flare-Up's


Depending on the nature of the pain which one would be best to use, tense, tight muscles may respond better to heat due to the soothing effect and cold, better for swelling but you can swap between the two if you find that works well. It is a trial and error what will work. Heated wheat packs are very good as they can be used both hot and cold but are not as convenient to use as heat pads which can be plugged in.


This is a very good skill to use everyday as it calms the brain down letting go of any emotional stress and muscle tension. There are lots of guided imagery or meditation free apps that you can download on your mobile


This is the key, even though it can be hard to focus on anything else at the time other than the pain, trying to take your mind off the pain can turn down the pain volume according to pain experts. Thinking about it will only make things worse, find something you enjoy whether that is reading a book, listening to music, going for a walk


Some people find tens machines can really help as they block the pain signals.
Splints & supports- Allow the muscles to recover reducing the pain especially with overuse
Kinesio tape- Supports the affected area allowing it to recover and provides proprioception
Neck pillows/lumbar rolls/wedges- Can all help the pain by taking stress off the joints and allowing the muscles to recover


This is very important to do each day, you don't need to lie down and sleep, just make sure you have lots of supportive cushioning around your body to allow the joints to rest properly for about 30 mins 2xday. Make sure you have no other distractions going on to allow the whole body time to recover. You will find you definitely want to do this during a flare-up and afterwards


This is probably the last thing you feel like doing when you have a "flare-up" but it is important to keep the muscles and joints moving and it also releases the body's natural painkillers, called endorphins.
Even if you just use gentle rhythmic self-mobilisation and local stretching techniques and any exercises you have been given by your physio. Some people find using a pilates ball can be helpful especially with back pain.

These are 6 techniques to help you manage EDS flare-up's, there are probably others that you use successfully and it is just about finding out what works for you, as everyone is different when it comes to pain.

When you know what works for you during a flare-up, it is a good idea to draw up a plan that  you can easily refer to quickly with a list of all the things that you know work for you. Keep it in easy reach at all times.
Always discuss any change of symptoms or concerns with your G.P        

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  1. What a great list of tips! I try to do these, but exercise is so hard when you're dizzy. I do try to at least walk around my house more. Sometimes, that's the best I can do.

  2. Poor you emma the pain you are in is awful, if i could take it away from you I would. Looking at the picture above is very eye opening and makes you have a good understanding of the areas where the pain is most at. Just keep it up emma you are doing so well. Exercises seem to make things worst to incredible.

  3. this is super helpful! im pretty young and have EDS and have a hard time coping with it. this is really helpful thank you!!

    1. I am so glad that it is helpful for you Sarbare, I try to only put articles that will help people on my page.

  4. This is a great list. I don't have eds but feel most of this can apply to other conditions too

    Donna- http://www.februarystars.co.uk

    1. Thank you Donna, you are right it can definitely apply to other chronic conditions as well.