hypermobility… and ms

09Mar14

Now that I’ve worked with hypermobile bodies (my own!) for a bit, I’m realizing a possible connection to MS.

One of the unfortunate consequences of MS is that we tend to lose muscle mass. If any of us have any predisposition toward joint hypermobility, losing more muscle mass will just make things worse: I’m not just talking about the big muscles (quads, biceps, etc) but smaller ones that help to stabilize our joints and hold them in place.

So, it’s no wonder that someone whose MS has progressed has trouble moving… and might be mistaken for a drunk when walking. Unstable joints, whether or not they are clinically diagnosable as “hypermobile”!

What to do? My bias would be to find a Pilates instructor (or even a yoga instructor) who specializes in therapy. Rather than putting you through the same grueling workout as the normal folks, they should know what your needs are. And, tell them that joint stability is a high priority for you–maintaining the ability to walk and move. That’s something I work on in my daily exercise routines.

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2 Responses to “hypermobility… and ms”

  1. Never thought of it that way! I have lost muscle mass in my right calf, that is all that I know of. I have been to a phyiotherapist, who recommends aqua therapy – easier said than done -maybe I will go back and see if she can figure me out a routine at the gym, so my hips don’t feel like daggers!

    • Hi, Sarah!
      Yeah, I have all of these connections forming all the time… and this one came out of nowhere!
      I think water therapy is recommended for MS because a) it also helps protect joints that might be a bit lax/loose, and b) it helps control temperature, since so many of us are heat-sensitive. Thing is, I get bored to death swimming, and I haven’t done it in forever! (Not to mention the additional time involvement–changing clothes, the extra shower afterward, etc etc…)

      Something I was thinking about this morning: of course, all of us lead a different MS trajectory (that’s not a new idea) and all of our practitioners give us the tried-and-true ideas, since… what else do they have to go on? But we are all individual people, with individual needs. For instance, I’ve always been told the standard “don’t overheat my body with exercise” but have hardly noticed any ill effects. I love taking spin class, and my only accommodation has been to make sure I’m close to the fan. Otherwise… I notice no difference.

      Which makes me wonder: how many people are given ideas (such as “back off and make your exercise easier”) by a practitioner, because it’s the standard, old-school thinking, which will *really* only serve to exacerbate our symptom of weakness? Some of us are affected by heat/exercise/increased core temp; but I’ve met enough people who are NOT that I know this to be individualized advice.

      I wish more practitioners would be in the “try it and see, you may have to modify” camp… because I know if I stay away from exercise that challenges me for too long, my strength diminishes quickly. And if someone stays away long-term, they’ll just fall prey to the wrath of MS moreso… 😦

      Sorry for blathering on… clearly on my mind! 😀


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