Can Hypermobility Cause Back Pain?

Can Hypermobility Cause Back Pain?

Hypermobility is excess joint movements and can cause pain in every part of the body, including the lower back area. This pain can be from the muscles engaging to stabilize and muscles over engaging to compensate for the lax ligaments or from issues at other structures from the lack of joint stability.

Not every back pain has the same cause; for example, you can have lower back pain from muscle tension, nerve compression or tension, or even a disc bulge, disc protrusion, or disc herniation.

What is Hypermobility?

I strongly suggest you review my blog collection to understand what hypermobility is. In short, it is instability of the joints because of the lax ligaments and connective tissue, and it impacts all the joints in the body; hypermobility can occur in some joints more than others, but as a connective tissue disorder, it is not just in one joint!

Some common signs include:

    • Excessive Joint Movement
    • Joint Pain: Discomfort or pain in the joints, especially after physical activity.
    • Joint Instability: Feeling like your joints might “give way” or are not fully supported.
    • Fatigue: Tiredness or weakness, especially in the muscles supporting the joints.
    • Easy Bruising: This is due to fragile blood vessels.

How does hypermobility cause back pain?woman standing up holding back with pain

The back pain in hypermobility is caused by the following:

  • Joint Instability

When the joints are hypermobile, support and stability are compromised; this puts extra strain on the muscles, ligaments, and discs in your back, leading to pain and discomfort.

  • Muscle Overuse

To compensate for the instability caused by hypermobile joints, your muscles will have to work harder to keep your spine aligned and supported. This can cause tension and fatigue and lead to pain.

  • Poor Posture

Poor posture happens especially in transitional areas where the neck connects to the body, the mid back connects to the lower back, the lower back connects to the pelvis, and the whole body connects to the ground!! The best practice I have found to help better posture is Developmental exercises such as Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization or DNS.

  • Increased Risk of Injuries

With unstable joints come higher chances of injuries, which can often mean lower back pain.

How do I prevent lower back pain?

  • Stay active and mindful

The safest exercises I have found to work best with my hypermobile patients is those of developmental kinesiology. I follow the teachings of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization which make 100% sense given that we all start from helpless infants to running toddlers without being told what to do. We are programmed to do it that way, so why not use what we already innately know to bring stability?

  • Practice posture awareness

Be mindful of your posture throughout the day. Pay attention to how you sit, stand, and move to prevent unnecessary strain on your spine. I always teach my hypermobile patients their wrong tendencies and what to replace them with. That is the only way we can have success in prevention.

  • Use supportive devices wisely

I am not a big fan of braces, but I recommend them when it comes to my hypermobile patients. Not to be worn all the time but when doing activities that make them prone to injuries or flare-ups. I do recommend hard orthotics, which are good for those with flat feet who are hypermobile.

  • Find the right Rehab. clinician

It is important to ensure you find the right provider, one who knows and treats hypermobility. What we do with our ‘normy’ patients can actually at times hurt our ‘bendy’ patients. Do an online search, call the office and talk to them, ask if you can have a short visit with the provider, and check the EDS Society list, ask the local chapter of EDS groups on Facebook. Do your homework, and know that we are out there!

If you are hypermobile and have joint pain, contact me.

Dr. Shakib

Recommended Reading:

Who Diagnoses Hypermobility?

What Is The Best Hypermobility Treatment?

 

TMJ and Hypermobility

TMJ and Hypermobility

When it comes to hypermobility, all joints are impacted including the TMJ or Temporo-mandibular joint. Up to 75% of individuals with EDS experience TMJ symptoms, such as pain, clicking, or limited jaw movement. So often I hear people claiming their TMJ ruining their lives or their TMJ is getting worse day by day. In this blog, I will go over a brief anatomy of the TMJ, and why some clickings are painful and some are not. The common treatments and things you can do on your own to avoid pain and locking of this joint.

What Is The Anatomy Of The TMJ?

The TMJ is a complex joint connecting your jawbone to your skull. It consists of muscles, ligaments, a disc, and the bones of the jaw. TMJ is involved in the opening, closing, and side-to-side motions of the jaw and is crucial for activities like chewing, talking, and yawning. This joint is a ball and socket joint, like your shoulder and hip joints, and can dislocate or sublux. just like those joints.

Why Is My TMJ Clicking?

Clicking or popping sounds in the TMJ are common and while considered usually harmless by dentists and many clinicians, I disagree. Just because they may be not painful, does not make it harmless!!

pic of the skull with the anatomy of the TMJ

When painful it could indicate underlying issues with one reason being the displacement of the disc within the joint, causing irritation and inflammation. This disc is to follow the movement of the ball moving inside the socket but sometimes it gets pinched inside the joint, causing pain. Conditions like arthritis can cause pain which is typically caused by misalignment of the ball inside the socket and lack of proper joint movement. Remember the ‘harmless’ clicking that I disagreed with? This is why I disagree because these misalignments over time don’t necessarily cause any pain!!

What Other Anatomy Influences The Jaw?

The TMJ is heavily influenced by the neck and upper body through a network of muscles and nerves. Poor posture, such as slouching or forward head posture, can disrupt this interconnected system, leading to TMJ dysfunction and discomfort.

diagram of the neck and jaw

 

When posture is compromised, it can change the alignment of the spine, affecting the muscles and ligaments that support the head and jaw. This, in turn, can increase stress on the TMJ, contributing to pain and dysfunction.

What To Do For TMJ Treatment And Pain Avoidance

While Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD), Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), and other connective tissue disorders are for life, there are measures you can take, and conditions you can pay attention to so your TMJ can be less painful and more under control. Following is what I remind my patients to consider preventatively and when in pain.

  • Dental Visit

Make sure to ask for small child blocks for all dental work. Lockjaw can happen at the dentist’s office when the jaw is open for too long and it locks in the open position.

Get your molars checked to make sure they are closing properly. When they don’t close on top of each other malocclusion can cause tension in the neck and your whole posture.

Not all dentists know how to check for Tongue tie so this may be a visit to an orofacial functional therapist. Some people benefit from this minor procedure and some do not see any long-term benefit.

  • Postural Improvement

Your posture plays a role in the position of your neck and your head and neck, in turn, impact the position of your jaw. Forward neck is a big player in this decline in the position so all exercises that assist in postural improvement become steps in the right direction. I only use Developmental exercises such as Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization or DNS.

  • Breathe Biologically

The number one step in the right direction for everything movement-related is biological breathing which is how we all breathed as infants to the first few years of life before it changes based on our injuries. Here is what biological breathing is done.

  • Jawning

Drop the head down when yawning, coughing, and sneezing. This minimizes and most likely prevents open lockjaw.

  • Food

Often when the jaw is in pain, we avoid eating solid foods but chewing is better than grinding so cut your solid food into smaller pieces and don’t eat salad so much!!

When eating, make sure you keep your mouth clothes and do not put your elbows on the table. The second part has to do with better posture of the neck and midback.

  • Tongue Exercise For Jaw

Dr. Mew is a dentist whose license was actually under review for being against orthodontics! He and his dad noticed the decline and problems caused by the practice of orthodontics and the impact it has on the face and jaw. The practice of orthodontics purely started based on cosmetics and nothing more. Dr. Mew suggests the following:

  1. Relax and close your lips.
  2. With your lips sealed and teeth in contact, lift your tongue and press it against the roof of your mouth.
  3. Repeat these steps multiple times as regularly as possible.

Chew Gum And Close Your Mouth When Eating

This will practice chewing and use the muscles of mastication, which allows better positioning of the jaw. The saying ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’ certainly applies here.

Sitting To Standing Alert

Due to craniocervical instability, I suggest my patients with hypermobility drop their chin down and hinge their torso at the hips to sit and stand. This allows limited movement of the head over the neck which in turn takes some of the stress at the TMJ.

When it comes to hypermobility, it is so important to make sure you seek care from providers who treat patients with hypermobility because the normie treatments can often actually cause further issues. If you have hypermobility and are interested in learning not only how to avoid the pain of joint hypermobility but also how to live your life mindfully and based on your hypermobility, contact me.

Dr. Shakib

Recommended Reading:

What Are Signs Of Hypermobility?

Hypermobility And Pain Relief