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Hypermobility - What is it?

Blog written by Dr. Brett Guist - Chiropractor


At The Centre for Fitness, Health, and Performance we see patients who suffer from a variety of joint and muscle pains. This includes low back pain, hip pain, neck pain, headaches, jaw pain, etc. Each patient requires a thorough history and physical examination in order to properly determine their best course of treatment. Part of the physical examination involves a range of motion test for your affected body area, but also other parts of your body that could be contributing to your aches and pains.


While some degree of flexibility is normal, some patients may experience an increased amount of joint flexibility during these tests, which is often associated with hypermobility syndrome. While increased flexibility might seem beneficial, it can lead to feelings of instability and the overuse of muscles to compensate – which may lead to pain and discomfort. Similarly, many hypermobile individuals have loose joints in their neck and jaw, leading to strain on supporting musculature that can cause jaw pain, neck pain, and headaches.


Research has linked hypermobility with many musculoskeletal injuries including ankle ligament sprains, ACL (knee ligament) injuries, shoulder instability/dislocations, lower back pain, jaw pain, headaches, and osteoarthritis of the hand. These aches and pains may significantly impact a patient’s quality of life.


Identifying hypermobility requires a comprehensive assessment including a thorough medical history, range of motion, and a Beighton score. The Beighton score is a series of 9 movements to gauge your body’s flexibility, which has been found to be highly reliable.



For patients who are identified as being hypermobile, their health care practitioner will help determine the best treatment plan. Manual therapy can play a pivotal role in addressing hypermobility-related concerns. Manipulations and mobilizations of the affected joints, soft tissue techniques, and functional strength rehabilitation are all used to help alleviate the pain. At our clinic, we utilize an interdisciplinary approach to help provide comprehensive treatment.



REFERENCES


Wolf JM, Cameron KL, Owens BD. Impact of joint laxity and hypermobility on the musculoskeletal system. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2011 Aug;19(8):463-71. doi: 10.5435/00124635-201108000-00002. PMID: 21807914.


Malek S, Reinhold EJ, Pearce GS. The Beighton Score as a measure of generalised joint hypermobility. Rheumatol Int. 2021 Oct;41(10):1707-1716. doi: 10.1007/s00296-021-04832-4. Epub 2021 Mar 18. PMID: 33738549; PMCID: PMC8390395.


Folci, M., Capsoni, F. Arthralgias, fatigue, paresthesias and visceral pain: can joint hypermobility solve the puzzle? A case report. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 17, 58 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-016-0905-2


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