Article – Exploring Hypermobility

Does My Child’s Hypermobility Affect Their Brain?

If you have a child with hypermobility, you may have noticed that they experience stronger emotional and fear responses. Recent research has shed light on an interesting link between hypermobility and the amygdala, a small structure in the brain responsible for processing emotions, particularly fear.

Studies have shown that people with hypermobility tend to have enlarged amygdalae. This enlargement may explain why they experience heightened emotional reactions without the usual balance provided by the anterior cingulate, another brain region.

The amygdala’s size could be related to increased pain sensitivity commonly observed in those with hypermobility. As the amygdala processes pain signals, an enlarged amygdala might make hypermobile individuals more sensitive to pain.

Moreover, an overactive amygdala is associated with anxiety disorders. It is plausible that the enlarged amygdala in hypermobile individuals may contribute to their increased risk of anxiety.

The implications of this connection are crucial for families with hypermobile children. Understanding the potential role of the amygdala in heightened pain sensitivity and anxiety risk can help parents, education and healthcare providers better support and manage the challenges faced by these children.

One study involving 72 healthy volunteers found that individuals with joint hypermobility had significantly larger amygdalae compared to those without hypermobility. The degree of hypermobility correlated with the size of the amygdala.

While the exact reason for the enlarged amygdala in people with hypermobility is not fully understood, this research opens up new avenues for further investigation. More studies are needed to fully comprehend the relationship between joint hypermobility and the amygdala.

If you suspect that your child might have hypermobility, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor. A proper evaluation can help determine if your child has hypermobility and guide you towards appropriate treatment options.

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Source:

Eccles, J., Mallorquí, J., Espie, C. A., & Treasure, J. (2012). Brain structure and joint hypermobility: relevance to the expression of psychiatric symptoms. BMC Psychiatry

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