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  • Writer's pictureGrace Harrop

Joint Hypermobility Syndrome

Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, also known as being Double-jointed, is a joint condition that means you have very flexible joints with an unusually large range of movement allowing them to move beyond the normal limits expected for that joint. This can often cause pain or stiffness in the muscles surrounding the hypermobile joint.

The condition usually affects children and young people and is said to get better with age. If you’ve ever been told you have growing pains you will relate to this a lot as sometimes it does not get better with age and is often dismissed!

childhood pain

Symptoms may include getting tired even after rest, pain and stiffness in joints and muscle pain, easily injured such as sprains and strains, thin and stretchy skin and poor balance or co-ordination to name a few.

Joint Hypermobility Syndrome can be diagnosed by a GP or Physiotherapist using a test called the Beighton scoring system. A 9-point scale that requires the performance of 5 manoeuvres, 4 passive bilateral and 1 active unilateral.

We also have massage therapists at Bloom Wellbeing who not only have lived experience of the condition but can also check for Hypermobility in your joints and offer various strengthening exercises to help with the condition. Although an official diagnosis should be conducted by your GP.

Massage can be helpful to improve fascial pain (the network of connective tissue that supports and protects the body’s structures and organs), this is common in Hypermobile patients. Massage increases blood flow to the areas of the body where clients experience tightness and pain; this will then help heal the fascial injuries and reduce discomfort. Effective soft-tissue and massage therapy techniques for hypermobility include Myofascial Release: a technique that involves applying sustained pressure to the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles (fascia) in order to release tension and improve mobility. Trigger point therapy is also used to treat pain caused by this condition. Pain in trigger points occur when the muscle has been ‘switched on’ for too long causing tension in localised areas. Trigger point massage is where you apply pressure to those specific knots to help release tension and improve movement in clients.

trigger point therapy

Hypermobility can be a benign condition or associated with various medical conditions such as Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (BJHS), Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD) or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS).

Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (BJHS) is the most common and typically not associated with any serious health issues but may cause joint pain and an increased risk of dislocation or sprains in the patient. This condition often runs in families which suggests a genetic component.

Hypermobility Spectrum Syndrome (HSD) encompasses various conditions involving joint hypermobility but can come with or without systematic symptoms. This can include pain, fatigue and autonomic dysfunction (a condition where the nerves that control vital functions like heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion are damaged. It can cause symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, weakness, and cognitive impairment, depending on which part of the autonomic nervous system is affected. Similar problems are found in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.)

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a group of connective tissue disorders with hypermobility type (hEDS) being the most common. It has 13 types of conditions that affect the strength and flexibility of skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and organs. EDS can affect people in different ways. For some, the condition is relatively mild, while for others their symptoms can be disabling. The different types of EDS are caused by faults in certain genes that make connective tissue weaker. Depending on the type of EDS, the faulty gene may have been inherited from 1 parent or both parents. Sometimes the faulty gene is not inherited, but occurs in the person for the first time. Some of the rare, severe types can be life threatening. A few of the symptoms include skin hyperextensibility (stretchy skin), easy bruising, and chronic pain alongside joint hypermobility. If you or someone you know thinks they might have any of these conditions please contact the Ehlers-Danlos Society.

myofascial release

Unfortunately, there is no cue for hypermobility. But what you can do is improve strength in the muscles around the joints to make them more stable and less prone to injury, as well as pain management. All our therapists are trained in treating pain through massage so book an appointment today to speak to us about pain, hypermobility and strengthening exercises.

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