Hypermobility Syndrome: Exercise, Physical Therapy, Activities to Avoid, Epidemiolgy
Hypermobility syndrome or HMS is a dominant inherited disorder of the connective tissue, primarily affecting the children, especially more in the girls and usually affects the joints, along with some other parts of the body. There are various treatments available for Hypermobility syndrome and exercise can be one of the most essential parts of the treatment procedure. In this current article we will talk about some of the exercises and few self care tips to reduce or manage the Hypermobility syndrome or HMS in an effective manner.
An Overview on Hypermobility Syndrome:
Hypermobility syndrome or HMS is one of the dominant inherited disorders of the body's connective tissues which is primarily characterized by an excessive mobility and instability of the joints. This usually affects the joints along with the cardiac tissues, the smooth muscles in the female genital system and the gastrointestinal system of the females etc.
First described by Kirk et al in the year 1967, the Hypermobility syndrome is known by other names like joint hypermobility syndrome, benign hypermobility joint syndrome etc and is described as, "generalized articular hypermobility, with or without dislocation".
It can be said that Hypermobility syndrome or HMS is different from the localized joint hypermobility and other generalized joint hypermobility conditions. Hypermobility syndrome or HMS may also occur in the genetic and chromosomal disorders like in Down syndrome and also in the metabolic disorders.
There are various symptoms of Hypermobility syndrome, of which the primary being excessive laxity of multiple joints. The special signs and conditions which may predict the Hypermobility syndrome or HMS in a person may include, bruising, tendinitis, Scoliosis, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Osteoarthritis, recurrent ankle sprains, joint instability, Fibromyalgia, fractures, pelvic dysfunction, exocrine gland dysfunction and many other.
Epidemiology of Hypermobility Syndrome:
- Hypermobility Syndrome mostly occurs in children and reduces with growing age
- Hypermobility syndrome is highest during birth and reduces by age of 9-13 years old.
- Hormonal changes occurring in puberty by adolescent girls, influences the joint mobility in the hypermobility syndrome.
- Hypermobility syndrome or HMS is at a peak by 15 years of age in the adolescent girls and then begins to decrease.
- In general Hypermobility syndrome is common in people from Asia, African and Middle East.
Exercises for Hypermobility Syndrome:
"There is always a solution to conditions which keeps you low and restricted. Exercise can be one of the solutions to Hypermobility." Let us take a look on some of the relevant exercises for reducing or managing the symptoms of Hypermobility syndrome.
Physical Therapy Management of Hypermobility Syndrome:
Physical therapy is one of the best ways to treat hypermobility syndrome. This physical therapy involves some of the crucial steps to be known and followed by the patients for appropriate healing. The most important step involved is proper education. A complete education on the muscle inhibition, atrophy and the reduced joint control caused due to the joint pain in Hypermobility syndrome is essential. Moreover, patients must be made well aware about how to improve their lifestyle in Hypermobility syndrome as the condition may also bring other ill conditions like anxiety, fatigue and depression in the patients. An active lifestyle management, appropriate exercise and absolute diet is essential for healing in hypermobility syndrome. Your physical therapist will let you know about this in a proper manner.
In the current section we will know about some of the best physical therapy exercises to treat or reduce Hypermobility syndrome.
Stretches for Hypermobility Syndrome:
It is known that regular stretches are highly essential in Hypermobility syndrome. Thoracic spine is usually the first place in the body to stiffen in adolescents with Hypermobility syndrome. So, trying out a 90 degree trunk rotation would be helpful. For being ensured about the 90 degree rotation to both the sides, try to sit on a dining chair and twist around to hold the back of the chair in a way that your shoulders are at right angles to your pelvis. Then, repeat the same to the opposite direction. It can be done once a day.
Strengthening Exercises for Hypermobility Syndrome:
It is beneficial to remain engaged in activities which strengthen your muscles, if you have Hypermobility Syndrome. Stronger muscles can protect and support the joints they surround and provide more stability and in turn help in reducing joint wear and tear and also reduce the risk on joint displacement in hypermobility syndrome. Weight lifting, working with medicine balls and tension bands etc could be good strengthening exercises.
You must focus on strengthening the muscles surrounding the most susceptible joints like the elbows, knees, ankles, shoulders etc. Apart from this, also concentrate on strengthening the core muscles present in your lower back, pelvis, abdomen, hips etc as they are responsible for protecting your spine. Strengthening exercises actually aid you in reducing the chances for injury or serious damage in HMS.
Proprioception Exercises to Improve Balance in Hypermobility Syndrome:
In case of hypermobility syndrome, there is a reduced joint position sense, which may turn the patient more vulnerable for damage. There may be abnormal postures because of this in the patients. It is essential to practise some proprioception exercise or the coordination and balance exercises in the HMS condition. Some of the proprioception exercises may be doing about 30 reps of mini-trampoline jumping, by doing forward and backward bends on one leg with eyes closed or open, walking with closed eyes, by going for exercise on board balance wood for about 2-3 minutes, doing single leg ball rolling etc.
Occupational Therapy for Hypermobility Syndrome:
Occupational therapy is one more treatment approach in Hypermobility syndrome which involves the steps and procedures used to help one overcome the difficulties in his or her everyday life caused due to hypermobility syndrome.
Occupational therapy for hypermobiity syndrome may involve educating the patient with all the alternative ways for carrying out a specific task. Citing an example here, the occupational therapist may advice the patient with Hypermobility syndrome about how to reduce the strain on his or her joints while using a computer, or may be while getting dressed.
There are also certain equipments which can help the patients to make certain tasks easier. One example would be, the special grips which can make holding of a pen easier and aid in improving handwriting of the patient with Hypermobility syndrome.
Moving around the home with Hypermobility syndrome may also be difficult. An occupational therapist would suggest some specific ways to the patient to adapt his or her home so as to make moving around easier. Citing an example here, fitting special grab rails may be recommended for patients in case climbing stairs becomes a problem due to their hypermobility syndrome.
Exercises and Activities to Avoid in Hypermobility Syndrome:
There are certain exercises, sports and activities which require being restricted in case you have Hypermobility syndrome. Let us know about them below.
- Sports like Rugby, Hockey, Trampolining, Skiing etc which have high risks of collision and impacts in them, must be avoided in case one has Hypermobility syndrome.
- In case you have a higher level of Hypermobility syndrome you must avoid running, football, tennis etc which may cause shear and impact forces in to the joints and generate pain and discomfort.
- Eccentric exercises must be avoided in case of hypermobility syndrome. Sustained muscle stretches are not recommended for Hypermobility syndrome.
- Avoid repetitive tasks and fixed positions if you have Hypermobility syndrome.
Self Care Tips for Improving Hypermobility Syndrome:
Here below are some of the important self care tips for improving hypermobility syndrome.
- Make sure you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle which includes a healthy diet and a healthy weight; which would aid you in improving your joints' support and reduce the strain on them.
- Exercises are important in improving the conditions in Hypermobility syndrome. Go for the recommended exercises daily. Low impact exercises like swimming can be a good option.
- Make sure you are wearing comfort gifting and supportive footwear for best support on your ankles.
- Applying heat, like hot water bottle can be soothing to the sore joints in hypermobility syndrome
- Ice treatments are also beneficial in reducing the pain in case there is an injury to the joints due to over stretching.
- It is important to follow some muscle relaxation techniques as daily sessions of muscle relaxation is essential to occur in hypermobility syndrome.
- It is important to keep your body hydrated which may be good for protection, repair and proper management in HMS. Drink plenty of water and keep self hydrated.
- Make sure you are allowing your joints to have appropriate rest.
- Keep your joints moving without excessive stretching.
Above we have mentioned some of the physical therapy exercises, and alternative ways with self care tips for Hypermobility syndrome. One can try them out in case he or she is suffering from the Hypermobility syndrome or HMS.
However it is always advisable to consult an expert physical therapist or an expert medical professional for being properly diagnosed and appropriately treated of the condition.