So, you may have noticed the words ‘floppy joints’ in my blog header and I guess that these words will not make any sense to you. So, I thought it was time I explained their meaning!
Growing up, I was always very flexible! I was that child who could wrap her legs around her head and bend her thumb back to reach her wrist…All of these things that at the time, I just thought made me ‘double-jointed’.
It wasn’t until my teenage years and I started to put weight on that my overly flexible body became more of a problem than a talent. My body began to ache more than it normally would and when getting my first job in a coffee shop meant spending hours on my feet and carrying heavy troffs of dishes around all day, I knew that I was something more than just double-jointed.
To relieve my aches, my lovely mum treated me to a massage and it was during this that the masseuse (who was also an ex nurse) advised me to go and see my doctor because she thought that I may have a curvature of the spine.
My doctor sent me for an x-ray which revealed that I didn’t have a curvature of the spine, so sent me to a specialist for further tests. After many appointments, I was told that I had something called Hypermobility Syndrome (or floppy joints as my lovely brother in law likes to call it!), something that I had never heard of before. It means that I have a larger range of movement in my joints than the average person. For some people Hypermobility causes no problems but for others it can come with a range of unpleasant symptoms.
Although I suffer from symptoms such as clicking joints, cramp and digestive issues, the biggest affect Hypermobility has on me is the amount of aches and pains I get, with it affecting my neck and back the most. Some days the ache is worse than others, but I honestly cannot remember a day where I didn’t have some form of ache or pain.
On a good day, I’ll get the odd twinge here and there but some days I have a constant stiffness and ache in my back and/or neck which often leads to headaches that I call ‘neck headaches’. It’s hard to explain but I definitely know the difference between a headache being caused by my neck and one that is not (don’t ask me how I know, I just do! 😉).
Hypermobility can never be cured and is therefore something that I’m just going to have to live with, but specialists have told me that by staying active and making sure I have a healthy lifestyle, it can be kept at bay. After reading this great blog post that to be honest, feels like it could be written about me, I have recently taken up yoga. It’s still quite new to me so it’s hard to tell if it’s helping yet, but I’ll keep you updated!
My doctor described Hypermobility to me as an invisible illness because on the outside it’s hard to tell that anything is wrong (except for my slightly hunched back and my wonky foot maybe! 🙊), it’s on the inside that you know things just ain’t right! Because of this, I think that it’s often hard for people to understand how hard living with Hypermobilty Syndrome can be at times.
Don’t get me wrong, I think of myself as one of the lucky ones where often a wheat bag and a couple of Ibuprofen can set me straight, but knowing how much I can ache being one of the ‘lucky ones’, I really do feel for those who suffer much more than I do!