What Is Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder?

May 15, 2023by The Line Method

Have you ever heard of a Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD) or Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Sydrome? It’s a condition that affects the connective tissues in the body, making them more flexible than usual. It used to be called Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) and it’s characterized by joint hypermobility, chronic pain, and other symptoms. Let’s take a closer look at what causes HSD, its symptoms, how it’s diagnosed, the treatment options available, and the benefits of exercise for people with hypermobility.

So, What Causes HSD/hEDS?

Well, it’s a genetic condition that’s inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. This means that if you inherit the gene from just one parent, you can develop the condition. The gene responsible for HSD is still unknown, but researchers are working hard to identify it. “Hypermobility¬†spectrum¬†disorders (HSD) are connective tissue disorders that cause joint hypermobility, instability, injury, and pain. Other problems such as fatigue, headaches, GI problems, and autonomic dysfunction are often seen as part of HSD.”

The main symptom of HSD is joint hypermobility, which means your joints can move beyond their normal range of motion. Other symptoms include chronic pain (especially in the joints, muscles, and back), frequent joint dislocations and subluxations (partial dislocations), easy bruising and bleeding, fatigue and exhaustion, poor coordination and balance, digestive problems, and anxiety and depression.

Diagnosing HSD can be tricky because the symptoms are not always specific to the disorder. Your doctor will usually start by taking a detailed medical history and conducting a physical exam to check for joint hypermobility and other symptoms. There are several diagnostic criteria used to identify HSD, including the Beighton Score and the Brighton Criteria.

Managing Your Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for hypermobility spectrum disorder, but treatment can help manage the symptoms. Your doctor may recommend pain relievers, physical therapy, or other treatments to manage chronic pain associated with HSD. You might also be advised to wear braces or tape to stabilize your joints and reduce the risk of dislocations and subluxations. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and lifestyle changes like managing stress and getting enough rest can also help manage symptoms. Counseling or therapy may be recommended to help manage anxiety and depression associated with the condition.

How To Exercise With A Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder

Regular exercise can be very beneficial for people with hypermobility. It can help to strengthen the muscles that support the joints, which can reduce the risk of dislocations and subluxations. Exercise can also improve balance and coordination, which can help to prevent falls and other accidents. Additionally, exercise can help to manage chronic pain associated with hypermobility by promoting the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced by the body.

However, it’s important to be careful when exercising if you have hypermobility. High-impact activities and sports that involve a lot of twisting or bending can put excessive strain on the joints, which can increase the risk of injury. It’s best to start with low-impact exercises like swimming, cycling, or walking and gradually increase the intensity and duration over time.

It’s also important to do exercises that target the specific muscles that support the joints affected by hypermobility. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend exercises that are safe and effective for your condition. Stretching can also be helpful to improve flexibility, but it’s important to do so in a controlled manner to avoid overstretching and causing further damage to the joints.

How HSD May Impact You

The prognosis for people with HSD can vary widely depending on the severity of their symptoms. Some people with HSD have relatively mild symptoms that don’t significantly impact their daily life, while others may have more severe symptoms that affect their ability to work, participate in activities, and maintain relationships.

People with HSD may be at an increased risk of developing other conditions related to joint hypermobility. These conditions could include ailments such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and other forms of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). It’s important to have regular check-ups with your doctor to monitor any changes in your symptoms and to manage any potential complications.

In conclusion, Hypermobile Spectrum Disorder is a genetic condition that affects the connective tissues in the body, leading to joint laxity, chronic pain, and other symptoms. While there’s no cure for HSD, treatment can help manage the symptoms. Regular exercise is a very beneficial option for people with hypermobility when done safely and effectively. It’s important to be careful when exercising and to do exercises that target the specific muscles that support the joints affected by hypermobility. With the right treatment and management, people with HSD can lead fulfilling lives and manage their symptoms effectively. If you suspect that you have HSD, it’s important to speak with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis. This can help determine the best treatment options for you.

How The Line Method Can Help?

Eva Meier, the founder of The Line Method, was diagnosed with a hypermobility spectrum disorder in 2021. After years of battling with unexplained pain, she struggled to find a workout space that understood her body’s unique needs. She decided to take matters into her own hands. Eva developed a number of techniques that have helped her along her HSD journey. Over the years, she has aided dozens of clients in their journey’s as well. If you have a hypermobility spectrum disorder and need a place to safely and effectively improve your strength and mobility, reach out to info@thelinemethod.com or call 202-318-8801 to set up your consultation.