Specialists in Physical Therapy & Treatment of Pain & Dysfunction

Our Hypermobility Program – An Individualized Approach

All of our Bethesda Physiocare® therapists are experienced in treating patients with various connective tissue and hypermobility disorders.

Dr. Jan Dommerholt is a member of the Allied Health Taskforce of the International Ehlers-Danlos Society helping to set standards for the identification and management of individuals with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Hypermobility Spectrum Syndrome worldwide.

While each patient requires an individualized, and often interdisciplinary approach, the ultimate goal is of physical therapy is to manage pain and “replace length with strength.” This starts with local joint stability, progresses to whole-body stability, and ends with progressive strength and endurance training. Just because you have hypermobility does not mean you are doomed to a life of fragility. 

Patients who can maximize fitness and replace length with strength, are more resilient, and less injury-prone. It can be tempting to stretch because of a perception of tightness. However, stretching usually puts more stress on the joint capsule and ligaments and rarely addresses the underlying cause of the muscle tightness. Typically, when a patient builds a baseline of strength the tightness will decrease. The key to training is to find a safe place to start training and gradually progress. This usually involves starting in shortened ranges of motion and moving closer to end ranges as strength improves.  

Additionally, starting with global movements, closed chain, and proprioceptive exercises are preferred before adding higher amounts of external weights.  Building these connections and underlying strength becomes the “glue” to hold joints stable. At Bethesda Physiocare®, we specialize in externally-focused exercise, an evidence-based approach to achieve quicker improvements with motor control and strength. For more information, please direct to the “exergaming” page.