Hypermobility

“Double jointed” party trick by Shaun, highlighting hypermobility in his fingers. 

What is hypermobility?

Hypermobility is defined as having an unusually or abnormally large range of movement in a joint or joints. It is effectively the opposite of stiffness (hypomobility).

 

A lot of people come to see us because of stiffness, so the thought of hypermobility may sound pretty good, but it comes with it’s own host of challenges. Too much movement can be just as problematic as not enough movement! 

Hypermobile people may struggle with stabilising joints, are at greater risk of dislocations or subluxations, and often carry additional muscle tensions because they have to contract to hold together what ligaments otherwise would.

In most cases it’s purely the result of genetics – in particular, what type of collagen we produce (stretchy, or stiff). For some people it’s the result of injury, usually a previous dislocation or tear of some sort. It can also be associated with a range of musculoskeletal and cardiovascular conditions (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, POTS, scoliosis etc).

What do we do about it?

We can’t change our genetics, so we rely on compensating for our stretchy ligaments by strengthening our muscles, especially our slow twitch postural muscles sitting close to the joints (deep). We prescribe exercises that work joints through a full (not excessive) range of motion, under some degree of load and stability challenge, forcing our stabilising muscles to engage work and strengthen over time. It’s REALLY hard work, and takes a lot of consistency (much like stretching programs for really stiff people!), but spending the time and energy on building the strength around our joints is key to long healthy happy capable bodies 

If you’d like to learn more about managing hypermobility feel free to give us a call or make an appointment. 

Our Osteopaths are experienced in providing hands-on care for the pain and tightness that can come with hypermobility, as well as demonstrating and prescribing the appropriate exercises to help stabilise, strengthen and offload areas as required.

We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, please email us if you need any advice! info@chadstoneregionosteo.com.au

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