Are Chiropractors Safe for People with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?

Patients living with any of the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) might be tempted to one day visit a chiropractor.

The implications of the condition might also make make them equally hesitant – chiropractic treatment involves a lot of bending, rubbing, and stretching. For patients with certain conditions like EDS, this intensely physical style of treatment can seem completely out of the question. Could it really be safe? Are there potential benefits?

About Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

The Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes are a collection of connective tissue disorders. These are conditions commonly indicated by hyper-mobility in the joints, elastic skin, and fragile body tissues (including blood vessels). Surgical options are a serious concern in some EDS patients, as the skin is often not strong enough to support sutures. For these patients especially, an additional non-surgical course of treatment for pain or discomfort would certainly be welcome.

There are 13 subtypes of EDS recognized today, each having a unique set of clinical criteria that guides diagnosis.

A Word About Chiropractic Treatment

In the United States, chiropractors are required only to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, awarded by one of the 18 chiropractic colleges accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE).

Although chiropractors may legitimately call themselves doctors, it is important to note that they are not required to hold a medical degree. This means that they are not medical doctors, and as such, may not be aware of the complexity involved in treating a customer with a condition like EDS.

However, there are many chiropractors who are aware of their customers’ individual needs, and will gladly cater to them to the best of their abilities. If you have EDS and are considering visiting a chiropractor, call their office first and ask if they have experience with treating patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. Thoroughly vetting your options is highly encouraged, and it can spare you from lots of discomfort further down the road.

Is Going to a Chiropractor Safe for People with EDS?

A customer must always be their own best advocate. If you have EDS, going to a chiropractor can be anywhere between completely safe to somewhat risky. Just like you wouldn’t ride a bike without a helmet, showing just a little safety consciousness in the front end can go a long way in reducing any potential risks in the back end.

Before going anywhere, it’s probably a good idea to confer with your usual physician. Depending on the subtype of EDS and the severity of the case, your doctor may recommend against seeking chiropractic help. Since chiropractors are not medical doctors and Ehlers-Danlos is a serious health condition, it’s important to seek the advice of a professional on the matter. If your physician gives you the okay, feel free to start browsing your options.

Checking to see if a chiropractor has experience with customers who have EDS is a great place to start. Prospective patients should always call and ask, or do research on the web. Anyone not happy to answer your questions probably isn’t ready to accommodate someone with Ehlers-Danlos anyway!

Chiropractors treating customers with EDS should typically avoid more vigorous techniques they may be familiar with, in favor of low-force techniques that avoid undue stress, particularly on the cervical spine.

As long as these things are taken into account, it is completely possible and even beneficial for EDS patients to visit a chiropractor’s office!

Managing Expectations, Managing EDS

Although many people experience benefits from chiropractic care, one important part of overall enjoyment of the experience is management of expectations. There is no known cure for Ehlers-Danlos, and chiropractic treatment is certainly no permanent solution. For some, it can be an effective component in a lifelong strategy of management. But as with anything, check with your doctor first.


Have you ever visited a chiropractor? Do you think there should be more medical research for non-invasive treatments of chronic conditions like EDS? Or do you think a Doctor of Chiropractic is qualified enough? Share your thoughts with Patient Worthy!

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