Do you experience headaches? Poor posture? Overtired after exercise? Messy handwriting as a kid? Numb bum at the movies? Or heard the words “double jointed” all your life?
It could, in fact, be Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS). The trait appears to be genetic and is a result of variation in collagen, the main protein structure of connective tissue.
But we’re not here to tell you what’s wrong with you. This is a very common condition where your body’s ligaments have more elasticity than usual, resulting in pain syndromes that confuse many people and practitioners.
We do know, however, that “Joint Hypermobility has an impact on the whole body and not just joints” according to Jessica Eccles, a psychiatrist and researcher at the University of Sussex. JHS can often be linked to an increased risk of asthma and irritable bowel syndrome, among other physical disorders.
Despite mounting evidence, JHS appears to be under-recognised, poorly understood, and inadequately managed. However, AV Chiro is here for the good news surrounding this condition that probably affects somebody close to you.
Common musculoskeletal presentations of JHS include:
- Pain in the knees, hips, fingers, and elbows
- Joint and muscle aches that are worse at night
- Pain or excessive fatigue after routine sport or exercise
- Frequent sprains/strains and bruising
- Poor posture and body mechanics
- Non-specific low back pain (NSLBP)
…just to name a few. If any of these sound like you or someone you may know, AV Chiro is here to lend a helping hand!
The first step to feeling relief from JHS is, of course, diagnosis. Most JHS patients have lived years without diagnosis and in some families this is the story for generations. Chiropractors often use a method called the Beighton Score, consisting of 5 non-invasive tests. The diagram below encompasses the Beighton Score, measuring each patient’s ability to:
- Hyperextend the pinkie finger to at least 90°
- Bend the thumb to touch the forearm
- Hyperextend the elbow
- Hyperextend the knee
- Place hands flat on the floor without bending knees
As is the case with all of our patients, no two are the same and require thorough assessment to help prioritise treatment. Appropriate recognition and management are essential for Joint Hypermobility Syndrome as it is often missed. Patient education in essential; patients and their families need to be fully informed about the diagnosis so as to help determine which activities exacerbate their symptoms, and allow them to make the appropriate lifestyle modifications to ensure joint health.
There are things that can be done to help manage symptoms of JHS but a complete understanding of the problem is needed to help devise a treatment plan. Often there is a need to engage a number of different practitioners to help manage the various presentations of Joint Hypermobility Syndrome.
Dependant on age and levels of physical activity, symptoms can become more troubling, but overall they are benign with good prognosis for future function.
Chiropractic care helps by only moving the specific joints that aren’t moving properly, and this varies from patient to patient depending on the pain or symptoms they present with. Furthermore, your Chiropractor will then prescribe specific exercises to strengthen and maintain the adjustment.
Research shows that posture, joint-position awareness, strength, and muscle control are all important in helping achieve joint stability, better physical activity and general fitness. But here’s the quirky bit! JHS is one of the few conditions that improves with aging. Connective tissue becomes less compliant with age, and this does provide hope to people with JHS! With support from family and appropriate management from your Chiropractor, we can have great outcomes for those with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome.
To find out more on JHS and how AV Chiro may be able to help you, contact the clinic today!
Extracted from the original article “Joint Hypermobility Syndrome” written by Robyn Hickmott. https://www.medicalobserver.com.au/medical-news/psychiatry/joint-hypermobility-syndrome with additional information from Dr Andrew Vincent.