Joint hypermobility syndrome (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome), is a chronic pain condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Young women seem to be most affected by this condition, followed by children and men.
In many cases, hypermobile joints go completely unnoticed.
They’re just a fun way to get attention at parties by bending a wrist back or seeming to “dislocate” a shoulder at will.
However, plenty of individuals suffer terribly with the condition, sometimes for years, before ever receiving an accurate diagnosis.
What Causes Hypermobility Syndrome?
Hypermobility syndrome is a connective tissue disorder believed to be caused by a collagen deficiency, which makes ligaments and soft tissue too lax to properly support joints.
It is believed that genetics plays a strong role in the development of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and that collagen mutations can run in families.
There has also been evidence to suggest that those with neurological and developmental disorders such as Down syndrome, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and ADHD have a much higher probability of hypermobility syndrome.
Symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Joint Pain
Joint pain is the most common symptom associated with hypermobile joints. Unfortunately, this pain often leads to a misdiagnosis of arthritis or fibromyalgia.
- Muscle Aches
In a person with joint hypermobility, the muscles have to work much harder to support the joints. This can lead to chronic muscle pain in the neck, lower back, wrists, and knees.
- Easy Bruising
Insufficient collagen production often leads to easy bruising. This easy bruising may sometimes be mistaken for blood disorders such as anemia and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).
- Muscle Twitching and Spasms
In a person whose joints are more mobile than they should be, the muscles and tendons have to work that much harder to stabilize them. This can lead to muscle twitching, spasms, and easy tearing of connective tissue.
Dropping things, tripping, falling, and stumbling are common problems associated with hypermobility. This is due to an impairment in proprioception, the ability to perceive where joints are positioned at any given time.
Chronic pain and muscle tension often leads to fatigue. This fatigue can be mistaken for adrenal fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Digestive Dysfunction
In a person with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, the muscles in the digestive system are weaker than they should be, leading to slow intestinal transit, acid reflux, and constipation. The autonomic nervous system that controls circulation, breathing, and digestion is also affected, which may lead to the development of irritable bowel syndrome.
- Dry Mouth
Collagen deficiency often leads to dry mouth and excessive thirst. These symptoms are also associated with diabetes and the autoimmune disease, Sjögren’s syndrome.
- Frequent Urination and Urinary Incontinence
Lax bladder muscles often lead to frequent urination and urinary incontinence much earlier in life than someone who does not have the condition.
Treat Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Naturally
Many people living with connective tissue disease become dependent on prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers and muscle relaxers. Unfortunately, this only delays symptoms for a while and worsens the condition. Narcotic and NSAID pain relievers can cause dependency and chronic digestive distress. Muscle relaxers may cause further joint pain as loose joints depend on fit muscles to support them.
- Dietary Changes
The first way to treat hypermobility syndrome naturally is to make some dietary changes. Junk food has no nutritional value and contains toxic additives, preservatives, and synthetic sweeteners that greatly increase your body’s inflammatory response.
If you’re living with any kind of chronic pain condition, you should eat as many whole and minimally-processed foods as possible. This means slowly tapering off junk food and eating more organic vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, meat, poultry, fish, and healthy fats like butter, avocado, and coconut oil.
You may also consider eliminating gluten from your diet. Gluten intolerance is the inability to digest the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Someone who is unable to digest this protein often suffers chronic digestive distress, muscle pain, brain fog, and neurological dysfunction.
If you’re already taking a few vitamin supplements, you might want to consider stopping them. Many store-bought vitamins are nothing more than a concoction of synthetic chemicals, which contain harmful preservatives and additives. When choosing supplements, be sure the ones you select are made from whole-food sources only.
Probiotics are living microorganisms that are highly beneficial to your gut and immune system health. They also provide strong anti-inflammatory benefits, which is a must for anyone suffering from a chronic pain condition.
- Digestive Enzymes
Poor digestion, bloating, gas, flatulence, and slow intestinal transit can be alleviated with the use of digestive enzymes. Moreover, digestive enzymes help you better break down and absorb nutrients from food.
Vitamin C is an absolute must-have supplement for those living with hypermobility syndrome. Vitamin C interacts with amino acids within collagen cells, increasing collagen production, decreasing pain, and protecting joints.
Magnesium is an essential mineral millions are deficient in. It is critical for proper nervous system function as well as collagen production. A chelated magnesium supplement is best as the minerals are smaller and more easily absorbed. This is especially beneficial for those with weak digestion and malabsorption problems.
- Strength-Training Exercises
Weight-bearing and isometric exercises are the best exercises for those with hypermobility. These exercises strengthen the muscles and make them more capable of supporting weak ligaments and joints.
Isometric exercises are especially beneficial because they tense and work the muscles without moving any part of the body. This way, you do not run the risk of hyperextending a joint during a workout and creating new injuries.
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome does not have to be debilitating. Once you treat it naturally, your symptoms will subside and you’ll be better able to keep them under control.
Join the Mailing List