When a joint can move beyond the normal range of movement, this is known as a hypermobile joint. It may be present in just a few joints, such as the knees or the back, or it may be widespread.In many people joint hypermobility doesn’t cause any problems. But a small percentage of the population can have joint and ligament injuries, pain or discomfort.
Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (HMS) is a specific condition. Other symptoms of HMS may be less obvious than the hypermobile joints. These can include: gastrointestinal problems, such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and bladder problems. People may also bruise easily and suffer from fatigue and depression.
Some people are very hypermobile and feel very insecure in their body. They can find it difficult to stand or sit with ease. Others may be quite stiff, partly due to holding tension around unstable joints.
The Hypermobility Syndromes Association recommends the Alexander Technique to help manage symptoms.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should
Hypermobility can be helpful for some. Athletes, gymnasts, dancers and musicians might specifically be selected because of their extra range of movement. However, just because it is possible to move a joint fully, it may not always be safe to do so.
An Alexander Technique teacher can show people how to care for their bodies in a safe way and how to limit ranges of movement, where necessary. It’s a very gentle approach.
As awareness of HMS is increasing, more young people are being diagnosed. This is also raising awareness amongst adults, particularly where there is a genetic component.
Find out more on hypermobility
The following links provide further reading:
- Article by Julie Barber, Alexander Technique teacher, whose daughter has HMS
- Article by Dr Philip Bull, rheumatologist and expert on HMS
- Advice from the Alexander Technique professional body, Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT)