Living with joint hypermobility syndrome: patient experiences of diagnosis, referral and self care

Rohini Terry, Shea Palmer, Katharine A Rimes, Carol J Clark, Jane V Simmonds, Jeremy Horwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Musculoskeletal problems are common reasons for seeking primary health care. It has been suggested that many people with 'everyday' non-inflammatory musculoskeletal problems may have undiagnosed joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS), a complex multi-systemic condition. JHS is characterized by joint laxity, pain, fatigue and a wide range of other symptoms. Physiotherapy is usually the preferred treatment option for JHS, although diagnosis can be difficult. The lived experience of those with JHS requires investigation.
OBJECTIVE:
The aim of the study was to examine patients' lived experience of JHS, their views and experiences of JHS diagnosis and management.
METHODS:
Focus groups in four locations in the UK were convened, involving 25 participants with a prior diagnosis of JHS. The focus groups were audio recorded, fully transcribed and analysed using the constant comparative method to inductively derive a thematic account of the data.
RESULTS:
Pain, fatigue, proprioception difficulties and repeated cycles of injury were among the most challenging features of living with JHS. Participants perceived a lack of awareness of JHS from health professionals and more widely in society and described how diagnosis and access to appropriate health-care services was often slow and convoluted. Education for patients and health professionals was considered to be essential.
CONCLUSIONS:
Timely diagnosis, raising awareness and access to health professionals who understand JHS may be particularly instrumental in helping to ameliorate symptoms and help patients to self-manage their condition. Physiotherapists and other health professionals should receive training to provide biopsychosocial support for people with this condition
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354
Number of pages358
JournalFamily Practice
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Structured keywords

  • BTC (Bristol Trials Centre)
  • BRTC

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