Did you know you have a sixth sense? No, I’m not talking about ESP. I’m talking about proprioception. Proprioception is the sense of where you are in space. If you close your eyes and I place your right arm in a position out to your side, most people can relatively match that position with their left arm without opening their eyes to look to see exactly where I’ve placed their right arm. This sense of where you are in space helps you control your balance and posture as well. It lets you know if you are fully upright against gravity and helps you maintain yourself upright. In addition, it helps you feel your joint angles and control the alignment of your body in relation to the ground.
People who have hypermobile joints tend to have decreased proprioception. The sense of where you are in space, where your joints are, and at what angles they are being held is decreased, especially in weight-bearing joints (meaning your knees, ankles, and hips). This can lead to general clumsiness, but it can also lead to pain when joints are pushed beyond their limits without the awareness needed to initiate a protective response.
I have found through my work with patients who have hypermobility that while these patients tend to have above average awareness of feelings within their bodies, such as pain, feelings of muscle tension, and which muscles are overly active, they have a difficult time maintaining the proper form and proper muscle activation with therapeutic exercise without hands-on cues to give their brain the correct feedback it needs to be able to activate the right muscles and to allow other muscles to release.
The way to get a better result from the way that the brain is activating your muscles is by giving your brain better input with which to work. If your brain isn’t getting good proprioceptive information from your joints then it can’t give good instructions back to your muscles to be able to stabilize those joints. By helping your brain get better information with hands-on cues, visual cues, and other interventions designed to give your brain the feedback that it needs, I may be able to help your brain get better information so that it can give your muscles better instructions about how to perform the tasks that you want to do. To learn more, please call our office at (513) 445-WELL (9355) or schedule an appointment through our Client Portal.
For more information on EDS-HT, HSD, as well as other EDS subtypes I highly recommend checking out The Ehlers-Danlos Society.
This is the second in a series of articles on hypermobility; check back for articles regarding hypermobility and feeling “tight,” pain and therapy, and more.