Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders
What is commonly referred to as being “double jointed” or “flexible” is actually an underdiagnosed and often misunderstood series of conditions known as Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD). These range from simple joint hypermobility, all the way up to hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS). These conditions all share certain characteristics, but vary widely in terms of the effect they have on a person’s life.
What is hypermobility?
In simple terms, this means that a person’s joints are able to move through a larger range of motion than what would be considered normal, often as a result of a genetic difference in the structure of something called connective tissue. In mild cases, this only affects the ligaments around joints and may not cause any other symptoms. However, in more severe cases, this can affect the connective tissue throughout the body, potentially causing issues in the gut, heart and even brain. With this in mind, the importance of getting an accurate diagnosis becomes clear.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of hypermobility can vary greatly from person to person, but the most common issues are as follows:
- Pain in one or more parts of your body
- Joint instability and frequent sprains, strains or dislocations
- Digestive problems (reflux, IBS)
- Dysautonomia (dizziness, fainting)
- Bladder problems (incontinence)
If you suspect that you may have a symptomatic HSD, correct diagnosis is essential, as more serious complications are possible in some cases.
How to get a diagnosis
Correctly diagnosing a hypermobility disorder is notoriously difficult, so it is important to find someone with some specialist knowledge in the area. You may be sent for various tests in order to rule out other conditions, and asked lots of questions regarding other aspects of your health, in order for an accurate diagnosis to be made. At our specialist Harley Street clinic, we use the most up to date research to ensure that your diagnosis is accurate, allowing you to finally get the help that you need.
What is the treatment?
The best treatment approach will depend on which form of hypermobility spectrum disorder you are diagnosed with, as well as the specific symptoms that you experience. Dr Stephanie Barrett takes a holistic view of her patients, looking at the person as a whole, rather than merely a list of individual symptoms. This approach allows her to tailor a bespoke treatment plan for each patient, giving them exactly what they require to effectively manage their condition.
Our clinic specialises in the treatment of chronic pain, which affects up to 80% of people with hEDS, and a great number of people with other hypermobility disorders too. We use cutting edge technology, combined with our expert knowledge and years of experience, to offer ground-breaking treatment approaches that are not available at any other rheumatology clinic in the U.K.
For any symptoms that fall outside of our areas of expertise (such as IBS, mental health issues etc), Dr Barrett uses her extensive network of connections to find you the very best doctors to help you with these problems. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that you will always receive the highest possible quality of care, giving you the best chance of living a happy and healthy life.