Have you ever thought about how Hypermobility affects your life? These 6 ways may answer some questions you've always wondered about.
What is Hypermobility?
Hypermobility is a condition in which a person’s joints are more flexible than usual. People with this condition often experience pain when moving their bodies. They also tend to have trouble standing and sitting for long periods of time.
Although joint pain is one of the most common side effects of living with hypermobility, the condition affects much more than that.
Continue reading to learn 6 ways Hypermobility can affect your life.
Hypermobility can affect your handwriting & concentration
Were you that kid that got told you held the pencil wrong every day?
This is something that may be related to Hypermobility.
When you are Hypermobile, problems with handwriting are quite common. We struggle to hold and control small items such as pencils.
We tend to adapt our grip to accommodate the increased flexibility in our hand joints, thus we end up having a grip that doesn’t allow much movement.
People with Hypermobility will end up using their wrists instead of their fingers to write, which will have an effect on their performance and overall handwriting.
Sitting for long periods of time can be really hard for people with Hypermobility. This is why it is a bit difficult to concentrate on long meetings, school or university.
We can come across as fidgety and distractive, however, we are actually just dealing with pain and fear.
How to hold a pen when you are Hypermobile
- Sit back in your chair with a slight forward of the pelvis, relax, and try to have your right or left shoulder blade close to the chair.
- You can place your pen between the second and third finger, it looks funny but it takes little pressure to maintain. You should have your thumb underneath.
Best ways to maintain concentration when you are Hypermobile
- Take frequent breaks to move around.
- Make sure your working or studying setup is well thought out to avoid pain and flare-ups.
- Make sure you are holding a good posture throughout the session.
- Change your mechanics to what is best for you and your body.
Hypermobility can affect your anxiety
Did you know that individuals with Hypermobility are up to sixteen times more likely to experience panic or anxiety disorders*?
This seems to be related to autonomic abnormalities like postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and to the extra sensitivity people with Hypermobility tend to have to pain or the threat of pain.
We tend to be overactive to what we feel inside, and this develops into an overactivation of our cardiovascular responses to what goes around us.
Also, POTS, which is common in people with Hypermobility, has some symptoms like heart rate acceleration which relates to the symptoms of panic attacks and anxiety states.
Are you anxious or just Hypermobile?
Effective ways to handle anxiety
- Breathe slowly.
- Try progressive muscle relaxation.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Challenge your self-talk.
- Plan worry time.
- Learn from others.
- Be kind to yourself.
Hypermobility can affect your hormonal sensitivity
Have you noticed a worsening of your symptoms, more pain in your joints, clumsiness, or a greater tendency to dislocate your joints in the five days leading up to or a few days after menstruation?
In women, there is a hormone called relaxin which is released after ovulation. When that hormone is released it interacts with estrogen and progesterone and overall makes your tendons and joints laxer.
When you are already Hypermobile and your joints get looser, that does not help you and tends to make your symptoms worse.
How to handle Hypermobility-related hormonal sensitivity
- Track your symptoms so you can identify if they correlate to your cycle.
- Work on your strength and mental wellbeing to cope with the changes.
- Use an SI belt on those weaker days.
- Use orthotics and ensure good posture.
Hypermobility can affect your fatigue
Fatigue can be a major symptom of Hypermobility.
Several issues related to hypermobility can cause a person to feel chronic fatigue.
Difficulty sleeping, long-term pain, and in general the body becoming used to inactivity, problems associated with standing, digestive system issues, nighttime urination, anxiety, depression, and headaches are just some of the Hypermobility related symptoms that may cause your fatigue to become chronic.
Ways to handle Hypermobility related fatigue
- Keeping activity logs so you can set goals.
- Medication directed toward specific problems.
- Lifestyle changes.
- Sleep management, rest, and relaxation.
Hypermobility can affect your walk
Are you constantly falling or bumping into things?
Let me introduce you to the concept of proprioception.
It has been suggested that patients with Hypermobility may have proprioception impairments. Thus it is harder for us to know where our body is located within the space or predict where we will be if we move in a certain way.
These issues may lead us to frequent falls and injuries, which are also harder to heal if you have Hypermobility.
Hypermobility can affect your balance
There actually is quite a bit of research that shows that people with Hypermobility also have problems with their balance, particularly their side-to-side balance.
What this means is that while they tend to be related, you need to work on them more.
Balance is one of the things that we can control and change, we can do a lot with it.
If you have Hypermobility and poor balance, I would highly recommend starting a balance program to avoid the risk of falls and be able to engage in situations that may require good balance and stability.
Best exercises to improve proprioception and balance
- Static exercise: With this exercise, you are trying to keep your balance in place. You can put both feet together, switch to having one foot in front of the other, or stand on one foot. Which one you do depends on which one is challenging for you.
- Dynamic movement: This exercise includes movement. Put your foot one in front of the other walking forward and backward. It’s important to control your position and remain stable.
- Uneven ground: Use a mat or anything that is squishy to stand on. Then, do any of the first exercises discussed (feet together, feet in front of the other, one foot up, or walking with your feet together).
Some of the most common ways that Hypermobility can affect your life are:
- your handwriting & concentration,
- your anxiety,
- hormonal sensitivity,
- and balance.
Having Hypermobility can affect your life in many different ways. Being informed not only on how it affects you but also how to control these symptoms can make a huge difference in your wellbeing.
To learn about the Top 8 Hypermobility comorbidities click here.
If you are looking for Hypermobility resources, feel free to check out my blog.
Looking to manage your Hypermobility symptoms?