Step By Step Guide To Hypermobility

Step By Step Guide To Hypermobility

Hypermobility, often referred to as joint hypermobility syndrome, means your joints can move beyond the typical range of motion. While this flexibility can be advantageous for activities like gymnastics or dance, it can also lead to challenges such as joint pain, instability, and an increased risk of injury. Hypermobility can be in the form of Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome(EDS), Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder(HSD), Marfan, or other less common connective tissue disorders. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what steps to take if you’ve just discovered you’re hypermobile.

What Is Hypermobility?

Hypermobility occurs when the tissues that hold your joints together, such as ligaments and tendons, are too loose. This condition can be due to genetics, where the collagen in your body is more elastic than usual. Hypermobility can range from mild to severe, and it’s essential to understand how it affects your body to manage it effectively.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hypermobility?

I have written a whole blog about symptoms of hypermobility. Common signs include:

    • Joint Pain and Discomfort: Often felt in the knees, elbows, wrists, and ankles – Frequent Injuries: Such as sprains, dislocations, and strains.
    • Fatigue: Due to the extra effort required to stabilize loose joints.
    • Poor Posture: Resulting from the body’s attempt to compensate for joint instability.
    • Soft Tissue Injuries: Including tendonitis and bursitis. Understanding these symptoms can help you identify which areas of your body need the most attention and care.
    • Jaw Pain
    • Increase Heart Rate
    • POTS

You Are Hypermobile, Now What?

Don’t panic. We are in a much better place than we were even 5 years ago and there are a lot more providers and more awareness about joint hypermobility and other symptoms of connective tissue disorder. There are provider resources available on the EDS Society website as well as close Facebook groups.

Consult A Healthcare Professional

Typically, a rheumatologist, cardiologist, or orthopedist is the first line of providers to see. It is important to see one who is familiar with hypermobility. As a rehab. clinician, I diagnose hypermobility often as the first line of provider patients seek, so it is not uncommon to visit a provider who happens to know about hypermobility for one of its many presentations.

Depending on the symptoms, I often refer the patient to a genetic counselor for further evaluation to determine if Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is present. I have written a blog on the difference between EDS and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD) that I suggest you read.

Develop A Personalized Plan

Educate Yourself On Hypermobility

Educating yourself about hypermobility can empower you to make informed decisions about your health. Use websites on hypermobility, joint support, and FB groups, and get literature from healthcare professionals to name a few. Thankfully we have so many resources of information these days that you are in a MUCH better place than you would have been less than a decade ago! Understanding your condition can help you advocate for yourself and seek appropriate care and resources.

Personalized Exercise Plan

One of the best ways to manage hypermobility is through a personalized exercise plan. IMO, it is important to seek care from a rehab clinician such as a physical therapist or a rehabilitative chiropractor who knows about joint hypermobility since the treatment of the “Normie” is not the same as the “Bendy”.

baby doing a plank exercise

I use Developmental Kinesiology exercises, baby exercises since we are hard-wired to know them and they are very gentle on the joints yet highly effective in providing joint stability and functional mobility. These exercises provide core and strength training while providing balance and proprioception opportunities. I have spelled out the exercises for hypermobility in my blog, “best Exercises for Hypermobility” in detail.

I use these exercises to address all joints including the pelvic joint which is involved in pelvic floor dysfunction, yet another misunderstood and mistreated condition!

Prioritize Joint Protection

Protecting your joints is essential when you have hypermobility. Here are some strategies to help:

  • Avoid Overextending

Be mindful of your range of motion and avoid pushing your joints beyond their natural limits.

  • Use Braces and Supports

This is so important, and while I don’t necessarily generally recommend that to everyone, I certainly encourage my hypermobile patient to wear braces or supports during activities that put stress on their joints., when they have pain and need a bit more support or when they are having flare-ups.

  • Maintain Good Posture:

Proper posture can help prevent undue strain on your joints and muscles. This is not because you are bendy but because we all need to have a good posture to allow our body parts to shine the most, to dogirl's side view what they are best at. Just as you know how to drive because you understand the principles of driving, it is smart to understand the principles of movement and work toward getting better at it each day. By doing so, we have no choice but to get better posture.

Take Regular Breaks

Avoid long periods of repetitive motion or standing to reduce joint stress. Adjust your daily demands based on your energy level each day.

Don’t Care!

Trying to meet other people’s expectations because you don’t want to be ‘flaky’ is not going to serve you well. Try to explain where you are at and what you are dealing with, and if those individuals don’t understand, then forgive them and move on!

Nutrition And Hydration

Proper nutrition and hydration play a vital role in joint health. Ensure you’re consuming a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and anti-inflammatory Foods like omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and seeds to reduce inflammation. Depending on whether you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)or not, you may want to consult a nutritionist familiar with MCAS and histamine.

Drinking plenty of water to keep your tissues hydrated and functioning optimally. Salt is most likely your best friend so taking electrolytes or water and salt is strongly recommended to increase blood volume, and lower the chances of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and flare-ups.

Listen To Your Body

Lastly, always listen to your body and trust your intuition. By taking these first steps, you can effectively manage hypermobility and improve your quality of life. Remember, early intervention and consistent management are key to living well with hypermobility.

If you are hypermobile and are ready to take the necessary steps to claim your life, contact me.

Dr. Shakib

Recommended Reading:

Should I Stretch If I Am Hypermobile?

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