Treatment Options for Hypermobility
There is a large portion of the population that suffers from joint hypermobility of some kind or another. This can be in the form of a formal diagnosis such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) or Marfan's, or a more common issue called general hypermobility syndrome. Combined, hypermobility affects about a quarter the population!
Most people suffering from hypermobility end up having alot of muscle and joint pain. Because the joints are too mobile, muscles have to tighten up to create some stability within the joint complex. From a treatment perspective, this makes things tricky. Trying to address the issue from a joint perspective, chiropractic adjustments, weight lifting, and intense stretching are contraindicated because the joints are already too mobile, and these things just make the joints even more mobile (worsening the issue). From a muscle perspective, things like stretching, yoga, massage, and fascial work release muscle but that leaves the joint in a precarious position because at that point there's nothing keeping it stable any longer (so the muscles end up tightening up again anyway). For more on this, read our past blog post on treatment options to avoid.
We recommend this approach for those suffering from muscle and joint pain as a result of a hypermobility disorder:
1. Stabilize the sacro-iliac joint (SI joint). Most chiropractors do the opposite of this, so beware. Because the SI joint is so important from a weight-bearing stability standpoint, as well as a neurological standpoint (very rich is proprioceptors), getting neurologic and physical stability in this joint can be huge. We utilize SOT, Sacro-Occipital Technique, which is a unique diagnostic and treatment system focused on stabilizing the SI joint.
2. Remove dural tension. Dural tension is a byproduct of being in a sympathetic response (stress response). This occurs as a result of a prolonged stress response, or a sudden one-time stressor that's overwhelming. Because those with hypermobility issues are in a near constant state of physical stress it's easy for them to get stuck in a sympathetic reaction almost indefinitely. This inhibits our ability to heal, digest foods, etc. We utilize SOT and Vector Point cranial work to help relieve dural tension within the body.
3. Once a patient's SI joint is relatively stable and dural tension removed or lessened, we will recommend some basic, gentle exercises aimed at starting to safely build muscle mass to help stabilize the spine, and then working out from there over time (arms, legs, etc).
We have found this protocol to be extremely effective in helping alleviate musculoskeletal aches and pains as a result of joint hypermobility.