“What do you think about chiropractors?” is definitely on the top ten list of questions that I get as a physical therapist. It’s a loaded question because physical therapists and chiropractors are often seen as competitors, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The truth is that working with other healthcare providers that offer complementary services can be powerful in helping clients reach their goals. When I find a good chiropractor or massage therapist, I don’t hesitate to tell my clients about them. This is why I’m excited to introduce Dr. Jill Driver, a local chiropractor who provides innovative care with our friends at Pierce Chiropractic.
Dr. Driver is passionate about treating people with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which is a group of genetic connective tissue disorders that affects multiple systems of the body (1). While there are several different types and a wide range of presentations, people with EDS usually have varying degrees of joint hypermobility (joints that move more than usual) and skin hyperextensibility (skin that stretches more than usual). Management of EDS is most successful with a multidisciplinary approach that can include both chiropractic and physical therapy treatment. Dr. Driver was kind enough to chat with me and share some of her expertise in this area!
How did you become interested in treating people with EDS as a chiropractor?
JD: I was diagnosed with EDS at 29 years old, in the middle of my chiropractic education. My own journey of living with hypermobility and frequent joint pain caused me to seek pain relief options. I experienced first hand how chiropractic care could help relieve my pain, and also hurt me when too much force was used to adjust my unstable neck. I was on a mission to find a way that EDS patients could safely use chiropractic care. I found orthospinology, an upper cervical method of chiropractic care, which is a very gentle, low force method used to correct a misalignment of the upper neck region. After my first upper cervical adjustment I slept a whole night without pain for the first time in over 15 years. My life was changed by this amazing care and that is why I am now dedicated to sharing it with others.
What are some of the most common symptoms that people with EDS experience?
JD: The list of symptoms that come with this syndrome are a mile long. However, some of the most common symptoms of EDS include chronic joint pain, ligament laxity/hypermobility, dislocations and subluxations, fatigue, skin fragility, dysautonomia, and gastrointestinal issues.
How does EDS affect the pelvic floor?
JD: The evidence based scientific literature is limited on the connection between EDS and pelvic floor; however, it is common to hear EDS patients mention pelvic floor issues. Like any other ligament or connective tissue structure in the EDS patient’s body, the ligaments of the pelvic floor can be loose and weak. The pubic symphysis and sacroiliac joints are also hypermobile and unstable. All of this laxity causes the pelvic floor to destabilize. As a result pelvic floor prolapses can occur including bladder, rectal, and uterine prolapse. Many EDS patients experience pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, dyspareunia, and premature labor.
How can chiropractors and physical therapists work together to manage EDS?
JD: EDS patients need both chiropractors and physical therapists on their management team. EDS patients need to increase their stability as much as possible. Appropriate pelvic floor therapy guided by a physical therapist can help an EDS patient stabilize their body and decrease the negative impact of joint instability. In addition, chiropractors who practice low force, EDS friendly techniques like orthospinology, can help a patient manage the instability and frequent joint misalignments that occur. This team approach allows the EDS patient to decrease pain and increase stability and overall function in their daily life.
Thank you, Dr. Driver, for taking the time to answer these questions and for your commitment to helping this population!
If you are struggling with symptoms related to EDS or joint hypermobility, you can click here to reach Dr. Jill Driver at Pierce Chiropractic.
- The Ehlers Danlos Society. What Are The Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes? | The Ehlers Danlos Society. [online] Available at: <https://www.ehlers-danlos.com/what-is-eds/>
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tyler Tredway is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and board certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) who specializes in pelvic health for pregnant and postpartum moms. She works at Activcore in Atlanta, Georgia, located just 2 miles from Emory University.
Tyler's extensive clinical background and education make her uniquely qualified to handle more complex conditions like pelvic floor dysfunction, including bowel, bladder and sexual health problems. She holds a Bachelors degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Georgia, as well as a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from Emory University, ranked among the top 10 physical therapy schools in the country. She also has advanced post-graduate training in pelvic health for all genders, including internal pelvic examinations, through the Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute.
Tyler goes beyond the pelvic floor and looks at the whole body to help you recover from pain and injury, and safely return to a fulfilling life of sport, activity and wellness. She possesses a rare combination of highly developed skill sets in both orthopedics and pelvic health that make her exceptionally equipped to treat you from head to toe. In fact, she is among less than 10% of all physical therapists who have earned the prestigious OCS designation as an orthopedic clinical specialist. Additionally, she is recognized nationally as a leading authority in the application of Redcord, a suspension exercise system designed to help you develop a smarter, balanced body through the power of neuromuscular activation. [READ MORE]