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If you have a loved one with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), you may be wondering what kind of gifts would be most helpful and appreciated. EDS is a connective tissue disorder that can cause a range of symptoms and challenges, so it's important to choose gifts that are both practical and thoughtful.
Here are our top 15 recommendations to help ease their challenges and bring a little joy to their day as curated by our friend Madaline, who has EDS.
Understanding Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a group of rare genetic disorders that affect the connective tissues in the body. People with EDS often experience joint hypermobility, skin hyperextensibility, and fragile blood vessels. Living with EDS can be challenging, as it can cause chronic pain, fatigue, and mobility issues. It's important to understand the unique needs and limitations of individuals with EDS when selecting gifts for them.
When choosing a gift for your loved one with EDS, it's crucial to consider their specific symptoms and preferences. Some people with EDS may require assistive devices to help with daily tasks, while others may benefit from relaxation aids for pain management and stress relief. By taking the time to understand their condition and their individual needs, you can find a gift that will truly make a difference in their life.
1. Assistive Devices
One of the most practical and thoughtful gifts for someone with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is an assistive device that can help improve their mobility and independence. This can include items such as mobility aids like canes, walkers, or wheelchairs. These tools can greatly enhance their quality of life and make everyday activities more manageable.
Consider including the individual in the decision making process because these items can be very personal and the needs of each individual may be different. What one person likes, another may not. They also tend to be on the pricier side, so it’s a nice gift that can remove some of the financial burden from your loved one.
Madaline’s recommendation: “I have my little collapsible cane, which I’ll use especially when I’m traveling by myself. It’s helpful in airports when you have to stand and walk so much."
2. Ergonomic Pillows and Cushions
One of the challenges that individuals with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome often face is chronic pain and discomfort. Ergonomic pillows and cushions can provide much-needed support and relief. Look for pillows and cushions that are designed to promote proper alignment and reduce pressure on sensitive areas of the body. Memory foam pillows, lumbar support cushions, and neck pillows are all great options to consider. These gifts can help improve comfort and make everyday activities, such as sitting or sleeping, a little easier for someone with EDS.
Madaline’s recommendation: “I have this cushion on my chair and it has made so much of a difference. Also, they also make a back cushion. And you can put it in the car too.”
3. Adaptive Clothing
For individuals with skin sensitivities, seamless clothing will be one of the best choices. It will minimize the friction and potential irritation that could occur. Clothing made from Modal or Tencel is often a good choice since it’s known for its softness.
Clothing that requires a lot of mobility to put on can often be challenging, especially on days with a flare up. One of the most difficult to put on is a bra, so we recommend an adaptive bra or a gift card for a store that has adaptive bras, so they can select their own size and color preference.
They are generally easier to put on and can provide added comfort and flexibility in the morning.
4. KT Tape
One essential item for someone with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is KT Tape. This specialized tape is designed to provide support and stability to joints, helping to prevent dislocations and reduce pain.
KT Tape is easy to apply and can be used on various parts of the body, such as the knees, shoulders, and wrists. It is a great gift for someone with EDS who wants to stay active and protect their joints.
Madaline’s recommendation: “I use the pro one because it lasts longer and it's easier to shower with. I really use these for anything, just tape all of my tape my body together like a little art project.”
5. Self Cupping Set
A self cupping set can be a great gift, especially those who experience gastroparesis or face tension. Gastroparesis is a condition that affects the stomach muscles and can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and bloating. Cupping therapy can help stimulate blood flow and improve digestion, providing relief for those with gastroparesis.
Additionally, individuals with EDS often experience tension and tightness in their facial muscles. Using a self cupping set on the face can help release tension and promote relaxation. Overall, a self cupping set can be a useful tool for managing symptoms and improving the well-being of someone with EDS.
Madaline’s recommendation: “I get a lot of gastroparesis stuff, so I started self-cupping at night. I put these on my stomach when I'm laying down in bed for about 10 minutes and it's changed my life. My PT started getting me into it. I also have facial ones to deal with face and neck tension.”
6. Arm Massager
An arm massager can help provide relief and relaxation. Look for a massager that is modular and has different pressure points, so the recipient can customize their massage experience. Additionally, consider a massager that is portable and easy to use, so it can be used at home or on the go.
Madaline’s recommendation: “This massager (Editor’s Note: they’re no longer making the one Madeline uses, so she suggested this one instead) really helps for when my hands are locking up. I don't even feel the tension that I have in my arms at all. But, it ends up creating so much nerve stuff in my hands and then my hands feel horrible.”
7. Finger Heart Rate Monitor
POTS can affect the cardiovascular system, and monitoring heart rate can be important for managing symptoms and overall health. Look for a finger heart rate monitor that is easy to use and provides accurate readings. They are generally a budget-friendly item and a great way to monitor a flare up.
Some more expensive monitors, such as Oura rings and smart watches, also offer additional features such as tracking sleep patterns and monitoring oxygen levels. This practical gift can help someone with EDS stay on top of their heart health.
8. Myofascial Massage Balls
Myofascial massage balls are a great gift idea because EDS can cause tightness and discomfort, and using myofascial massage balls can help release tension and promote relaxation. These small, portable balls can be easily used at home or on the go, allowing individuals to target specific areas of tension and provide relief.
Madaline’s recommendation: “My Pilates trainer got me into using them because I would come in really, really tight and she would just have me lay on them for five minutes and the release felt like an exorcism. I like to put them on the back of my neck while laying on the floor. They seem so simple, but it's been life changing because I used to walk around with an incredible amount of tension in my neck.”
9. Arthritis Gel
Chronic pain is a common symptom for individuals with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, so gifting pain relief products can be a thoughtful and practical choice. Pain relief creams or gels containing ingredients like menthol or lidocaine can provide temporary relief from localized pain. These gifts can make a significant difference in managing pain and improving the quality of life for someone with EDS.
Madaline’s recommendation: “This is an arthritis gel for my hands to reduce joint pain. I use it every day in the morning before I start working on my laptop.”
10. Massage Tools
Massage tools, such as foam rollers or handheld massagers, can help relieve muscle knots and tightness. These tools can be used at home to target specific areas of discomfort and provide relief.
Madaline’s recommendation: “Get a lightweight massage gun because if not it can be difficult to use it.”
11. Electrolyte Drink Packs
People with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome often experience symptoms of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which can include low blood volume and low blood pressure. One way to help manage these symptoms is by increasing sodium intake.
Electrolyte drink packs are a convenient and easy way to ensure that individuals with EDS are getting enough sodium to support their cardiovascular health. These drink packs can be mixed with water and consumed throughout the day to help maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance. They are especially beneficial for those who struggle with POTS-related symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and fatigue.
Madaline’s recommendation: “I drink Liquid IV for my POTS (Editor’s Note: Nuun tablets are also high in sodium, but lower in sugar) to keep up my sodium levels.”
12. Armless Office Chair
EDS can cause joint instability and pain, and traditional office chairs with armrests may not provide the necessary support or comfort. An armless chair allows for greater freedom of movement and can help alleviate pressure on sensitive joints. Look for a chair with adjustable height and lumbar support to ensure optimal comfort. Additionally, consider choosing a chair with a cushioned seat and breathable fabric to provide maximum comfort throughout the day.
Madaline’s recommendation: “My grandma got me this chair off my Amazon list. With regular office chairs, my hips were just really tight all the time and 30 minutes into a meeting I would be in crippling pain. And this chair is super wide on the bottom and the back and it has no arms. I can sit however I like.”
13. Cushioned Anti-Fatigue Mat
One great gift idea for someone with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is a cushioned anti-fatigue mat. This can provide much-needed support and comfort for individuals who experience joint pain and fatigue. Whether they spend a lot of time standing in the kitchen or working at a desk, this mat can help alleviate some of the strain on their joints and provide a more comfortable experience. Look for a mat that is thick and made of high-quality materials for the best results.
14. Adjustable Standing Desks
EDS can cause fatigue and pain, making it difficult to sit for long periods of time. An adjustable standing desk allows the individual to switch between sitting and standing positions, providing relief and reducing strain on the body. Look for a desk with easy height adjustment and a sturdy construction to ensure stability.
Additionally, consider choosing a desk with a spacious surface area to accommodate any necessary equipment or accessories. This thoughtful gift will not only support their physical well-being but also enhance their productivity and comfort while working.
15. Body and Neck Pillows
Another great gift idea for someone with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is a body or neck pillow. These pillows can provide much-needed support and relief for individuals who experience chronic pain and discomfort. Look for pillows that are specifically designed to contour to the body's shape and provide optimal support. Whether they use it for sleeping, sitting, or just relaxing, a body or neck pillow can make a world of difference for someone with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.
Madaline’s recommendation: "This pregnancy pillow helps prevent injuries while I sleep and is good for taking to the couch. I use this cervical pillow when my neck is out of sorts, and it helps align the whole body while I sleep. I must confess I am lazy about using this because it’s hard for me to fall asleep in a non-pretzel position."
Finding the perfect gift for a person with EDS involves considering their unique needs, challenges, and personality. By choosing gifts that enhance comfort, independence, and overall well-being, you can make a lasting impact in the lives of people with EDS. Whether you're shopping for a loved one or treating yourself, these carefully curated products are designed to make the journey with EDS a little easier.
Madaline’s final recommendation: “I created an Amazon wishlist, I update it around Christmas and my birthday. It helps take the guess work out of the equation, and my loved ones have a wide range of items to choose from. They’ve loved supporting me in this way! If you have someone in your life with chronic illness, ask them if they have a wishlist they can share with you (I bet they already do!)."