Hypermobility syndrome is a condition that affects the joints. It has its pros and cons. If you have hypermobility syndrome, you are more flexible than the average person. As a young child, it is cool being able to twist your joints and show your flexibility. Joints naturally have a certain range of motion. Those with hypermobility can move their joints beyond that range of motion. It is much harder for you to experience a joint injury when there is a large range of motion. The problem with hypermobility is that it may cause pain and discomfort. As you age, that pain and discomfort only increase. The syndrome is not something you can get rid of, but it is something you can learn to manage.
There are joints all over the body. The way the joint is made determines its range of motion. You notice when you move your neck; there are limitations to how far you can turn your head. Try moving your shoulder. You can move it up, down, and around in circles. Try moving the knee. It only goes forward and backward. About 15% of children in the United States have hypermobile joints. The scientific name is hypermobile joints, but we commonly know it as being double jointed. When you hear the word double jointed, you may think it means you have more joints than the normal person. It means that you have a larger range of motion than everybody else.
Hypermobility is not a condition that is developed. It is something you are born with. It is passed down from generation to generation. Hypermobility is carried in the genes. Other genes focus on the collagen in the body. Those collagen genes also play a role in flexibility. The more collagen, the tighter the tissues hold together. The looser the collagen, the more flexible the joint will be. Hypermobility is not a serious health condition, but some diseases are associated with hypermobility. Down syndrome and Marfan syndrome are two of those diseases.
The symptoms of hypermobility start with the range of motion of the joints. You will be able to move your joints in a larger range than most people. One test is touching your thumb to your forearm. Besides doing crazy things like that, there are also negative symptoms. With the joint being flexible, it is also susceptible to injury. You also experience a lot of pain, primarily in the knees, hips, and elbows. Sprains and strains are extremely common. Unfortunately, the joint can be dislocated much easier. When the tissue holding the joint together are not tight, the joint moves around more and can slip out of place. Even minor collisions can cause them to come out of place. Age makes the condition better. Getting older causes you to lose flexibility. The less flexibility you have, the less of a chance there is that you will have injuries, and the pain in the joints will decrease as well. If you notice that you are experiencing some of these symptoms, you may need to see a physician.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis is made during an examination. The doctor will look at the joints and focus on your range of motion.They will talk to you about your symptoms and see how flexible you are. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment can begin. In most cases, there is no treatment needed. You do not have to stop being active; you may just have to be more careful. Exercise may improve your condition. Exercising helps strengthen the muscles around the joint and helps to prevent injury. Medication is used when there is a lot of pain and inflammation. Medication can manage the inflammation and ease a lot of the pain you feel. Tylenol is a good medication to take. If the condition worsens, you may need physical therapy to treat you.
Hypermobility is not something that can be avoided. It is not serious and does not cause life-threatening issues. The worst of the symptoms occur in childhood. Once you reach adulthood, your symptoms are much better. The pain and discomfort tend to go away. It is best to do what you can to prevent injury and strains. If you play sports, try to stay hydrated and keep up with your conditioning. When you get older, you may have joint pain and arthritis.
Hypermobility is a unique condition. It does not affect many people. If you have hypermobility, you will more than likely give it to your children. Being able to twist your arms around and do weird things seems fun, but the pain and discomfort make it not so fun. The condition is not serious, but you are more susceptible to injury. It is rare for conditions to get better when you get older, but this is one that does. You may suffer from arthritis later on, but that can be treated as well. If you notice you have hypermobility, talk with your physician about it and get the knowledge you need to avoid injuries.
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