Do you answer yes to more than one of these questions:
- 1) can you or have you been able in the past, to place your hands flat on the floor without bending your knees
- 2) can you or have you been able in the past bend your thumb back to touch your forearm
- 3) as a child did you amuse your friends by contorting your body into strange shapes or could you do the splits
- 4) as a child did your shoulder or kneecap dislocation more than 1 occasion
- 5) do you consider yourself double jointed
If you answered yes to more than 2 of theses questions there is a chance that you are hypermobile. This means that your connective tissue is more stretchy naturally than someone who has always been stiff. This is great in many ways, you are the group that manage yoga so well, that are good at gymnastics and ballet. But there are many difficulties that accompany hypermobility which predispose you to pain and injury. At Physiologix we have a special interest in working with people with this condition and here we list some of the issues you need to be aware of.
Fatigue: If you are stiff it is easy to keep your body in a position, you don’t need to use your muscles much. If you are hypermobile, it is easy for you to slump, lean on an elbow, hang off one hip when you stand. You do this as your muscles have to work so hard to keep you in good posture – there is no stiffness to do it for you. You get tired and you fall into bad postures, so much easier to do, but sadly terrible for your body long term. Ligaments and tendons become stretched and can ache, bursitis can occur to protect things, joints ache. Learning what is good posture, how to sleep, sit, stand, walk, will help protect the joints when you do these activites, greatly alleviating pain.
Weakness: because you can hang out in bad postures, muscles get stretched, others get weak. Often these are the muscles we need to support our posture. Without them we become even more tired, and our joints are less protected hurting more – it’s a vicious cycle. At Physiologix we use ultrasound imaging so you can see the deep muscles that support you, and learn how to switch them on, and teach them how to work to support your body again. Strength exercises are essential but the muscles you work and the positions you work in can make or break things – literally. We utilise Pilates, slow, careful, strength based exercise on machines, supervised by a physio. This will help protect your body: it is a wonderful way to learn how to move your body safely.
Pain: if your body is allowed to move in poor alignment, there are not the stiff structures other people have to protect them. Your joints can become unstable and put under stress and strain, eventually becoming inflamed and aggravated and PAINFUL. Your body often lacks awareness of where it is and you are more prone to falls, spraining ankles. If your joints move too much they can pop out and “dislocate” often when doing something simple. The list is endless, simple to say, yes, there are a lot of reasons you may be in pain! But the reasons can be very multifactorial and our physios, with a special interest and understanding in your condition will help get to the bottom of it all, and teach you how to start to get things feeling right again.
And it is not just musculoskeletal issues you can have being hypermobile. Connective tissue all around your body can be affected. Your gut – do you have undiagnosed gut issues? Your circulatory system: do you often feel you have palpitations or feel light headed? Anxiety – do you often feel you are anxious? It may just be your heart racing to deal with circulatory issues all the time and you don’t actually have “anxiety” at all. The list goes on.
Hypermobility syndrome is a fairly recent diagnosis. Not enough is know, but all the time we are learning more. Please feel free to contact us with any queries you may have - we are always delighted to help!