What is Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility and Why Should You Care?

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility is something we care deeply about here as we have personal experience with it. Dr. Mike Lewen, creator of StrengthX, and his mother were both found to have this genetic connective tissue disease. These discoveries have significantly influenced the course of the work, the path Dr. Mike has taken, and why StrengthX has such incredibly unique offerings (go watch our about video to learn more). He decided to specialize in bone health and connective tissues and blend these with his Exercise Science and Chiropractic education to bring a potent mix to help people strengthen their mind, body, spirit, and bones.

There’s a lot of insight on this subject, below we’ve recapped important things that you need to know and why you should care (often, there is not a lot of understanding about this topic, and we want to change that!). Here is a great resource, in addition to what’s linked below in this article (we have the resources listed at the bottom): Ehlers Danlos Awareness.

In a nutshell, Hypermobility disorders result from abnormal production and collagen processing, which causes structural irregularities in the body’s connective tissues.

The Hypermobility Spectrum

Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) is at one end of the hypermobility spectrum, where all hypermobility disorders are categorized. At the other end of this spectrum is simple hypermobility. And between simple hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, there is a range of conditions put into a category called Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (often written as HSD). HSDs specifically relate to hypermobility in the joints.

The accepted definition for joint hypermobility is the ability to move joints beyond their considered normal range of motion. People with simple hypermobility experience this phenomenon with no debilitating symptoms. As we move up the spectrum toward Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, symptoms appear at varying degrees of severity. 

You aren’t alone if you’ve never heard of Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD) or Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS). As it turns out, even people who experience hypermobility often do not know they could be at risk for injuries, and many have never heard of HSD or hEDS. Unfortunately, HSD/hEDS is called something else in many instances, so it is probably more common than statistics indicate.

What Do Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD) or Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) Symptoms Look Like?

Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD) symptoms: 

  • Joint hypermobility without pain occurs when you have elastic or flexible joints but do not experience exercise-induced discomfort. 

Hypermobile joints can be an advantage in some cases. Gymnasts and other athletes, in particular, may find it beneficial to their practice. 

Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) symptoms:

  • It is often characterized by symptoms such as soft, smooth, and fragile skin
  • Hypermobile joints
  • Frequent joint dislocations
  • Scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine)
  • Chronic musculoskeletal pain — that is, pain in the muscles, bones, and joints

hEDS can run in families (you can see more insight on this here on Ehlers-Danlos News), and seems to have a genetic cause. As this source indicates, “Specific mutation(s) that contribute to the development of hEDS have not been identified.” So, the jury seems to still be out on this, but we stay close to this topic and can share more as we take in new information via ongoing research.

Summary

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility, hEDS, is a condition that is caused by abnormalities with the structure and processing of collagen. This affects the connective tissues by allowing the joints to move beyond the normal range of motion. 

Simple hypermobility has no undesirable symptoms, but HSD (Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder) or hEDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility) may be present if the condition is more serious. Symptoms for those with more severe cases can include pain, frequent joint dislocations, spinal curvature, or degeneration of joint and bone tissues (see details above).

Do you have any of these symptoms noted here in this article? If so, what are you experiencing? 

Please contact us if you’re in the Asheville, NC region, as we would love to provide you with more insight and what we can do to help.

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