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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Martin

Hypermobility and pain

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

Over the last few years I have worked more and more with people with hypermobility, not deliberately but often because these people have failed to get the help they need elsewhere. Sometimes they have been diagnosed with hypermobility issues, often they have not. Women are generally in my experience more likely to be diagnosed than men. Those who haven’t been diagnosed have often had long term pain, or repeated occurrences of back or joint pain. Often they have had X-rays and MRI scans and are often told that the doctors can’t find anything wrong. Yet often one look at the way that person stands can tell you that they are likely to be hypermobile and some simple Range Of Movement (ROM) tests can tell you that they are. This leads us on to the questions below:

What is hypermobility?

Why does it cause pain?

How do we reduce (get rid of) the pain?

What is hypermobility?

It basically means that a joint is hyper (over) mobile (movement), so will move more than is normal or perhaps it should. And it can affect a single joint, several joints or every joint in your body

And this can be for a number of reasons:

A single joint is often just because of an injury that has damaged a ligament or several ligaments around a joint causing a looseness around that joint.

Multiple joints being affected is usually a genetic thing often hereditary.

EDS - Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes - a connective tissue disorder causing a form of severe global (all over) hypermobility which can be diagnosed with a number of tests.

Why does it cause pain?

Well usually because the joint goes beyond the ROM (range of movement) that it should, meaning that bones, muscles and tendons, and ligaments may not be aligned correctly causing pressure and/or friction to occur in areas that it shouldn’t.

And these poor postures often develop as you grow because the easy solution to instability in your joints is often to lock them at the end of their ROM rather than making the muscles work hard to control the stability.

How do we reduce the pain?

We have to re-educate the body and brain to adopt better posture and movement patterns than those that it currently has. Your posture needs to be assessed properly. You may need sports massage to help stretch the muscles in some areas that may have become adaptively shortened (stuck in a contracted/ activated/ tensed position), but more often it is just down to some ‘simple’ exercises to improve your posture and movement patterns.

Simple - here it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to be mentally or physically easy for you to achieve, but only because of what your brain and body currently thinks is the correct way to do things. Your neurological pathways need to be retrained! This sounds far harder than it actually is and good results can often be achieved in relatively short time periods, but it does require you to be dedicated to trying to resolve the problem. Awareness of how you are standing and moving will become a huge factor in your journey forward.

I have worked with people who have come to me already aware that hypermobility was at least some part of their problem but equally I have seen many who came to me who have come to me just because they have pain in their knees, hips or back that doctors have been unable to find a cause for. Often they come looking for massage as the solution and it may help but what they actually need is a corrective exercise programme overseen by a specialist in postural alignment who can observe and correct as they go along. A programme that initially focuses on how to do simple everyday tasks with good posture and good movement patterns.

For further information, advice or to book a consultation please contact me.

Jonathan Martin

Massage Therapist & Corrective Exercise Specialist

Call or Text: 07980695185


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