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Jumper Cables

Waking up in the morning has it’s challenges. It is almost like having “jumper cables” attached to my muscles, waiting for my engine to finally jump-start after a hundred attempts. If only I can get push-started 😜. For those who has never push-started a car; also known as bump starting or clutch starting a car with a dead battery. By pushing or letting a car roll downhill then engaging the clutch at the appropriate speed the engine will turn over and start. But don’t let go of those jumper cables yet, once my engine has started there is no stopping it (unless I sit down and the process has to start all over again). I may have to use those cables to strap to my now, very loose, over excited, wanting to dislocate, joints.

A question I get a lot, and one that took me a while to grasp: “If you are hypermobile and your joints are so loose, why do they feel so tight?" My muscles often feel tight resulting in pain and discomfort. This is very common among those diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) or Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD). EDS and HSD cause increased laxity of the ligaments, which causes “looseness” of the joints. The brain will do whatever it can to attempt to stabilize the joints. One of the things the brain can do is instruct the muscles surrounding the loose joints to increase their tone. This increased muscle tone can help improve joint stability. However, this can also result in the muscles staying in a hypertonic state. Hypertonic muscles do not fully relax but instead stay “on” all the time. This hypertonicity can become a problem first because muscles that never relax are not able to use the muscle pumping mechanism to move waste products out of and nutrition into the muscle cells resulting in muscle pain, aching and soreness from accumulation of waste products or this lack of nutrition to the muscle cells.

Additionally, this can result in relative weakness in that once a muscle is fully contracted, it cannot contract more. So a muscle that is already being held in a constant contraction just to stabilize a joint will not be available to contract much further to generate strength when it is called upon to do so.

So there it is in a nutshell, and that is why staying disciplined and exercising regularly is extremely important. To get rid of those toxins, strengthen my ligaments so I will not have to use jumper cables to hold them in place 😉 but also to mentally keep my mind fresh. Regular exercise has a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety etc. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood.

Lockdown has its challenged and it is harder to keep a routine. Stay disciplined and safe peeps.

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