Our world romanticizes flexibility. Most people look in with awe whenever they see someone show their tricks that dazzle the eyes of many. However, it comes with a dark side.
I have hypermobility syndrome. I was diagnosed at age sixteen, when things became painful for me. I have always been very flexible throughout my life, it just did not become painful until my teenage years. I have had back pain and hip pains since my teen years as well, but I did not get a formal diagnosis for my back pain until my twenties and one for my hips until I was sixteen or seventeen years old, all because of the root problem of the hypermobility.
Hypermobility syndrome is very similar to Ehlers Danlos Syndrome hypermobility type, however, the two are not synonymous. Hypermobility syndrome only means very flexible joints and often pain that accompanies said joints because of the flexibility and inflammation troubles that often accompany it. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome involves many more symptoms.
I recently learned of the young ballerina named Yana Cherpanova. She is a ballerina who was born in 2004 (so 15 years old as of 2019). She shows off her hyper flexibility through Instagram videos and has gained quite a bit of fame because of it. Honestly, I feel horrible for her. As someone whose hyperflexible, I know her body is going to start hurting within ten-twenty years, possibly less.
As someone whose been in pain because of this condition for ten years (and recently started pain management), I am begging my readers to please stop romanticizing flexibility. I understand that it is not a well-known condition, but I feel awful for these children and teenagers showing off “party tricks” because I know they are going to be in pain. It’s a matter of when. The clock is ticking.