CFIDS- are your joints flexible? New article

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by maggiemae55, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. maggiemae55

    maggiemae55 New Member

    I am not flexible like this are you? This article is from my health insurace web site.


    Flexible Joints a Curious Clue to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    (HealthDay News) -- Chronic fatigue syndrome has been accepted as a medical condition for almost 20 years. Once passed off as a series of sometimes ambiguous complaints about pain in the joints and a general malaise --primarily by females -- the condition was confirmed by medical researchers as bona fide in 1988.

    But classifying a painful physical condition as real doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a specific treatment to make it better. What follows is a good example:

    The young girl had been receiving treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome for three years before anyone at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center noticed her special condition.

    In evaluating the girl's condition, Dr. Peter Rowe thought he had looked at everything. Then, a lab clinician made an offhand observation that the girl also had joints that could bend and twist much more than normal.

    "I was chagrined that my physical examination had not included that. So, we decided to look into it," said Rowe, a professor of pediatrics.

    What he and other researchers found was puzzling, to say the least.

    Sixty percent of the 60 children and teens they treated for chronic fatigue syndrome also had hypermobility in at least four of their joints. Only 20 percent of the general public has a single hyperflexible joint, such as being able to bend a pinkie 90 degrees backwards, touch the thumb to the forearm, or bend at the waist and rest both hands flat on the ground.

    "It was a surprise," Rowe said of the discovery. "Some of the kids would be able to put their leg behind their head in a seated position. Others could do the splits. Once we saw this over and over, we thought it was something that needed more study."

    Their findings, which appeared in The Journal of Pediatrics, add a vexing wrinkle to the current thinking on chronic fatigue syndrome.

    In the past, some doctors regarded the syndrome as a psychosomatic byproduct of depression. And those who saw it as a legitimate illness could find few physiological signs of it.

    "In the past, you had a tremendous amount of skepticism about [the syndrome], which created a certain amount of stigma for people who have it," said Leonard Jason, a professor of psychology and director of the Center for Community Research at DePaul University in Chicago.

    The new study, he added, "could ultimately lead to us understanding the physiology of this condition."

    The syndrome affects four adults per thousand, but fewer children. To be diagnosed with it, a person must have a sudden onset of fatigue that lasts at least six months. There must also be four of the following eight symptoms: impaired memory, sore throat, tender neck or tender lymph nodes in the arm pit, muscle pain, joint pain, new headaches, troubled sleep and a feeling of malaise after exertion.

    Rowe emphasizes that having hyperflexible joints doesn't mean a person will have the syndrome. Just how the two are related is little more than a guess, Rowe and Jason agreed.

    Children develop joint mobility in their early years, while the syndrome doesn't generally show itself until puberty. It is difficult to find a causal relationship between the two, because not everyone who has the syndrome also has joint hypermobility, Rowe said.

    Still, he wonders whether flexible joints may stress the peripheral nerves in the arms and legs, thereby fatiguing the entire nervous system, or the excessive range of motion may indirectly cause the syndrome.

    "For example, if you're prone to injury because of your joints, you might decrease your activity, which studies have shown can lead to [the syndrome]," Rowe said.

    To find better treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome, Rowe wants to study hyperflexible joints in greater depth, and test whether they are also more common in adults with the syndrome.

    Jason, though, said research should be aimed at genetics.

    "I think there may be some genetic factors. We really should look at the parents. There could very well be a number of things passed on that make kids more prone to [the syndrome]," Jason said.

    On the Web

    A fact sheet about chronic fatigue syndrome is available at the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health.

    SOURCES: Peter Rowe, M.D., professor, pediatrics, Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Baltimore; Leonard Jason, PhD, professor, psychology, and director, Center For Community Research, DePaul University, Chicago; September 2002 The Journal of Pediatrics
    Publication date: January 30, 2006
    Author: Ross Grant, HealthDay Reporter
  2. jane32

    jane32 New Member

    I never realized how flexible I was. I thought it was just from all of my years of dancing until I wenr to the Rheumy who diagnosed me with CFS.

    She toldme I was double jointed in my hands and other areas of my body. My fingers bend all the way back.

    very interesting. I would like to get in touch with that dr. from John Hopkins.
  3. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    I can do the pinkie thing (I can do the pinkie thing without using another hand to hold it to 90 degrees!). I can only do the flat hands on the floor when I've warmed up in yoga. The thumb to the arm thing -- definitely CAN'T do that. OUCH!

    Both my son and I can touch our noses to our toes (not something there's a lot of call for, however). And both my son and I can bend all of our fingers (nail to first knuckle) while keeping the rest of the fingers straight. Creeps my husband out something awful. So we do find occasion to use that one every now and then!
  4. KelB

    KelB New Member

    I could do the thumb to wrist thing with both thumbs, but my right thumb became so unstable that the bones gradually moved out of place and I had to have the joint reconstructed. Rheumy reckons I'll eventually lose the use of it and have it have it pinned.

    My shoulders are hypermobile, which gave me some ice-breaking party tricks when I was young (also useful for getting out of straitjackets apparently!) but my right shoulder now gives me nasty pain for longer episodes as I've got older.

    My right hip, right knee and both ankles are also affected.

    However, contrary to the conclusion of the first report, I haven't decreased my exercise because of this. In fact prior to the start of my CFS I was going to the gym and doing an hour long routine, two or three times a week. My reasoning was that I need to build up more muscle tone around the joints, as the faulty connective tissue (cause of hypermobility) isn't going to hold them together well enough.
  5. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    never been flexible.

  6. Lindy2

    Lindy2 New Member

    This was very interesting to read. For as long as I can remember I have been able to bend my wrist underneath with my hand laying flat on my forearm.

  7. MtnDews

    MtnDews New Member

    Interesting post for sure. I have fexible joints and have been diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos. It is a genetic thing passed down from one of my parents...and I've passed it down to at least one of my children. Orostatic Intolerance, fatigue to the point of sheer exhaustion, clotting disorders, gastric issues, it's just part of it, yet few doctors put the pieces together.
  8. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    and it throws docs for a loop as they always say how come you are so flexible yet in pain. I can still(in fifties) touch thumbs to wrists and walk with hands flat to floor and straight legs bend. My son's hands even lay in a curve and he bends all his fingers back to his wrist (UGH)

    I just wish I had it in my neck which is stiff and arthritic!

    Strange. Love Anne

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