In the realm of human diversity, there exists a fascinating condition called hypermobility, where an individual’s joints have an unusually large range of motion. While it may sound like a superpower at first, hypermobility comes with its own set of unique experiences and challenges. In this post, we will delve into the world of hypermobility, exploring its definition, causes, associated conditions, and ways to manage and embrace its beauty.
Understanding Hypermobility: Hypermobility, also known as hypermobility syndrome or joint hypermobility, refers to the ability of certain joints to move beyond the normal range of motion. It is often caused by variations in collagen, a protein that provides structure and support to connective tissues in the body. Collagen abnormalities can lead to increased flexibility in joints, affecting various parts of the body such as the fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, and ankles.
Challenges and Associated Conditions: While hypermobility can manifest as a physical advantage in activities like dance, gymnastics, and yoga, it can also present several challenges. Individuals with hypermobility may experience frequent joint dislocations, chronic pain, and a heightened risk of developing conditions such as joint instability, osteoarthritis, and even chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. Moreover, hypermobility is often associated with other connective tissue disorders like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) (my sisters and mom have been diagnosed with this) and Marfan syndrome.
Managing Hypermobility: Managing hypermobility involves a multidimensional approach focused on maintaining joint stability, reducing pain, and enhancing overall well-being. Here are a few strategies that can help individuals with hypermobility:
- Physical Therapy: Engaging in targeted exercises and physical therapy programs can strengthen muscles around joints, improving stability and reducing the risk of injuries and dislocations.
- Joint Protection: Implementing strategies like using supportive braces or orthotics, avoiding extreme joint movements, and practicing good posture can help minimize the strain on hypermobile joints.
- Pain Management: Employing a range of pain management techniques, including medication, heat and cold therapy, and relaxation techniques, can alleviate discomfort and enhance daily functioning.
- Lifestyle Modifications: Prioritizing rest and self-care, maintaining a balanced diet, and adopting stress-reducing practices such as mindfulness and meditation can contribute to overall well-being.
- Appropriate exercise to strengthen the supporting muscles. Low impact exercise practices are a wonderful addition to your wellness with hypermobility. Pilates, for example, especially under the watchful eye of an experienced teacher, can help you to strengthen all the smaller muscle groups which will aid in the support of your joints and improved posture. Likewise, a safe yoga practice is possible, once you have learned appropriate range of motion and learn how to “live there….” which I know can be easier said than done.
Embracing the Beauty of Hypermobility: While hypermobility can present challenges, it’s important to recognize and celebrate its unique beauty. Hypermobile individuals often possess an inherent gracefulness, fluidity, and adaptability that can be harnessed and expressed through various artistic pursuits. Embracing hypermobility means understanding its potential, nurturing self-acceptance, and focusing on what can be achieved rather than the limitations it may impose.
Community and Support: Connecting with others who share similar experiences can be a valuable source of support and empowerment. Online communities, support groups, and forums dedicated to hypermobility and related conditions provide platforms for sharing stories, seeking advice, and fostering a sense of belonging. We will be partnering with local Physical Therapist, Jen BenBraugh from www.chattwarrior.com for an in depth workshop about hyper mobility, the traits, common issues, and ways to live a healthy life inside your wide range of motion. This workshop will be great for you if you tend to be hyper mobile (there is a range of hyper mobility), if you know someone that is hyper mobile, if you’re a teacher in yoga, Pilates, or sports in general, or if you like to geek out on anatomy and human functional movement studies. Stay tuned to our Special Events Page for more info!
Conclusion: Hypermobility, with its increased joint flexibility, is a fascinating aspect of human diversity. While it can present challenges and associated conditions, understanding and effectively managing hypermobility allows individuals to embrace their unique abilities and explore avenues for personal growth. By fostering self-acceptance, seeking support, and adopting appropriate management strategies, individuals with hypermobility can lead fulfilling lives while appreciating the beauty within themselves.
If you would like to come practice with us, check out our schedule, Here.