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GoodHope Exercise and Rehabilitation (GEAR) Program

Specializing in pain management and improving function through movement rehabilitation and education

Physiotherapy and Kinesiology Services

Movement to Relieve Pain

It is a natural response to want to limit movement when you feel pain after injury or due to a chronic pain condition, but movement can actually help with pain.

When recovering from an injury or dealing with a chronic illness like EDS/G-HSD, gentle movement helps with healing, even if you feel some pain. Progressively increasing movement can speed up recovery and will help you return to your daily activities more quickly.

 

When you have chronic pain, movement can help to relieve some pain symptoms and improve your mood and coping ability.

 

Speak to your healthcare provider about how much movement you can engage in and what movement goals to set. Or, see a physiotherapist/kinesiologist for an individualized assessment and recovery plan. 

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How Physio Can Help

Physiotherapy and exercise therapy are important in the management of Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes and hypermobility spectrum disorders. Specifically, for those with joint, muscle or functional challenges. Individuals with EDS/G-HSD suffer from symptoms involving multiple systems in the body such as muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems. Physiotherapy and exercise have been shown to have a positive influence on psychological and physical outcomes for people with EDS/G-HSD such as improvements in depression, anxiety, quality of life, pain, fatigue, balance, and the ability to complete activities of daily living.

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a regulated health profession that has been proven effective in preventing, treating and managing physical conditions related to illness, injury, or pain. Physiotherapists assess patients' health concerns, pain, and mobility issues and provide goal-oriented treatment that is tailored to each individual.

For individuals with EDS, physiotherapists may provide interventions such as pain management, joint stabilization, controlled mobility, education and self-management, cardiovascular conditioning, and promotion of physical activity.

 

Overall, physiotherapists collaborate in interdisciplinary teams to help patients take an active role in their treatment by teaching them self-management strategies for pain and physical rehabilitation.

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What is Kinesiology?

Kinesiology is a regulated health profession in Ontario and kinesiologists are experts in movement and performance.

Kinesiologists assess functional limitations and movement patterns of individuals with EDS and they can help individuals with EDS learn how to perform everyday tasks and movements with reduced strain on their joints.

 

Like physiotherapists, kinesiologist can provide interventions within their scope of practice, for pain management, joint stabilization, controlled mobility, education and self-management, cardiovascular conditioning, and promotion of physical activity.

The GoodHope Exercise and Rehabilitation (GEAR) program is integrated in the GoodHope EDS clinic at the Toronto General Hospital.

 

The GEAR Program uses physiotherapy and exercise therapy to support patients living with hypermobility to improve function, decrease pain and increase their physical activity levels. 

 

This is achieved through planned physical movement or activities aimed at improving or preventing impairments of functions and structures; and in doing so, optimize overall health, fitness, or sense of well-being among adults with EDS. Individual joint concerns, pain and overall function is assessed, and personalized programs are developed to meet individual needs and goals.

GEAR is delivered via three integrated service components

  • Individually tailored, home-based physiotherapy and exercise therapy

  • Education on self-management for localized and systemic EDS/G-HSD symptoms, and

  • Connections with community-based services.

Examples of assessments for GEAR program patients:

  •    Body Composition

  •    Musculoskeletal Strength

  •    Cardiorespiratory Fitness

  •    Balance and proprioception

  •    Impact of hypermobility

Depending on the patients' needs, GEAR services may include:

  • Neuromuscular stabilization        movements

  • Stretching and relaxation

  • Aerobic training: progressing or regressing from moderate walking 

  • Resistance training: using body weight, bands, or weights

  • Balance and proprioception training: activities related to alignment, body awareness and posture

  • Modification principles for progression or regression of exercises and education on when and how to progress/regress in response to perceived exertion and pain

Find more useful resources about physiotherapy by accessing the following sites:

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