By William Wan
Patients with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome are often misdiagnosed or dismissed as hypochondriacs. That’s what happened to Dr. Alissa Zingman.
As her patient lay face down, Alissa Zingman gingerly felt the woman’s neck and spine for tension pulling her bones slightly out of place.
“It feels like I can’t breathe, like there’s an alarm going off in my head,” her patient said.
Zingman gently applied pressure to resolve the tension and coax the bones back into place. After a few minutes, the doctor’s thumbs and hands began to hurt. So she called over her assistant, an athletic trainer, to help.
“I have to be careful not to use too much force,” Zingman explained, “for my patients’ sake and my own.”
For years, Zingman, 39, has struggled with the same rare affliction that plagues her patients – an incurable condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome that causes weaker connective tissues in the body.
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