The Link Between Flexibility and Chronic Pain

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Can you now (or could you ever) place your hands flat on the floor without bending your knees?

Can you now (or could you ever) bend your thumb to touch your forearm?

As a child did you amuse your friends by contorting your body into strange shapes or could you do the splits?

As a child or teenager did your shoulder or kneecap dislocate on more than one occasion?

Do you consider yourself double-jointed?

If you answered yes to 2 or more of these questions, you might have a "Hypermobility Related Disorder," or what is more generically known as Hypermobility Syndrome (HMS). HMS very commonly comes with chronic muscle and joint pain that is very difficult to relieve. 

At ChiroFitness, we work with people who, like you, have hypermobility with associated chronic pain. In many cases, we are able to help with your pain. And we work to teach you ongoing pain management strategies. 

Here is a review from one of our hypermobility patients:

"I went all over for my back pain- you name it I've done it. The pain would be better for a few weeks and then return over and over. When I came in here I was pretty bleak, thinking there's nothing I haven't already tried. Immediately they noticed something no one else had- I have hypermobility. Being hyper mobile means I am crazy flexible, but I have a lot of pain in my back, and eventually started having chronic joint pain as well. Over the years I've just given up one activity after another because I am constantly injuring myself. The prospect of getting older was starting to look pretty bleak and really boring...Day to day I was a floppy wet noodle moving through the world, and now I feel stable like a bull. Words can't express how nice it is to go through my day without constant pain. When things do flare up they've taught me what I can do at home to get through it. Instead of taking months to recover from a joint pain flare up it takes often less than 12 hours. I wish I had committed to this years ago. Thanks guys, you seriously gave me my smile back!"

At ChiroFitness, our goal is to get hypermobile people back to doing the things they enjoy. To learn more, or to make an appointment, email us at We are looking forward to working with you!

Posted on December 31, 2017 .

A Note About Hypermobility - Dr. Rob Pape

Originally posted December 13, 2016 to

A Note About Hypermobility Syndrome

Are you double jointed? Can you hyper-extend your elbows, knees or other joints? You may be "hypermobile."

One of the most challenging of all patients to help in practice is the hypermobile patient. This is because hypermobility can lead to Hypermobility Syndrome (HMS). HMS tends to affect many parts of the body and mind. Anxiety, digestive issues, hypersensitivity to light or sound, and chronic muscle and joint pain are regular features of HMS. And these are often the tip of the iceberg.

Super flexible pretty much everywhere, with muscle pain that seems impervious to the deepest of deep tissue work, the hypermobile patient can be a big challenge. After struggling with these cases early on in practice, and not being able to provide a long term solution, I started studying the similarities and came up with a new theory (to me, anyways) about how HSM works. It is centered around two concepts: the Joint By Joint Theory, and Hyper-Sympathetic Nervous System Tone.

The Joint By Joint Theory postulates that the muscle and joints of the body need equal amounts of mobility and stability to function properly. Each region of the body, and the body as a whole, should have a 50/50 mobility to stability ratio. 

Obviously, the HMS person is going to upset that ratio from go. Being super flexible in multiple areas, mobility/stability might be 80/20 in the neck, hips, shoulders and other joints. The body tries to balance this ratio by creating stability in the place structurally built to absorb it: the rib cage and mid back. 

The mid back and rib cage become highly fixated and stiff in the HMS person, even while they are super flexible everywhere else. This fixation of the rib cage and mid back leads us to the second concept, Hyper Sympathetic Tone.

You have heard of the Fight or Flight part of our nervous system. It kicks into gear when we have a stressor. It is designed to help us flee from danger. The sympathetics are the fight or flight nervous system, and are built for short bursts of intense activity. The sympathetics are in a constant tug of war for control of our bodies with the parasympathetics, which we refer to as the Rest and Digest part of our nervous system. The parasympathetics are in charge of, you guessed it, rest and digestion! And we want balance between these two parts of our nervous system. Neither side should dominate in this tug of war.

So here's the connection: the sympathetics are located in the spine at the same levels as the rib cage and mid back. The increased fixation of this area leads, theoretically, to a constant stimulation of the sympathetics, as if someone turned the volume up on a radio to 10 and left it there. This allows the sympathetics to run wild, completely dominating the parasympathetics in their ongoing tug of war. Which, theoretically, leads to the constellation of symptoms we see in the HSM person: chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, hypersensitivity, among many others.

We have been working on new treatment protocols to address this imbalance in our NYC and Oakland offices. My colleagues and I are combining forces to comanage the HMS population with this new theory in mind. We are seeing promising results.

For more information on HMS, please check out For more information about what we are doing in Oakland, don't hesitate to contact us at

Posted on March 26, 2017 .

Newsletter Excerpts

Important News for You

We would like to share a few articles we believe will be useful to you in your ongoing quest for wellness.  Please read on... 

Dr. Rob posted a great entry on his blog for NYC Bodymechanic regarding the assessment and treatment of the entire body for injury vs. just focusing on the point of pain.  Many old injuries get "stored" in the body and can pop up later in the form of a "new" injury.  Taking a look at the entire kinetic chain can often times illuminate a new pathway to symptom relief. 
Check it out here-
This second article talks directly to the ChiroFitness Inc. philosophy of combining corrective exercise with chiropractic care in order to treat injury, correct muscle and alignment imbalances and decrease the likelihood of re-injury.  We LOVE to toot our own horn but it's even better when someone else does it for us! 

Check it out here-

Thanks again for your kind words on Yelp and Facebook. We really appreciate the feedback!  It's a team effort and we feel fortunate to work with such high quality people such as all of you!

If you haven't had a chance to post a review to Yelp, we would appreciate your kind words. Here is a link to the review page.   ChiroFitness Yelp Review

Posted on June 15, 2015 .