Does hypermobility and scoliosis affect health? How do I prevent it from getting worse?
hello. This is a 20 year old girl. just found out that i have hypermobility joint and mild scoliosis after attend my first yoga class.
do i need to seek medical care ? how can i prevent it getting worse? (My job require lots of standing and walking.)
Thanks for your question – an interesting one for certain.
My initial thoughts are whether you are having any problems from the hypermobility? You see, most of the time we might have something that is perceived to be a “problem”, but in reality if it is not causing symptoms, it is not usually an issue.
I understand your concerns about your occupation and the possibility of making things worse, but have there been any symptoms so far?
In the case of joint hypermobility, as Dr Ethan mentions, there are a number of conditions that can cause it, but the most common “diagnosis” would be benign joint hypermobility.
This is particularly prevalent in young female individuals and in most cases it does not require any treatment.
Situations where one might consider intervention includes joint instability such as patella/shoulder dislocations, particularly if it is happening without any precipitating trauma. Mostly, treatment is with conservative measures such as physiotherapy or strength and conditioning.
If you are concerned about Ehler’s Dhanlos or Marfans, its worth checking in your extended family if there is a history of these conditions, but they can also occur as a new occurrence.
You might have looked into these conditions already and as you have probably seen, there are often other symptoms in addition to the joint hypermobility that present at the same time. If you have concerns about the possibility of these conditions, it’s worth consulting someone.
In the meantime, it’s good to keep exercising, doing a mixture of cardiovascular and resistance and activities. You can also monitor your symptoms and if you have concerns, please do consult someone.
That’s a very astute observation by your yoga instructor. People with joint hypermobility have an unusually large range of movement in their joints, and are able to move their limbs into positions others find impossible.
First things first, it’s still important to visit a doctor – it’s most likely nothing, but it’s important to see a doctor as hypermobile joints can be a sign of other types of syndromes, such as Ehler-Damlos or Marfan’s syndrome (both quite rare amongst Asians), or slightly more commonly, joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS).
People with JHS typically experience a spectrum of unpleasant symptoms as well, such as:
– pain and stiffness in the joints and muscles
– joints that dislocate (come out of the correct position) easily
– fatigue (extreme tiredness)
– recurrent injuries – such as sprains
– digestive problems such as constipation
I’d like to stress that the vast majority of people with hypermobile joints do not have any of the syndromes above, or indeed any problems.
From what you’ve described, I’d hedge that you are more likely to have a harmless form of hypermobility called benign hypermobility joint syndrome (BHJS). It tends to be more common amongst Asians and females.
Treatment wise, it’s a good idea to strengthen the muscles around these joints via exercise, to prevent sprains and other injuries.
The same theory applies to your mild scoliosis – it’s unlikely to adversely impact your life, but it’s still good to have a doctor check it out (see below).
“do i need to seek medical care ?” – yes. For your doctor to confirm the diagnosis, and to check that it isn’t anything more serious (it most likely isn’t). I’d recommend for you to visit a sport medicine doctor.
“how can i prevent it getting worse?” (My job require lots of standing and walking.) – my advise would be to raise these concerns to your sport medicine doctor at the visit. He will be able to formulate a management plan for you based around your job requirements and current issues (of scoliosis and hypermobile joints), which will most likely include some form of physiotherapy as well.
Hope that helps!
Hi Jennie! As a yoga instructor myself, I totally agree with Dr Ethan. Go for a medical check up to see if it’s anything serious.
Some tips with regards to your hypermobile joints: when you are at yoga class, make sure you don’t push yourself too hard as you will be more flexible than the average person and can injure yourself. Back off from the pose if you feel any pain that feels like your nerve is being “pinched”. Also, make sure you don’t lock your joints in the poses. ALWAYS engage the muscles around the joints and it’s ok to microbend the joints like the elbows and knees to prevent any injuries from overextension.
With regards to your scoliosis, you might be able to go deeper into the pose on one side than the other. So slowly but surely work on your weaker side. Someday the poses may balance out if your Scoliosis is mild! 🙂