Celebrating Hypermobility Awareness Month5 min read

During Hypermobility Awareness Month, we share our experiences and raise awareness around Hypermobility, and this gets me excited.

May is my favorite month of the year!

Hypermobility is an issue many people are just discovering but struggle to understand what it is and what to do about it.

It is often a frustrating path of misinformation and a lack of answers.

The medical community is not always helpful and often doesn’t understand Hypermobility themselves, leaving individuals who are suffering wandering blindly on their own, looking for answers.

Keep reading to grasp what Hypermobility is and how you can be a part of Hypermobility Awareness Month.

What is Hypermobility

What is Hypermobility?

 

The definition of Hypermobility is a dominant inherited connective tissue disorder whose primary symptom is excessive laxity of multiple joints.

Although the cause of Hypermobility Syndrome is not fully understood yet, it appears to be a systemic collagen abnormality.

It creates joint abnormalities and affects cardiac tissue, the gastrointestinal system, skin laxity, etc.

Also, Hypermobility comes with many comorbidities that can make life hard to manage. You can check the most common ones here.

Why is Hypermobility Awareness Month important?

 

Hypermobility Awareness Month is important because there are still people who believe Hypermobility:

  • Is not real.
  • Is not painful.
  • Means you are just “bendy.”
  • Shows you are just depressed.
  • It is just in your head.
  • Only affects the joints.

And much more.

This continues to be a topic plagued with misconceptions. Hypermobility Awareness Month is the perfect time to debunk those myths and spread the word about what Hypermobility is and how it feels.

What is Hypermobility (1)

 

Topics I Wish More Hypermobile People Knew About

 

Diagnosis limitations

Diagnosing Hypermobility can be challenging, partly because of the lack of consensus on evaluating it, naming it, and categorizing the different levels.

There are limited traditional western medicine types of treatment, leaving little incentive to diagnose it.

The Beighton score has been used for many years as an indicator of widespread Hypermobility. However, it has limitations.

A high Beighton score does not mean that an individual has Hypermobility syndrome.

Other symptoms and signs also need to be present. Also, a low score cannot completely rule out Hypermobility.

If you have concerns that you might have a more significant disorder, please follow up with your primary care physician and have specific testing to rule out any physical health problems.

The Importance of Mechanics & Daily Choices

One of the most significant issues encountered by my students at the beginning of their process is that they don’t seem to understand fully how much mechanics and daily choices affect their symptoms.

How you walk, sleep, exercise, move and stretch matters. Here are the basics to keep in mind:

Posture:

The better your position is, the less strain on the muscles holding you up and the less force through your joints. Gravity is continually working against us. The better your posture, the more you keep things straight, the easier it is, and the less energy it takes to stay upright.

Alignment:

Alignment is an essential part of the world of someone who is hypermobile. This includes being able to correct your alignment when there is a problem, knowing how to support and maintain good alignment, and how to address problems when they occur.

Your spine, pelvis (also known as your sacroiliac joint), shoulders, knees, and ankles should be aligned.

Standing position:

How you stand and sit has a huge impact on your Hypermobility symptoms, and you should make sure to be mindful of your posture every day.

Stand with weight evenly on both feet and centered in the foot, not forward on the toes or back on the heels, and NOT on the outside edges of your feet. Your shoulders should be directly over your hips, and your ears should be directly over your shoulders.

Sleeping position:

During sleep, our muscles relax, leaving our joints more vulnerable to our position. When your joints are more mobile, you can relax in a more problematic position.

Your position options are:

  • Lie on your back with or without a pillow under your knees to unload your back.
  • Lie on your side. To do this position, you want to stay square on your side with your legs together and your shoulders stacked on top of each other. Your hips and knees can be bent or straight or anywhere between, but you want to avoid twisting.

Avoid sleeping on your stomach. While often a favorite position, this is a quick way to aggravate or start a neck problem.

Prevention is key:

Some basic movement precautions or guidelines give you some basic principles to work on and focus on to avoid positions that can cause pain.

  • Keep things equal: Try to do equal things with both sides, work in both directions, and avoid things that are pulling only to one side-even lifting and carrying, trying to keep the weight balanced.
  • Don’t cross your legs: You need to try to keep your knees apart. Having your knees straight ahead or slightly out to the side makes your pelvis and trunk more stable.
  • Stay straight: Don’t stay in a rotated position regardless of what you are doing. Turn and then turn back or adjust your surroundings to keep yourself straight.

 

What is Hypermobility (2)

How to participate in Hypermobility Awareness Month

I’m sure you must now be as excited for this month as I am. However, just being excited – although fun – won’t make a real difference in the world.

Take into action any of these initiatives to participate in Hypermobility Awareness Month:

  • Share your Hypermobility story.
  • Help debunk Hypermobility myths.
  • Share Hypermobility life hacks.
  • Share a Hypermobility related statistic.
  • Engage with the Hypermobile community.
  • Talk to people about your condition.
  • Wear Hypermobility related merchandise.
  • Create Hypermobility Awareness Month events.
  • Enroll in any of the Ehlers-Danlos Society challenges.

 

You can start by sharing this blog post with everyone you know!

 

This Hypermobility Awareness Month, let’s get together as a community to open the gates of information to everyone.

Awareness about our connective tissues is something we have been neglecting for ages, and now it’s time to start shifting attention to how they are a crucial part of our health.

If you are looking for Hypermobility resources, feel free to check out my blog.

Looking to manage your Hypermobility symptoms?

Check out the Hypermobility Solution, the Hypermobile Neck Solution, and Hypermobility 101.

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About Kate

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Kate Skinner is a Doctor in Physical Therapy, co-founder of Great Divide Physical Therapy, and creator of Hypermobility Solution.

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