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Hypermobility & Tiredness: A Link You Must Know About

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Hypermobility and tiredness go hand in hand. Hypermobility makes your body work harder which, in turn, makes it burn out more easily. Therefore, looking after yourself with regular breaks, exercise, and eating healthily is essential.

Does hypermobility make you tired? 

Yes, hypermobility and tiredness are commonly seen together. In fact, tiredness is one of my biggest complaints!

The fatigue felt varies from person-to-person. But, if you have hypermobility, you’re more than likely to regularly feel worn out.

Why does hypermobility make you tired?

The reasons why hypermobility are tiredness are connected are:

  • The joints have to work harder – the muscles around hypermobile joints have to work harder to keep them stable. This extra work contributes to muscle fatigue and soreness, which can cause a general feeling of tiredness.

  • Extra strain on the joints – joint pain and inflammation are common in hypermobile joints. Chronic pain is exhausting and drains a person’s energy over time.

  • Joint injuries – people with hypermobility are more likely to sprain, dislocate, and sublux their joints. The body has to work hard to recover from these injuries, which is physically and mentally draining.

  • Secondary conditionsHypermobility is linked to other chronic illnesses which cause fatigue. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome are all common.

How to manage tiredness caused by hypermobility

There isn’t one method that works to cure tiredness caused by hypermobility. Instead, a multi-step approach should be taken.

Some effective ways to manage tiredness caused by hypermobility include:

Exercise

Exercise is crucial for hypermobility as it prevents the joints from stiffening. If they get stiff, more pain occurs, and tiredness is heightened.

Research has found that 30 minutes of moderate exercise is enough to improve sleep.

You do, however, need to be cautious with the exercises you do. Exercises recommended for hypermobility are:

  1. Strengthening exercises, such as closed-chain exercises
  2. Low-impact exercises
  3. Pilates
  4. Stability exercises
  5. Stretching
  6. Walking – supportive, comfortable shoes are a must!

Pace yourself

Having hypermobility means you don’t have the stamina that people without hypermobility have. While they may be able to walk to the shops and back without any issues, you may need to walk to the shops and get the bus home. 

The trick is to listen to your body and pace yourself. If you can’t do a task today, put it off until tomorrow. Believe me, your body will thank you for it!

Take naps

Napping isn’t just for babies and toddlers. Taking a nap for 20-30 minutes can help to increase alertness and improve cognitive function. Additionally, napping can provide restorative benefits, such as reducing stress and boosting mood.

However, the length of your nap can affect how you feel afterward. Longer naps may make you feel groggy or disrupt your night time sleep, so it’s recommended to limit naps to 30 minutes or less. 

Sleep better

Okay, so I know this is easier said than done. But by doing things to encourage better sleep, you’re more likely to have more beneficial sleep. Optimizing your sleep environment so you’re comfortable is crucial. For example, investing in a good quality mattress and bedding will make a big difference.

You also need to limit screen time at night, keep your bedroom cool, and have a relaxing, warming drink before you get some shuteye. 

Reduce stress & relax

77% of people say they experience stress that affects their physical health. 73% add that stress affects their mental health. Stress will delay you from getting to sleep. You’re also more likely to have interrupted sleep.

People with hypermobility often stress about their health, so you must reduce your stress levels, to beat your tiredness.

Doing relaxation breathing exercises for 30 minutes per day will reduce your fatigue. Taking part in activities that make your laugh and smile work too. 

Use assistive devices

If hypermobility is causing your tiredness, use assistive devices to reduce the stress and pain on your joints. This is likely to reduce your fatigue. Wheelchairs, crutches, orthotics, and grab bars are just a few devices to consider.

Ask for help

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t like asking for help. Remember, that a task such as hanging wet washing up can drain people with hypermobility. But, for someone without the condition, it’s a simple job that won’t have any impact on them.

Eat well

Eating food that contains a lot of fat, carbohydrates, or calories makes people tired. When you feel tired, you’re more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks and meals because they’re quick and easy. But this will make your tiredness worse.

You also need to avoid inflammatory-inducing foods, such as sugar, red meat, refined grains, and fried food. These foods increase joint pain and tiredness.

Instead, opt for healthy, nutritious foods and snacks. Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

Drink more water

Dehydration causes sluggishness. Your body has to work harder to perform basic tasks, which can make you more tired. Drinking water helps to increase blood flow and oxygen to your brain, which improves mental clarity and reduces feelings of fatigue.

Can hypermobility cause chronic fatigue?

There is some evidence to suggest that hypermobility, specifically joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS), may be associated with chronic fatigue. 

One theory is that hypermobility may lead to a heightened level of stress on the body, which can lead to chronic fatigue. Additionally, some research suggests that JHS may be associated with autonomic dysfunction, which can cause symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, and brain fog.

Does hypermobility cause long covid?

Unfortunately, it looks like it does. If you’ve had a covid infection over the past 4 years and have been chronically fatigued since, then you may have long covid.

It was recently revealed that covid can trigger hypermobility symptoms to flare up in people who didn’t even know they were hypermobile! Research has also shown that hypermobility and covid increases the chances of being diagnosed with long covid – something which causes debilitating fatigue.

Read More: Long covid, hypermobility & fibromyalgia – what’s the link?

It’s normal for people with hypermobility to experience a higher level of tiredness than people without the condition. Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your fatigue at bay. So, why not give them a try today?

Sources:

https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2022/jun/5-types-of-foods-that-cause-inflammation/

Author

  • Amy

    Amy lives with hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD). She spent years not knowing what was wrong with her body, before eventually being diagnosed in her 30s. She has two young children - both of whom are hypermobile.