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Do family members, friends or even colleagues comment on the flexibility of your joints when you’re stretching or doing normal activities? Have you been called “double-jointed” on multiple occasions? While increased flexibility may be helpful to some individuals (think dancers, athletes and gymnasts), it can also be an indication of a connective-tissue condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).
According to the Ehlers-Danlos Society, joint hypermobility, defined as more-than-normal range of movement in a joint, is either localized (increased range of movement of a single joint) or generalized. Joint hypermobility is often hereditary, causing genetically determined changes to your collagen.
If your joints display signs of hypermobility, how do you determine whether it is joint hypermobility or just flexibility? For years, the most trusted way to qualify an individual’s flexibility has been the Beighton scoring system—a simple test to help you assess your hypermobility.
Use the Beighton score checklist below to assess your symptoms before going to see a medical professional about your hypermobility. Check the box next to each motion you can do:
Put your hands flat on the floor while keeping your knees straight?
Bend your left elbow backwards?
Bend your right elbow backwards?
Bend your left knee backwards?
Bend your right knee backwards?
Bend your left thumb back onto the front of your forearm?
Bend your right thumb back onto the front of your forearm?
Bend your left pinky finger at 90 degrees toward the back of your hand?
Bend your right pinky finger at 90 degrees toward the back of your hand?
If you have checked four or more boxes above you may have joint hypermobility, but that does not mean that you have hypermobility that affects the connective tissue throughout the body—EDS.
For individuals who checked more than four boxes and frequently experience pain or discomfort in their joints, consulting a trained and experienced medical professional should be your next step. If your pain and joint hypermobility results in issues with your jaw, head, neck or upper back, Dr. Mitakides and his team are here to help. Schedule an appointment today or give us a call at 937-427-3131 and don’t forget to keep your Beighton score results handy!