So here’s a subject that’s been on my mind for a while.
As you may know, in the past year I’ve been learning, for the first time in my life, what it means to have a hypermobility spectrum disorder (also known as a connective tissue disorder).
If you have a hypermobility disorder, it means your body doesn’t make connective tissue 100% properly.
This means your ligaments may be “stretchier” than other people’s– making you more prone to developing issues such as SI joint dysfunction. This is why I suspect there may be many hypermobile people reading my blog, and why I’m so determined to raise awareness about this issue!
However, not everyone with SI joint dysfunction will turn out to be hypermobile.
However, I think some of the lessons people have learned from managing hypermobility can help everyone.
People living with hypermobility, as well as the practitioners who treat us, have had to think outside the box and come up with a lot of strategies you might not find in the mainstream. We are resourceful, because we have to be.
When it comes to SI joint dysfunction, hypermobile people are more likely to experience the extreme end of the spectrum.
Essentially, we are more likely to experience a wider range of the possible symptoms out there– and we will have to learn how to manage them.
That sort of comes with the territory– our joints are simply inclined to move around a lot more.
I’m talking about things like:
- An upslip
- Anterior or posterior rotation of the hip bone
- Inflare or outflare of the hip bone
- Sacral rotation
For example, the hypermobility specialists I recommend at Muldowney Physical Therapy are able to adjust all of the possible patterns of misalignment above.
They developed their expertise through treating patients because, with a hypermobile patient population, there really was no choice.
Most physical therapists, I’ve found, aren’t able to do all of these adjustments. Sometimes they may know the most common ones (usually for the anteriorly or posteriorly rotated hip bone) but the others are harder to find.
Of course, I’m not trying to say that someone who can’t perform these adjustments is a bad physical therapist, overall.
But physical therapists can have different specialties, and with the SI joint, it can be a case where people don’t know what they don’t know.
A PT who only has a few patients with SI joint dysfunction a year may not know how much of a disservice he or she is doing them, by not being able to correct their alignment.
For the hypermobile population, being able to treat these patterns of misalignment is a must. It’s the hypermobile people who are more likely to experience the full range of possible misalignment matters (upslips, rotations, outflares, etc).
As a non-hypermobile person, it’s still possible for you to experience these as well. So if you can find a PT or a clinic who’s truly skilled with hypermobility, it might help you get the help you need, too.
Hypermobile people have to exercise in order to maintain our function.
Basically, when you’re hypermobile, you can’t necessarily count on your ligaments to hold you in place. You have to keep your muscles strong. For a hypermobile person, going through a period of time without exercise can have the paradoxical effect of making our chronic pain and injuries worse, so we really have to keep strengthening way we can.
So that means, even when we have an injury, or a subluxed or dislocated joint, we don’t stop.
You can learn from us– we don’t take no for an answer. We will find a way to make our muscles strong (even if it’s a very, very gentle way!).
In my research about hypermobility thus far, I’ve been starting to learn a lot about how it’s not only the strength of our muscles that stabilize our joints– the nervous system actually plays a big role as well.
We all can lose strength and have altered neuromuscular patterns following an injury. In hypermobile people, these effects can be heightened– which is why we, and the people who know how to treat us– will have to know how to deal with them.
There are so many dimensions in which this can happen. The core muscles, of course, are crucial to stabilizing the SI joints, along with other muscle groups such as the muscles in the lower back and even the muscles of breathing, such as the diaphragm.
There is so much more to say about retraining these neuromuscular patterns– and I feel as though I’ve just scratched the surface myself. I’m definitely going to be sharing more about it in future posts!
Basically, I think hypermobile people can represent more of the “extreme” end of the symptoms that are possible for everyone.
So, even if you aren’t hypermobile, I hope you may still find some use in the stories I share learning about my own hypermobility.
The things that affect us hypermobile people can quite possibly affect you too– and the practitioners who know how to help us may just have the knowledge you need, as well.
To learn more:
I also keep a Physical Therapist and Doctor directory with all my reader recommendations– when a practitioner is knowledgeable about hypermobility, I do note it there. (And just a reminder, if you have anyone to add to that list, please please let me know!).
And as you may know, I’m now offering coaching calls for anyone who wants to check in by phone or video conference. (This has been SO much fun for me to get to know you guys, and am hoping to meet even more of you in the future!).
Hope this helps! Happy researching!