Joint Hypermobility Syndrome
Joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS), also known as hypermobility disorder or hypermobility syndrome, is a condition characterized by excessive flexibility of the joints. People with JHS often have a greater range of motion in their joints than the average person, and this increased flexibility can lead to various symptoms and complications. While joint hypermobility can be a normal variation in some individuals, JHS refers to cases where it causes symptoms and functional impairment.
Joint hypermobility syndrome is characterized by excessive joint flexibility, leading to symptoms such as joint pain, instability, and fatigue. While the exact cause is poorly understood, a combination of genetic and environmental factors is believed to contribute to its development. Diagnosis involves clinical assessment and specialized tests, and treatment focuses on managing symptoms, preventing injuries, and improving function. If you suspect you have JHS, consult a healthcare professional for an evaluation and appropriate guidance.
The exact cause of joint hypermobility syndrome is not well understood, but it is believed to be related to genetic and environmental factors. Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to hypermobile joints, and ecological factors, such as certain types of physical activity or injury, can contribute to the development of symptoms.
People with joint hypermobility syndrome may experience a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Joint pain: One of the most common symptoms of JHS is joint pain, which can affect multiple joints. This pain is often described as aching and can be chronic.
- Joint instability: Hypermobile joints are more prone to dislocation or subluxation (partial dislocation). This can lead to joint instability and recurrent injuries.
- Fatigue: Many individuals with JHS report feeling more fatigued than usual. The reasons for this fatigue are not entirely clear but may be related to the increased effort required to stabilize hypermobile joints.
- Muscle weakness: Weakness in the muscles surrounding hypermobile joints is common and can contribute to joint instability.
- Joint clicking or popping: Hypermobile joints may make clicking or popping sounds when moved.
- Digestive issues: Some individuals with JHS may experience gastrointestinal symptoms, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Easy bruising: The skin in individuals with JHS may be more delicate, leading to easy bruising.
- Joint hyperextension: Hypermobile joints often extend beyond the normal range, allowing for positions like being “double-jointed” in the fingers or elbows.
- Hypermobility-related injuries: People with JHS are more prone to injuries, including sprains, strains, and dislocations.
Diagnosing joint hypermobility syndrome can be challenging as it requires a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional. A diagnosis is typically based on a combination of clinical assessment, medical history, and, in some cases, specialized tests. To assess joint hypermobility, the Beighton Score is often used. This scoring system evaluates joint flexibility by testing specific joint movements, such as hyperextension of the fingers and thumb, bending forward to touch the floor with palms, and more.
In addition to the Beighton Score, healthcare providers may consider other factors like family history, associated symptoms, and the exclusion of other possible causes of joint pain and hypermobility.
The management of joint hypermobility syndrome focuses on relieving symptoms, preventing injuries, and improving the quality of life. Joint hypermobility syndrome. Treatment options may include:
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is often recommended to strengthen the muscles around hypermobile joints, improve stability, and reduce the risk of injury.
- Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications may be used to manage joint pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly prescribed for pain relief.
- Bracing and Support: Joint braces or orthotics can help stabilize hypermobile joints and prevent dislocations.
- Lifestyle Modifications: Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding certain high-impact activities, can reduce the risk of injuries.
- Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapists can help individuals with JHS adapt their daily routines and work environments to minimize strain on their joints.
- Hydration and Nutrition: Staying well-hydrated and maintaining a healthy diet may help improve the strength and health of the connective tissues in the body.
- Psychological Support: Chronic pain and the impact of JHS on daily life can lead to psychological distress. Counseling or therapy may be beneficial in addressing these emotional aspects.
It’s important to note that there is no cure for joint hypermobility syndrome, and the goal of treatment is typically to manage symptoms and improve function.
When To See A Doctor
If you suspect you have joint hypermobility syndrome or experience symptoms like chronic joint pain, instability, or a history of frequent common injuries, it is advisable to seek medical attention. A primary care physician or a rheumatologist can evaluate your condition, perform the necessary assessments, and determine an appropriate treatment plan. Early diagnosis and management can help prevent further complications and improve your quality of life.
This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about joint hypermobility syndrome or any other medical condition, please see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.