Find More About Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder

Over the course of history, man has faced, suffered, and cured several diseases, each with its own list of descriptions, physiology, and mechanism of function. In other words, humans have had a decent amount of experience with diseases and their causes just like hypermobility spectrum disorder.

Further adding to this point, due to the massive improvements in technology and understanding of their symptoms and biology, various diseases no longer pose any threat to the entire human population. These include chickenpox, smallpox, and polio. Many of these conditions or illnesses already possess a form of treatment, such as a vaccine or an antibiotic (in the cases of bacterial infections).

Other than that, there are numerous other conditions that are not normally initiated by a pathogen but rather initiated by the body itself, such as inflammation, fever, and organ-related diseases that are normally cured by surgery.

However, there is a rather long list of diseases that are still under research and yet to be cured. Many of these said diseases or conditions are inherited. This means it is passed from predecessors to descendants over the course of time until it overtakes an entire family.

Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder is an example of an inherited condition, mainly related to the extensive flexibility of important joints all over the body. Over the course of this article, Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder will be discussed and various valuable pieces of information in hopes to spread further awareness on this particularly, that is so often neglected.

Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder and Its Classification

Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder is part of a lengthy list of conditions that fall under Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS). Joint Hypermobility Syndrome comprises of eight various subtypes:

  • Asymptomatic Generalised Joint Hypermobility
  • Asymptomatic Peripheral Joint Hypermobility
  • Asymptomatic Localised Joint Hypermobility
  • Generalised Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder
  • Peripheral Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder
  • Localised Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder
  • Historical Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder
  • Hypermobility Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS)

Due to its extensive resemblance with the various other conditions that fall under Joint Hypermobility, Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder requires the new diagnostic criteria to differentiate it from Hypermobility Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

 Here a question arises, what is the difference between Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder and Hypermobility Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?

 Well, the short answer is, if the patient’s Beighton score is negative (apart from the case of Generalised Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder) and if the patient definitely possesses Musculoskeletal Involvement, without a doubt, they are showing symptoms for Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder. However, if the patient’s Beighton score is positive and they possibly may possess Musculoskeletal Involvement, the symptoms seen direct the diagnosis towards Hypermobility Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

Variation Between the Various Types of Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder

As previously mentioned, there are numerous types of Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders. Under this heading, each type shall be generally discussed in hopes of highlighting their characteristics to further assist in differentiation.

·         Generalised Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder:

It is objectively assessed on the basis of the Beighton score and the secondary musculoskeletal manifestations. However, a point worth is noting is that it is important to study the extent of musculoskeletal involvement in hopes to differentiate it from full-blown Hypermobility Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

·         Peripheral Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder:

It is limited to the limbs of the body (hands and feet), including musculoskeletal manifestations.

·         Localised Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder:

It is limited to a single joint or a group of joints, including musculoskeletal manifestations related to those specific hypermobile joints.

·         Historical Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder:

Mandatorily requires a negative score on the Beighton score, including musculoskeletal manifestations. Here, extensive study and diagnosis are necessary to differentiate it from the types of Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder and rheumatologic conditions. 

Symptoms of Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder

 Those who possess Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder display various symptoms that are often neglected by those around them until the symptoms become far too unbearable.

  • Pain: This is felt throughout all joints in the body, especially those that are most active. The strength of the pain varies from patient to patient, joint to joint.
  • Fatigue: Pain tends to exhaust the person that suffers from this genetic condition.
  • Frequent Injuries
  • Dislocations
  • Sprains

Musculoskeletal Involvement and its Symptoms

Joint Hypermobility in itself does not display many symptoms other than hypermobility, but this hypermobility can cause serious conditions to rise if not restricted. Microtrauma, as the name suggests, is injuries that often go unnoticed. However, over time, they make the person more susceptible to conditions such as osteoarthritis or persistent pain.

·         Trauma:

Trauma is divided into two subtypes; Macro trauma and Micro trauma. Macro trauma includes injuries such as dislocation, subluxations, connective tissue damage. 

·         Chronic Pain:

Generally, arises in the form of persistent pain. This may be due to constant injury, pain caused by a previous macro trauma, or hyperalgesia (a condition where the nerves become more sensitive to pain).

·         Efforts in Position:

The general positioning of body parts is forgotten by the person, leading to clumsiness and increased effort in maintaining stability.

·         Others:

These generally include pleiotropy systemic manifestations, including cardiovascular involvements, nervous system involvement, and primary dysmorphism.

How to Treat Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders

There are various methods to treat hypermobility spectrum disorders, once they have been identified. The most common form of treatment is through physiotherapy. However, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, and pharmacotherapy are also often resorted to.

Through these methods, chronic pain is successfully reduced, and the chances of developing other chronic conditions subside.

Other than that, various lifestyle modifications are also needed. These include regular exercise (mostly comprising of stretching and non-competitive training) and revaluation of diet.

Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder and Its Relation to Other Conditions

·         Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder and Anxiety

There exists a positive correlation between Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders and the case of anxiety, such that most people that exhibit HSD, display signs of anxiety. The severity of the anxiety varies from person to person, irrespective of age and gender. Furthermore, MRIs seen, comparing those with Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders and non-hypermobile personnel, showed the great differences in the brain structure, mainly in the anterior cingulate cortex (it is responsible for the cognitive control of emotions.

·         Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders and Autoimmune Disorders

In recent years, it has also been studied that people that suffer from HSD often develop autoimmune disorders as well, resulting in damage and misfunctioning of specific parts of the body. The autoimmune diseases that are most commonly seen include psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. For such people, apart from physiotherapy, medication is also needed.