A 20-YEAR-OLD Chester worker has spoken of the crippling condition which means her shoulders dislocate up to 10 times a day.
Lauren Harry, who works at McDonald’s on the Greyhound Retail Park in Chester, has been to A&E four times in the last week alone.
She is thought to have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic condition which means her collagen is too weak to hold her limbs in place.
Coughing, sneezing and even going over a speed bump can cause her shoulders to dislocate.
Lauren first experienced pain in her legs at the age of 11, but was told it was due to growing pains.
But at the age of 15 she fell off her crutches while attending the Eisteddfod in Conwy, injuring her shoulder in the process.
Since then her shoulders and other joints, including her knees and fingers, have regularly dislocated.
Lauren, who moved to Brymbo, near Wrexham, from Connah’s Quay last year, is a former pupil of Connah’s Quay High School and Deeside College, where she was unable to complete her AS levels because of her condition.
She has been given stabilising surgery on her shoulders on five separate occasions at Wrightington Hospital, Lancashire, but the problems persist.
Speaking to the Leader Lauren said: “My shoulders dislocate around 10 times a day on each shoulder, even if I cough, sneeze or go over a speed bump. The other day in work I opened the fire door and dislocated all of my fingers and I’ve dislocated them pushing myself up off the sofa before.
“I can’t even play-fight with my little sister without something dislocating.
“Because I work in Chester I’m back and to from A&E at Wrexham Maelor Hospital and the Countess of Chester all the time,” she said.
“I went into A&E last week and they relocated my shoulder but dislocated my elbow and that’s never happened before. It’s so easily done.
“I’ve had a few operations which have fixed it for a while, but not for longer than nine months with no dislocation.”
Lauren has yet to be tested for Ehlers-Danlos, but is currently seeking funding for specialist treatment at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, Middlesex.
She said: “The more times I go to the doctors they all say it sounds like Ehlers-Danlos.
“Usually, you have to stay on a waiting list for a year for blood tests, but if I go to Stanmore I can get tested straight away.
“I know they teach you coping techniques to relocate your joints more effectively and also try and help with the psychological side.”
Lauren says she tries to make sure her condition doesn’t prevent her from leading a normal life.
She said: “In work I always go in regardless of how much pain I’m in.
“People can’t get a day off work because of me. They just say ‘well look what Lauren has to go through’.
“They’re really good with me in McDonald’s. They’ll get me a chair if I need to sit down.
“I can only really work on the ‘drive thru’ taking orders and payments because I’m anaphylactic and allergic to nuts and sesame seeds.”
Lauren is supported by her mum Kath Sneade, 41, who she lives with, along with her step-dad, Colin, 56, two younger sisters Jessica, 18 and Rhiannon, nine, and brother Joshua, eight.
Mrs Sneade said: “Lauren tries to live as independently as she can, but she does get down sometimes. She can’t go anywhere or do anything unless someone goes with her."