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Why Does Hypermobility Cause Fatigue?

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Imagine waking up each day feeling as if you've just run a marathon.

Your body aches, your mind is foggy, and the simplest tasks feel like insurmountable challenges.

This is the reality for many living with hypermobility, a condition often misunderstood and underestimated.

You may look fine on the outside, but inside, there's a constant battle against fatigue and pain.

It's a struggle that's not only physical but emotional, as your aspirations and dreams get overshadowed by the limitations of your own body.

Are you struggling with fatigue due to hEDS?

It's one of the most common problems I see in the clinic, and I want to address it.

In this blog, you are going to uncover hEDS, why they cause fatigue, and why the RIGHT physical therapy approach is important.

Understanding Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS)

Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) is a connective tissue disorder characterized by an abnormal increase in joint flexibility.

This hypermobility occurs due to variations in the connective tissues, which provide structural support to joints, skin, blood vessels, and other organs.

While the precise causes of hEDS are complex and varied, involving genetic factors, it leads to a range of symptoms including joint pain, frequent dislocations, and skin that bruises easily.

But it's not just the joints and skin that are affected; hEDS can impact the entire body, causing widespread pain and a host of other debilitating symptoms.

Why Hypermobility Leads to Fatigue

1. Chronic Pain

In hEDS, chronic pain is not just an occasional discomfort; it's a constant companion.

The persistent joint pain and muscle aches are often intense and widespread, requiring the body to expend extra energy to manage and cope with the discomfort.

This continuous battle against pain is exhausting, as the body is in a perpetual state of alertness and stress, trying to protect itself from further harm.

The energy used in coping with pain can deplete reserves that would otherwise be used for daily activities, leading to a state of overall exhaustion.

2. Poor Sleep Quality

Do you struggle with sleepless nights due to discomfort?

Quality sleep is essential for your body's repair and recovery processes.

However, for those with hEDS, achieving restful sleep can be a significant challenge. Pain and discomfort can cause frequent awakenings and difficulty finding comfortable sleeping positions.

Additionally, hEDS is often associated with conditions like sleep apnea, which disrupts normal sleep patterns and prevents deep, restorative sleep. This fragmented sleep fails to provide the necessary rest, compounding fatigue and making it harder to cope with daytime activities.

3. Muscle Weakness

Have you noticed your muscles tiring more quickly than they used to?

In HeDS, the muscles surrounding hypermobile joints are under constant strain.

They work overtime to compensate for the lack of stability in the joints, leading to quicker muscle fatigue.

This additional workload can lead to muscle weakness over time, as the muscles are continually overused and under-recovered.

This weakness can make even simple tasks physically taxing, leading to an overall increase in fatigue.

4. Digestive Issues

Individuals with hEDS frequently experience gastrointestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux, and other digestive disturbances.

These issues can lead to poor nutrient absorption and altered metabolism, meaning the body may not receive the full energy value from the food consumed.

Additionally, managing these digestive symptoms can be stressful and tiring, further contributing to the sensation of fatigue.

5. Autonomic Dysfunction

Do you experience irregular heartbeats or sudden dizziness?

Dysautonomia is a lesser-known but critical aspect of hEDS that can drain your energy.

This can manifest in various ways, including irregular heart rate, blood pressure fluctuations, and temperature regulation issues.

These dysfunctions can cause palpitations, dizziness, and a general feeling of being unwell, all of which are physically draining.

The body's constant effort to regulate these unstable autonomic responses uses up energy, leaving less available for other activities.

6. Psychological Impact

Feeling mentally drained from dealing with hEDS?

The psychological impact of managing a chronic condition like hEDS is often underestimated.

The ongoing management of symptoms, coupled with the uncertainty and unpredictability of the condition, can lead to mental fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

These psychological factors are energy-consuming in their own right, further reducing the individual's capacity to handle daily stresses and demands.

7. Reduced Physical Activity

Have you found yourself becoming less active due to fear of pain or injury?

This is a frequent concern among my patients.

Due to the pain, joint instability, and fear of exacerbating symptoms, individuals with HeDS may become less physically active.

This reduced activity can lead to a decrease in overall stamina and physical conditioning.

The less active the body becomes, the more it can become deconditioned, creating a vicious cycle where even minor activities can become exhausting.

In summary, fatigue in hEDS is a multifaceted issue, stemming from both the direct effects of the syndrome and the indirect consequences of managing its symptoms.

Each of these factors interplays with the others, creating a complex web of challenges that contribute to the overall experience of fatigue.

Understanding these elements is crucial in developing effective management strategies for individuals suffering from this condition

Embracing a New Approach at ActifyPT

The journey with hypermobility spectrum disorder and hEDS is fraught with challenges, but the right approach can make a world of difference.

At ActifyPT, we recognize that treatments focusing solely on isolated symptoms fall short.

That's why we offer a holistic, whole-body approach that addresses the complex interplay of factors contributing to your fatigue and pain.

Our proprietary methods, including the suspended sling method, target stabilizers near the joints for improved stability and reduced strain.

The method is particularly effective in the treatment of Craniocervical Instability (CCI).

If you've been let down by traditional physical therapy and seek a path to reclaim your energy and stability, it's time to explore what we at ActifyPT can offer.

Don't let fatigue control your life.

Call Us, and let's work together to bring back the energy and enthusiasm you deserve.

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Dec 01, 2023

I was told that I had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome by a rheumatologist in October 2010 after getting the results from an ultrasound of my left shoulder following an injury in the same shoulder that showed a full pectoralis muscle tear, a rotator cuff tear and multiple torn ligaments and tendons, in addition to bursitis. I have also suffered many catastrophic injuries resulting from 2 auto accidents. Twice I suffered a TBI. I also suffered from multiple cervical, thoracic and Lumbar spinal injuries causing multiple neurological, endocrinological, autonomic neuropathy, and many other health problems and endless excruciating pain on top of the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome issues!

Sal Montanio
Sal Montanio
May 02
Replying to

Sounds so familiar to me although I was diagnosed after another injury and I complained about how many injuries I had from doing minor things, yet the injuries were always severe. A nurse practitioner suggested I prohad this Ed’s. I went home and looked it up and was surprised! Had so many of the symptoms listed . There zero doubt that I had it. I No longer would be told it was a coincidence I got injured so easily. Like jumping into a pool and wiping my knee out resulting having to have it rebuilt. Or having someone hug me and dislocated 3 discs in my neck having to have a fusion. I was 57 when diagnosed and am no…

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