Updated: Apr 27
If you’ve been diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos or Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder, you are probably very familiar with the terms “subluxation” and ”dislocation”, but it is often hard to differentiate between the two when you’re constantly popping and cracking everywhere! But today we’re going to talk about subluxation, why they happen, and how you can help!
When the ball at the top of your upper arm bone (humerus) comes out of the sockey partially, this means that the shoulder moves past the normal range of motion on the socket but does not fall completely out of place. This is known as a SUBLUXATION. This is different from a dislocation because the bone is not dangling out of the socket. To be clear, both of these injuries can cause musculoskeletal pain, swelling, weakness, and nerve pain.
You can sublux a number of different joints. Some of the most common joints affected are the spine, shoulder, kneecap (patella), and elbow. But what causes it? Either a direct force of injury or trauma (car accident, sports injury), wear and tear from daily activities, or overuse injuries.
But for those with EDS/HSD, these subluxations can be more common and often without any kind of external trauma or injury:
-Impaired proprioception: proprioception is basically how we see our body in space, and our ability to sense position and movement within joints, and enables us to know where our limbs are around us. Having an impaired perception of joint location can cause subluxations.
-Repeated over stretching: For or EDS/HSD friends, also known as “party tricks”. We have the “fun” ability to be able to contort and wrap our bodies into weird positions, such as popping your shoulders in and out of place, wrapping your legs above your head, or bending your fingers into fun shapes and letters. This repeated overstretching can cause an exacerbation in the laxity of the joints, increasing their chances of slipping in and out of place.
Preventing these subluxations is key. Here are some tips on how to prevent these situations from occurring so that there does not have to be surgical intervention!
-Physical therapy to learn muscle functions and firing patterns
-Physical therapy to improve proprioception
-Management of stress
Be sure to consult with your primary care physician or other medical professionals in regards to your medical concerns. This text cannot and should not replace advice from the patient's healthcare professionals. Any person who experiences symptoms or feels that something may be wrong should seek individual professional help for evaluation and/or treatment.