Hypermobility And Pain Relief

Hypermobility And Pain Relief

Are you hypermobile and often experience joint and muscle pain? If yes, I’m glad you found this blog! Hypermobility is not a death sentence and you certainly don’t have to just live with pain for the rest of your life. In this blog, you will learn about hyper mobility, how that causes pain, exercises that help you with your hyper mobility, and lifestyle modifications that are necessary.

What Does It Mean To Be Hypermobile?

There are many different joints in the body and each joint has a range of motion that is considered normal, bear in mind that some joints have more range of motion than others. For example, the shoulder joint moves in many more planes of movement and has a greater range of motion compared to the knee joint.

Some people fall below what is a normal range of motion which is typically due to a musculoskeletal injury, or soft tissue restriction, and is common in those with a sedentary lifestyle. On the other end of the spectrum are people whose joints move well beyond what is considered normal and are considered hyper-mobile. 

Hypermobility most commonly affects the following joints:

  • Fingers
  • Elbows 
  • Wrists and
  • Knees 

At our clinic, we see patients with hyper mobility causing the mid-body, lower back, and pelvis instability which comes with a long list of issues as a result. This includes a lack of coordination and balance which can result in chronic joint pain, repeated dislocations, and pain.

How Does Hypermobility Affect Movement And Cause Pain?

In some cases, hyper-mobility can mean instability depending on the degree of excess range of motion and the joint. When a joint is unstable you are at an increased risk for musculoskeletal injuries such as:

  • Dislocation 
  • Lack of coordination and balance
  • Postural decline
  • Sprain
  • Strain 

These injuries impact the integrity of the joint itself including the surrounding ligaments, tendons, and muscles! For someone who is hyper-mobile this makes joint stabilization a priority to not only decrease pain but also prevent injury! 

In our clinic, we have found that Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) is the best choice of exercise for our patients when it comes to improving joint stability, decreasing pain, and improving overall movement and posture. Think of DNS as a developmental exercise that allows all babies on this planet to develop what it takes to move from helpless infants to running toddlers without any weights, bands, stretching, or machinery.

As mentioned in my blog, “How to Get Rid of Pain”, “ DNS is designed to restore and stabilize musculoskeletal function by re-walking the path that we have all walked once as babies. All babies around the world are born and at around 3 months old start innately doing what it takes to develop strength in the muscles needed to lift the head and neck. This is the start of the developmental sequence and is also what it takes to start restoring function in dysfunctional adults, after breathing of course.”

Here is the video that explains it more:

Now you may be thinking, why not just wear braces to stabilize the area? While bracing may seem like a simple solution to lack of stability, braces can actually be doing more harm than good. Braces not only prevent excess movement, but they also limit the normal range of motion which creates a whole separate issue.

There is a map of movement in the brain called Homunculus that bracing negatively impacts. Think of this map as a blueprint of movement that your movements (or lack of) impact how clear the borders and the steps to the movement are. Bracing disallows certain movements that negatively impact the clarity of this map and the more unclear, the more chances of injury. (less clarity in the ‘how to’ means more injury)

This is why at our clinic we re-walk the steps to stabilize your joints using the body’s own natural built-in stabilizing system. The video below shows an example of a DNS Exercise that can be used to stabilize the shoulder joint! You can also visit our Youtube Channel’s Functional Movement Exercise Playlist with many more exercises. 

Is Hypermobility the Same As Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?

Although hypermobility is commonly associated with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), the two terms are not interchangeable. According to the Cleveland Clinic EDS is, “A group of conditions that affect your cartilage, bone, fat and blood. A defect in collagen — the protein that adds flexibility and strength to your connective tissue — causes this syndrome.” Hyper-mobility can be a symptom of EDS in which case joint stabilization should also be emphasized in the management of this condition. 

What Should You Do If You’re Hypermobile?

When it comes to hyper mobility conditions, what matters the most is stabilization and the only stabilization exercise that makes sense to me is those that all of us are programmed to do and frankly have done before as infants between the ages 3-4. Those are the Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization exercises. At our clinic, we test everyone for functional mobility and postural neurology (to find the blueprint of movement) so we can immediately start the stabilization process. Contact us if you need help with your hyper mobility, its associated pain, and lack of stability.

Dr. Shakib

The Difference Between Flexibility, Hyper-mobility & Instability

The Difference Between Flexibility, Hyper-mobility & Instability

Hyper-mobility and flexibility are not the same and instability is where the difference girl with elbows hyper-extended in quadrupedlies. While some may mistake hyper-mobility as flexibility, especially in children, the difference is seen in movement and musculoskeletal function. In this blog you will learn how flexibility is a sign of health while hyper-mobility is instability, requiring extra measures to prevent injury and dysfunction. 

Flexibility vs Hypermobility 

Flexibility is a term that refers to the ability of a joint or joints to move without any restrictions. This requires muscles to lengthen allowing for movement. For example, if someone cannot reach and touch their toes this can be due to tight and short muscles of the hamstrings and tension in the lower back. Otherwise, someone whose muscles are overly tight, restricting mobility, may be considered inflexible.  

Hypermobility, however, refers to the excess laxity of the joints/ligaments. For example, this would be a person who:

  • Is considered “double-jointed”
  • Can hyperextend their elbows
  • And can manipulate their fingers beyond what the normal range of motion is

While being hypermobile, especially when you’re young, can seem like a cool thing and is sought after in certain sports, it can literally hurt you.

Hypermobility Affects Movement and Pain

When it comes to hypermobility, what is often ignored is the impact on movement, posture, and joint health. Because the ligaments and structure of a hypermobile joint allow for excess movement, the following must be considered:

  • Increased risk for joint dislocation
  • Postural instability 
  • Dysfunctional movement 
  • Increased risk of musculoskeletal injury 
  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction 
  • Pathological breathing patterns 
  • Lack of coordination and balance 

When it comes to my practice, patients tend to come in with “unrelated issues” in their minds and we help connect the dots! At that point, it becomes obvious that their hyper-mobility either adds to their problem or is the root cause of their issue(s).

The most logical and effective way to create stability in otherwise unstable joints of the hyper-mobile individual is through  Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization and Postural Neurology. That is duplicating the methods with which the limber, helpless infant is able to become the strong, running toddler.

Hypermobility, Instability, and EDS 

Hypermobility can be present on its own or can be associated with other conditions such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). If you have EDS, it is important to know the impact of hypermobility on your musculoskeletal system (bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments) and how its impact on movement can lead to pain. This is explored more in detail in the blog Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Pain, and Posture.

Best Exercises for Hypermobility and Instability 

For someone who is hypermobile, full body stabilization exercises with attention to detail are crucial. You see, a hypermobile person can easily trick the untrained eye and appear to be performing the exercise correctly. This is because they have learned to function with joints in an extreme position, but it is holding a neutral position that becomes challenging. In fact, the biggest challenge is keeping stable in movement becomes the ultimate test.

Hyper-mobile individuals are no strangers to doctor’s offices; from gastrointestinal issues to headaches and neck pain. Even with injuries and re-injuries; they are typically great in sports such as gymnastics, cheer, ballet, and acrobatics. When it comes to those injuries, it is easy for them to see physical therapists and chiropractors and be treated the same way as others without hypermobility. That is where the continuous visits will continue.

Unless the rehab. provider, chiropractor, or physical therapist is familiar with functional rehabilitation such as Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS), those with hyper-mobility can suffer from pain, frustration, and disappointment.

Below is an advanced Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization exercise that when done correctly, points to the improvement of stability in our hyper-mobile patients and is a great milestone that we celebrate together.

Working with hypermobile individuals is different than those without hypermobility and there are specific ways to achieve the milestones of stability. Don’t hesitate to contact us when you are ready to start your adventure to a more stable world. You may also visit us on YouTube for Functional Movement Exercises and join our over 100K followers on Instagram for daily tips and tricks.

Dr. Shakib