Hypermobility and how to help your symptoms
Hypermobility is the term used to refer to people who have joints with an unusually large range of movement. Sometimes they describe themselves as very 'bendy' or 'loose' or 'double 'jointed'. It is also commonly associated with low tone in the muscles. This does not mean they lack strength but that the muscles do not support the joints as efficiently and struggle to provide the rigidity to hold them up against gravity.
Hypermobile people often like to move regularly to prevent their muscles becoming achy when they hold one position for too long. Other people may perceive them to be fidgets and also to be clumsy.
Hypermobility is often hereditary (runs in families) and is a 'spectrum' problem, in that it can exist to a greater or lesser degree in different people. It is due to a lack of a 'stiffening' agent in our soft tissues called collagen. Collagen is a protein that binds us together and is very important for support to our joints, ligaments, tendons, heart, blood vessels and eyes.
Many people at the mild end of the spectrum will never have any problems and some (e.g. dancers gymnasts, musicians and swimmers) positively benefit from the increased flexibility.
At the severe end (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Marfan's syndrome) they suffer with many and varied symptoms:
- Back pain and stiffness in their joints
- Clicking joints
- Dislocating joints
- Recurrent sprains
- Digestive problems - constipation, irritable bowel
- Dizziness and fainting
- Stretchy skin, stretch marks
- Trigger points
Due to the muscles having to work harder to support the joints against the forces of gravity, painful and tender areas develop in the muscles and can occur all over the body. If they get established they can cause pain, anxiety and disability.
Luckily these points are simple to find and can be easily 'defused' manually.
The Bakpro product devised by leading osteopath Nick Potter is a godsend to hypermobile people as it not only provides the tools to reach and release these points, but also provides all of the facts and exercises necessary to keep them at bay.
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