Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and hypermobility spectrum disorder are conditions that impact the connective tissue in your body. This most commonly present in the clinic as a client with bend joints or significant flexibility. The tissue that supports your pelvic organs is made up mostly of ligaments and fascia – all of which are connective tissues.
Ideally, if your pelvic floor functions well, has good strength, and provides good resting support for your pelvic organs, when you exercise, cough, sneeze, jump or stress your body the tissue and ligaments that support your pelvic organs shouldn’t be under significant strain. In the presence of significant hypermobility or EDS the ligament and fascial support system are more floppy and less supportive and therefore more dependent on the pelvic floor for support.
Commonly in the presence of hypermobility people use the muscles around their hip and pelvis differently because there is more movement available at the joints. One of the things our physios do is teach people with hypermobility issues to feel their joint and build up the muscle support to control the joints better. This helps prevent you from always falling into a non-ideal posture because your ligaments are floppier and don’t provide as much joint support.
If your pelvic floor is a bit floppier because your connective tissue is generally a bit softer, and it’s not working as effectivey because you’re not using the muscles correctly or your alignment isn’t ideal, then the stress on the structures that support your pelvic organs increases. Unfortunately in hypermobility disorders this tissue is often also softer and so there isn’t always as much support for the organs as is ideal. This can impact your continence mechanism and increase your risk of prolapse.
This can be more problematic with higher intensity types of exercise but it doesn’t mean you can’t do them if you struggle with hypermobility.
The keys are:
- Know what your alignment is like and learn to control your joints as you move.
- Build up the loads your body can can control. Jumping straight into weight lifting or high load exercises increases the liklihood of injuries or pelvic floor issues.
- Have your pelvic floor assessed and get it strong and functioning well.
- Learn how to integrate pelvic floor contractions and relaxation into your exercise regime to reduce the stress placed on the ligaments and supporting structions that hold your pelvic organs in place.
Sometimes women may benefit from the use of a pessary which is a supportive device placed inside the vagina. Pessaries can significantly reduce the stress placed on your pelvic organs during exercise. They can allow you to participate in higher intensity workouts without leaking urine or compromising your organ support. The easiest way to think about pessaries is to understand that often women would wear a sports bra of some kind to support their breasts when exercising, a pessary similarly supports your pelvic organs.
If you struggle with issues related to hypermobility disorders we would strongly recommend you come in and see our amazing physios. We are one of very few clinics in Sydney that work with hypermobility and get great results because of our approach. Min, Ali & Pip have a particular interest in working with hypermobility disorders.
Call 9416 4410 to book or you can book online via our website.
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