#AD When Anna Higo attended a physiotherapy conference with her business partner Louise Grant, she was drawn to a DM Orthotics stand. Having had a painful shoulder for years, she was interested in seeing if a shoulder orthosis might help so she tried one on.
“It felt wonderful,” she said. “I told Louise there and then that we should think about using them for our patients.”
Since that first encounter, they have used DM Orthotics products to help their patients.
Both chartered physiotherapists, Anna and Louise run Physiocure in north Leeds. They have developed a special interest in hypermobility and Hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) – one of thirteen types of a largely misunderstood condition that often severely impacts patients’ lives.
May was EDS Awareness month and, having seen a dramatic increase in the number of people coming to them with hypermobility issues over the last year, Anna is very keen to spread the word that though the condition might not be curable, it can be treated very effectively.
“EDS affects connective tissues – causing a range of symptoms that can include joint hypermobility, easily dislocated joints, extreme tiredness, digestive problems, dizziness and delayed healing,” she said. “Our approach is to help ease the pain with gentle, graded exercise, hydrotherapy, hands-on treatment, massage, acupuncture and electrotherapy modalities.
“Merlin Young, a clinician from DM Orthotics, also visits regularly to assess patients for orthoses that can literally make the difference between being bed-bound and living a relatively normal life.
“One woman who got in touch with us in January, for example, was in constant pain and having subluxations multiple times per day. She now wears DMO Leggings and shoulder orthoses and her pain and subluxations have improved dramatically. She has got more energy and has been able to start doing gentle exercise for the first time in over 20 years.
“COVID has meant far fewer hospital appointments for conditions not related to the pandemic and we are now doing virtual and face-to-face consultations with about 10 EDS patients a week, the most common being those with hEDS. That’s quite a number for what is considered a rare disease. They come to us from all over the country and are just delighted to find a team who, rather than dismissing their complex symptoms, have the expertise to help. There are lots of tears and a huge sense of relief.”
Anna has just given a webinar presentation about her EDS work which attracted more than 400 registrations. Open to patients, relatives and clinicians, the session looked at how a combination of physiotherapy and orthoses can improve quality of life. DM Orthotics clinical specialist Patricia McCotter and EDS patient Ashleigh Harley also presented.
“EDS is often misdiagnosed and that can have serious implications for the many adults and children living with the condition,” said Anna. “These people shouldn’t be abandoned – they need to be helped.”
To request a recording of the webinar, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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