Where Can I Find A Specialist For Hypermobility?

Where Can I Find A Specialist For Hypermobility?

You have hypermobility or suspect you have it and want to know what the next step is and how to find a specialist for hypermobility. I strongly suggest you look at my blog list for many questions you may be having. Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD), or Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) are the 2 most common forms of hypermobility and have different symptoms. Joint Hypermobility is a common symptom among all forms of connective tissue disorder and is the area of my expertise. Here’s a detailed guide on where to find a specialist for hypermobility.

What Is Hypermobility?

Before diving into how to find a specialist, it’s important to understand what hypermobility is and why specialized care is necessary. Hypermobility can range from benign joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS) to more complex connective tissue disorders like EDS. These conditions often require a multidisciplinary approach to manage symptoms effectively. Here is a blog I have written on this very question.

What Are The Common Specialists For Hypermobility?

Several types of healthcare professionals can help manage hypermobility:

  • Rheumatologists: These doctors specialize in autoimmune and musculoskeletal disorders, making them well-equipped to handle hypermobility and its associated conditions. They are typically one of the first specialists patients who don’t know they have hypermobility see based on their symptoms.
  • Geneticists: When there is a suspicion of connective tissue disorder, a consultation with a geneticist may lead to genetic testing to see if there is a genetic connection present. For instance, there are a few subtypes of EDS that with a gene identification.
  • Physiatrists (Rehabilitation Physicians): These specialists focus on physical medicine and rehabilitation, helping to improve mobility and reduce pain. They typically provide injections for pain or tissue recovery
  • Physical Therapists and Chiropractors: Since joint hypermobility is present in all cases of connective tissue disorder, these two specialists commonly treat patients with hypermobility; bear in mind that I strongly advise you to see providers who know how to treat hypermobility because the treatment for the Normie population is not the same as that of the Bendy!
  • Occupational Therapists: They help patients with daily activities and recommend adaptive tools and techniques.

How To Find Hypermobility Specialist

Here are some of my recommendations:

  • Ask Your PCP

Your doctor for the health care professionals that know about hypermobility. Unfortunately, we are not taught about hypermobility and EDS and are told they are rare conditions. IMO, this is far from the truth, and I suspect more under-diagnosis than anything else. They might already have connections with rheumatologists or geneticists experienced in hypermobility.

  • Use Online Directories

A website like EDS Society is a good resource. You can filter your search to find specialists in rheumatology, physical medicine, and rehabilitation.

  • Check With Professional Associations

  • Hospital And Clinic Websites

Major hospitals and specialized clinics often have profiles of their doctors on their websites. Look for those with experience in connective tissue disorders and hypermobility.

  • Local Support Groups And Forums

Joining local or online support groups can provide valuable recommendations from others with similar conditions. You will be surprised at the local FB groups that exist these days.

  • Social Media

Search for terms that apply to hypermobility and look into the bio of the providers you see. I use social media to get the message across, and I am confident I am not the only clinician who despite a busy schedule finds time to be active on social media.

What To Consider When Choosing A Specialist

Experience and Specialization

Make sure the specialist has experience treating hypermobility and related disorders. The treatment for the Bendy and Normie are not the same, and that can be the difference between night and day in some instances. For instance, my specialty is joint hypermobility, and what I can do with the non-hypermobile patient for neck and shoulder pain can cause agonizing pain and danger for my hypermobile patient population.

Multidisciplinary Approach

Hypermobility often requires care from multiple specialists. I know that for instance, with cranio-cervical instability (CCI), headaches are common but CSF leak can lead to headaches too. When I suspect a CSF leak, I refer the patient out to the specialist who knows about this and if it comes to pursuing a medical procedure such as Blood Patch, I have another provider that I send my patient to. A good hypermobility specialist needs to have a good network of providers to address their patient issues the best.

Patient Reviews And Testimonials

Reading reviews from other patients can give you insights into the specialist’s expertise and patient care.

Location And Accessibility

Consider the location of the specialist and how easy it is to access their office, especially if frequent visits are needed. I personally am not a fan of virtual sessions for rehab-related treatments and think the sessions are not as effective.

As a clinic that treats joint hypermobility, I have directed my website to be a great source of information, answering the most commonly asked questions about hypermobility and its associated issues. I participate as a guest on podcasts to bring information to the Zebra community and providers. I am confident I am not the only provider that is dedicated to the hypermobile group. Do your research and you will be amazed at the amount of information that is out there. We are in a much better place than we have ever been.

If you are hypermobile and are ready to address your joint hypermobility, contact my office.

Dr. Shakib

Recommended Reading:

Step By Step Guide To Hypermobility

How To Prevent Joint Injuries In Hypermobility: Expert Tips And Effective Strategies

What Is Hypermobility?

What Is Hypermobility?

Hypermobility, also known as joint hypermobility or hypermobility syndrome, refers to the ability of a person’s joints to move beyond the normal range of motion. It is a connective tissue disorder that impacts your ligaments, tendons, and muscles, making them more elastic and flexible. While some level of flexibility is beneficial for activities like gymnastics, dance, and yoga, extreme hypermobility can lead to joint instability, pain, and other complications. Bear in mind that hypermobility is a systemic condition and in this blog, we will explore joint hypermobility.

What Causes Hypermobility?

While hypermobility is genetic, it impacts the collagen structure where the protein is faulty leading to too lax of ligaments. Hypermobility can be seen in conditions such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or EDS, Marfan Syndrome, and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder or HSD.

What Are Symptoms Of Hypermobility?

Not everyone with hypermobility experiences symptoms and I have written a blog about the full symptoms previously. In short, they are:

  • Joint pain and discomfort
  • Frequent joint dislocations or subluxations, including the ribs
  • Fatigue
  • Soft, stretchy skin
  • Digestive issues
  • Getting dizzy when getting up
  • Feeling tension in muscles
  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Tachycardia or increased heart rate
  • Dental and gum issues
  • Cornea issues
  • A high number of scoliosis

How Do I Tell If I Am Hypermobile?

Following are some of the ways you can find out if you are hypermobile.

  • Assess Your Joint Flexibility

One of the most straightforward ways to determine if you are hypermobile is to assess the flexibility of your joints using the Beighton Score, a simple and widely used screening tool. The Beighton Score consists of nine tests, and you receive one point for each positive result and a score of four or more out of nine suggests joint hypermobility.

  • Hands flat on the floor: (1 point)

Can you bend forward and place your palms flat on the ground without bending your knees?

  • Elbows: (1 for each one)

Can you hyperextend your elbows beyond 10 degrees?

  • Knees: (1 for each one)

Can you hyperextend your knees beyond 10 degrees?

  • Thumbs: (1 for each one)

Can you bend your thumbs to touch your forearm?

  • Little fingers: (1 for each one)

Can you bend your little fingers back beyond 90 degrees?

  • Look For Other Signs And Symptoms

Other than Beighton score, look for the following:

  • Recurrent joint injuries:

Do you frequently experience sprains, strains, or dislocations?

  • Chronic pain:

Do you have persistent pain in your joints, muscles, or both?

  • Soft tissue injuries:

Are you prone to tendonitis or bursitis?

  • Fatigue:

Do you often feel excessively tired, especially after physical activities?

  • Family history:

Do other members of your family have similar symptoms or have been diagnosed with hypermobility-related conditions?

  • Seek Professional Evaluation

If you suspect you have hypermobility, make sure you see a provider who treats hypermobility. You can search online, look for a provider list on the EDS Society Provider List, and local and regional FB groups. I am a licensed rehabilitation chiropractor that treats predominantly joint hypermobility and no, that does not mean I adjust them. In fact, I rarely adjust my hypermobile patients with a few exception cases. If I suspect further genetic testing, then I refer them to the center that I normally refer to for genetic testing.

  • Genetic Testing

This can help identify specific genetic mutations associated with conditions like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or Marfan Syndrome, bear in mind that not every type of EDS will have an associated genetic mutation.

How Is Hypermobility Managed?

Management of hypermobility should involve lifestyle, diet, and sometimes medication use may be in order. Here are some of what I go over and emphasize with my patients.

Lifestyle Modifications

  • Regular exercise:

I recommend starting and always including developmental exercises such as Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS). You may visit my IG page for some of the examples.

  • Avoid overextending:

Be cautious with activities that require excessive flexibility or put strain on your joints. I am more inclined to recommend Pilates vs yoga for this reason.

  • Joint protection:

Use braces or supports during activities that put stress on your joints and the link I have included is a collection of what I and my Bendy patients like.

Physical Rehabilitation.

This can be done by a physical therapist who treats hypermobility, A Rehab. chiropractor who treats hypermobility, or Occupational therapists who specialize in hypermobility. What is done to the non-hypermobile population by physical therapists, chiropractors or occupational therapists is not the right fit for the Bendy population.

At my clinic, I am all about finding out with my patients their wrong tendencies and replacing them with the correct posture and movement. My patients need to be my apprentice, looking at their hypermobility as their project; this is the only way they can predict, prevent, and solve any movement and joint-related issues in the future.

Pain Management

For those experiencing chronic pain, pain management strategies may include:

  • Medications:

Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications may be necessary. Bear in mind that you can do specific tests to determine what meds work best for you if you don’t respond well to pain medications.

  • Heat and cold therapy:

Applying heat or cold packs to painful joints can provide relief. This is a trial and error and can vary from day to day.

  • Massage therapy:

Massages can help reduce muscle tension and pain but regular point pressure therapy is not the best fit. Broad contact and not deep pressure seem to be the best method.

Surgical Intervention

In severe cases where joint damage or instability is significant, surgical intervention may be necessary. This is typically considered a last resort when other treatments have not been effective.

If you suspect you have hypermobility and want to find out or if you have hypermobility and want to treat your joint and movement issues, contact me.

Dr. Shakib

Recommended Reading:

Craniocervical Instability and Hypermobility: Diagnosis and Treatment

Step By Step Exercise For Joint Stability In Hypermobility?