Tuesday, 17 July 2012

What is Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome?

:-•:*"*:•.-:¦:-•* Greetings *•-:¦:-•:*'''*:•-:

Good Morning my lovelies, I woke up today with quite a bit of pain in my body and swollen joints. Which, made me realise that as much as I have spoken about myself suffering from Joint Hypermoblty Syndrome, I've never really discussed what Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome is. Also, lately HMS (short for Hypermobilty Syndrome) has been affecting my pregnancy especially my joints. So, all of this made me want to do a post on this topic.

I have been suffering from Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome for a very long time, but not as severely as I do now. It's been two and a half years I've been diagnosed. My first pregnancy was what made things really worse for my joints and since then my health has just debilitated. Things have come to a point where it's affected my daily living and now, it somewhat consumes most of time, as due to it I spend a lot of time in bed because of pain, it's affected my walking and so on. Recently, I've had quite a few people ask me about HMS, some have been diagnosed with but don't know what it exactly is and others are just curious and explaining it can be a mouthful so i thought the best way would be to break it down and discuss it step by step. Hence, here we go:

What is Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome?

Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome is where there is an unusually extensive range of movements in some or all of the joints. The “moving parts” of the body: joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments tend to be laxer, supple and fragile than they are in most people. People with Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome tend to be more flexible with their joints and able to move them in unusual positions. Joint Hypermobilty is often called being Double-Jointed and doctors sometimes refer to it as Joint Hyperlaxity.

What are the causes?

There are several factors that may cause Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome, the following are the main:

  • Connective tissue structures such as Collagen structures being formed differently than in most people. Collagen is found throughout the whole body for example in ligaments and in skin. Ligaments are bands of connective tissue that bond two bones together to a joint. When the Collagen structure is formed differently it weakens the ligaments which affect the joint. So, the whole joint becomes more supple and fragile.
  • The Shape of the bone ends and how shallow your joint sockets are, determine how much your bone can move. If the bone end sits in a shallow joint sockets there more room for it to move making it more flexible as well as prone to being easily dislocated.
  • Having a poor sense of joint movement (Proprioception) can lead to over-stretching the joint as they are unable to judge the position of the joint without being able to see it. Therefore, they may have a wider range of movement in that joint.
  • Joint Hypermobility Syndrome can be a part of other conditions that hereditary, so it may be passed down through children. 75% of people who have Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome have a previous family history of it.

What are the symptoms?

Some people with Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome aren’t affected by it negatively and don’t have any symptoms at all. But, some people are affected greatly like me and will have some symptoms. The most common symptoms are:

  • Joint Pains due to over-stretching the joint capsule. It especially occurs after physical work for me that includes a little bit of walking.
  • Muscle aches, pains and spasms as the muscles have to work harder for supple joints
  • Stiffness in joints especially Knees, Hip, Neck, Back etc.
  • Easily Bruising
  • Easily dislocating joints
  • Swelling in Joints
  • Chronic Fatigue 

How does Joint Hypermobilty affect pregnancy?

Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome may or may not affect pregnancy, but if you have Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome and are pregnant like me than the following are things you should bear in mind:

  • The level of pain may increase severely. Especially, in the spine and other joints.
  • The is a risk of premature labour and delivery due to a tendency of rupture of the membranes
  • The possibility of having a rapid labour
  • There may be a possible resistance to the effects of local anaesthetics and pain killers, therefore you may find very little or no help at all from them if given during labour or after an episiotomy
  • Tears and episiotomy wounds may heal slower or the healing may be impaired
  • There is a risk of genetically passing on Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome to your child but there’s no reason to believe he/she will be affected by it or will develop any symptoms 

What treatments are there?

If rest doesn’t help with pain or the symptoms than there are treatments that are available to help you:

  • Physiotherapy can help people with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome to reduce the symptoms. As physiotherapy can be used to strengthen muscles, improve posture, help with proprioception (judging the movements of joints) and improve on safely using the joints. Your GP can refer you to see a Physiotherapy. 
  • If physiotherapy and rest don’t reduce the symptoms then medication may be used to control/reduce the pain. Pain killers such as Paracetamol available to buy over the counter at pharmacies may be used and are the safest option. But, your doctor may prescribe you stronger pain killers or NSAIDs depending on how severe the condition is. Please consult your GP before taking any medication.
  • Surgery isn’t recommended for Joint Hypermobilty as the connective joint tissue does not heal well and can cause Osteoarthritis. The only time surgery is needed is for a ruptured tendon that should be repaired. 

What considerations are there for daily living & self-help?

An Occupational therapist can help you adapt your home and way of life around your condition. If needed they can help you with aids around your home to make every day-living easier and safer.  Such aids are:

  • Toilets Frames that help and support you while using the toilet.
  • Bed rails to help you get in/out of the bed and also help if you have difficulty turning while lying down
  • Perching Stools to help your posture
  • Bath seat to help you get in/out of the bath
  • Stair Lift to help you if you have difficulty climbing stairs

They can also advise you on travelling outdoors. Please be aware each local authority may have different help on offer. Please consult your GP for a referral if you feel seeing an occupational therapist will help you.

Making sure you get plenty rest and have a healthy diet.

So, if you feel you may have Joint Hypermobilty Syndrome please consult your GP before taking any other action.

I hope you find this information helpful and if you’re keen on further reading on this topic then here are a few links for you:

So, that’s all for now my lovelies,

:-•:*"*:•.-:¦:-•* Ta-ra *•-:¦:-•:*'''*:•-:

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