Generalised joint hypermobility (GJH) sometimes referred to as hypermobility syndrome refers to increased or excessive joint movement and is typically seen in multiple joints. The Beighton scale is a scoring system developed to identify those with GJH (see attached). An individual is hypermobile if they score 5 or more out of 9.
In most cases GJH does not cause pain however it does increase susceptibility to injury. This is because the ligaments which connect from one bone to another to act as a passive restraint are more elastic which reduces the joint protection offered by these structures. Joints therefore must rely on the active musculotendinous structures to provide support.
There are a select group who do experience symptoms which include:
• Chronic pain
• Impaired joint proprioception
• Soft tissue/joint trauma
• Postural intolerances
• Gastrointestinal disturbances
• Trouble swallowing
Asymptomatic individuals with GHJ are recommended to engage in regular physical activity, develop good ergonomic workstations and develop awareness of extreme end range positions. Those experiencing pain associated with GJH are recommended to seek therapy. Therapy should aim to:
• Reduce spasms e.g. relaxation, massage and hydrotherapy
• Increase muscle tone
• Increase joint stability
• Improve overall endurance
“Consistent physical activity is the key to alleviate and/or prevent worsening of musculoskeletal symptoms”