When it comes to back pain, there can be certain factors that make you in particular more susceptible to experiencing worse pain or having to build more strength to overcome an injury. In the case of anyone with greater than normal flexibility, this can certainly be the case. In early years, people with more flexible joints tend to do well at sports like gymnastics, ballet or acrobatic sports, so if you used to do these activities you may have been left with more flexibility as a result, but may have since lost the strength that comes with these sports. So why does this cause a problem for back pain?

Why Does Hypermobility Affect Back Pain?

If you have hypermobile joints, or you have a condition that causes hypermobility, you can be more susceptible to back pain because of having more lax ligamentous structures. Our ligaments hold the spine together and allow it to stay in a nice, smooth alignment. If you’ve read any of our previous articles, you may remember that if your spine shifts out of its regular alignment you can experience a greater degree of wear and tear, degenerative change or disc problems as a direct result. As with a lot of conditions, there can be a spectrum of flexibility in which you may fall into if you have more flexible than normal joints. In more extreme cases of hypermobility, you can even be more prone to dislocation of certain joints, or conditions such as spondylolisthesis. 

How Can Hypermobility Affect Recovery From Back Pain?

Hypermobility can make recovery more difficult than the average person suffering with back pain. With stretched ligaments and essentially wobbly joints that need stabilising, you will need to strengthen your body more than somebody without this type of complication. As can so often be the case, if you pursued activities like gymnastics, ballet or acrobatics during childhood, it can be common to suddenly give it up cold-turkey later on during early adulthood. When this happens, the strength you gained from doing those activities is lost but the mobility remains, which can leave your body unstable. Your spinal joints can essentially bang into one another or shear against each other due to their instability, which can cause accelerated wear and tear. If you’re drawn to yoga for the simple reason that you have more flexibility, this may be something to avoid while you have back pain as there are a lot of positions that can make the problem worse. Yoga involves mainly technique when it comes to adopting the right poses, so if you’re not quite doing them correctly they can make back problems worse. If you are suffering with a spondylolisthesis, it may be best to avoid yoga entirely as well.

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What Other Problems Are Associated With Hypermobility?

Back problems are not the only complication of hypermobility. If this has been caused by weakened collagen fibres, you may also experience problems in other areas of the body where collagen is required. You can have weakness in the muscles that help your digestive processes, meaning you may frequently experience constipation, bloating or gastric reflux. You may also experience weakness in the pelvic floor muscles, which can cause bladder instability. Your heart valves may also be affected, which can cause heart murmurs to be found. These may cause chest pain and palpitations, or may be completely asymptomatic. A lot of people with hypermobility also have either flat arches or very high arches, which can be a contributing factor to various lower body problems, as well as back pain. If this is you, you may wish to consider the shoes you wear on a daily basis or look into getting insoles, to ensure your feet are well supported and allow less stress to affect the lower body.

We hope you’ve found today’s topic helpful! If you have any questions at all about hypermobility, please do make sure to get in touch as we’d love to hear from you. You can reach out to us either through our social channels, by emailing us at info@themayfairclinic.com or by tuning in to our livestreams every weekday morning on our Facebook or YouTube channel. Remember, if you are struggling with back pain, we have developed our Back In Shape membership area to help you overcome the problem from home. Sign up for free by visiting www.backinshapeapp.com.

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